“IN THE COMPANY OF CHAMPIONS”

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Objective:
To grow and sustain the fan-base of thoroughbred horse-racing in South Africa beyond the existing horse racing arena to make horse-racing a number one household sport along with Rugby, Cricket, Soccer & Golf.

Considerations:
i] The need to emphasize and assimilate the sporting / athletic side of horse-racing into the consciousness of South Africa sports lovers. When the general South African public think of horse racing, they must think of sport and athletes as opposed to betting and gambling.
ii]The need to create a resonance between the sporting heroes of cricket, rugby, golf and soccer with the sporting heroes of horseracing. When South African sporting fans think of Victor Matfield, John Smit, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Jacques Kallis – they must in the same stream of consciousness think of Anton Marcus, Pierre Strydom, Musi Yeni and Gavin Lerena.

Implementation:
In order to achieve the above, we need to target & begin to convert the mass broad base of South Africa sports fans outside of the horse racing arena – as opposed to preaching to the converted.

Television series “We are the Champions”
A 13 x part series of 12 minute TV features will be designed and produced to achieve the above specific objectives and considerations. The 13 x part series will be launched over 13 weeks through the Winner’s Circle window broadcast weekly on Supersport. Once launched, the series concept will then be used to create broadcast outlets on SABC & e-TV – extending the message further into the broad base of South African sporting fans.

The 13 x part series – “We are the Champions” – will be made up of the following episodes:

1] Springboks one and all
– one episode on the annual International Jockey Tournament held in South Africa and those jockeys that have achieved Springbok Colours. In keeping with the objectives of the series, this episode will resonate with Springboks in other sporting fields. Comments & perspectives from Springbok sportsmen & women from rugby, cricket, golf & soccer – on amongst other aspects – the significance and cherished value of achieving Springbok colours will inherently endorse the Springbok jockeys as fellow peers.

2 & 3] The South African invasion:
– two episodes looking at the success of those South African jockeys who have taken the world by storm by achieving in countries all over the world.

4 & 5] The road to Dubai:
– two episodes looking at the success of South Africa trainers and their horses – spearheaded by Mike de Kock – in successfully taking South African horses to compete and win on the world stage.

6] The Athlete
Constantly tuned to be at the peak of fitness, one episode that looks at the rigorous health and fitness training regime demanded by the dedication of jockeys to their sport. This will include training & exercise of jockeys at the gym, diet regime and riding early morning work. Once again, in keeping with the objectives of the “We are the Champions” series, these episodes will make comparisons with Springbok rugby players, cricketers, soccer players & golfers & their fitness & training regimes.

7] Integrity of the sport
One episode that looks at the stringent measures in place to ensure the integrity of horse racing as a sport. This includes the stipendiary stewards, the on-course vets, substance testing and the laboratories. Once again, in this episode comparisons will be made with the principally recognized national sports of cricket, rugby, soccer and golf.

8]Born to run
one episode that analyses and compares the race horse to the human athlete.

9 & 10] The new wave
Two episodes that look at the new generation of up and coming young South African jockeys – black, white, male & female – and their achievements. This will include coverage of the Jockey Academies with their stringent ethos of discipline and respect. Once again linkage & resonance will be established with the principal nationally recognized sports of cricket, rugby, soccer and golf through coverage on the need for identifying and growing SA sporting talent through academies from a very young age.

11] With both hands
one episode on the “work-riders” project with accompanying race-day events showing how this opportunity has eagerly been taken up “with both hands” by rural grooms recognizing the opportunity of realizing a dream of becoming a fully-fledged professional jockey.

This foreground focus will be presented against a backdrop of general transformation in the horse racing industry. Once again, linkage with the principal nationally recognized sports of cricket, rugby, soccer and golf will be made on progress with regard to transformation in SA sport.

12] Through the glass ceiling
One episode on the achievements of women in horse racing including trainers, jockeys & owners. Once again, resonance with women in the principal national sports will be achieved by looking at progress, obstacles overcome and achievements in these recognized arenas of athletics, tennis and swimming.

13] For the love of the game
One final rounding-off episode on Gary Player and other prominent South African sporting personalities who love the game of horse racing as passionately as their own particular played sport.

Pilot Episode
A 12 minute pilot episode will be designed and produced to illustrate and sell the concept of the series.
The pilot episode will reflect on elements from the episodes outlined above, but will have a central focus on the profiles of two up and coming “new-generation” South African jockeys, Musi Yeni & Gavin Lerena. On Champions Day both young sportsmen excelled with Musi taking the Grade 1 Presidents Champions Challenge aboard Happy Landing and Gavin taking the Gerald Rosenberg Stakes on Fisani.
Musi then went on to take the Betting World 1900 feature at Greyville on Golden Chariot while Gavin is a recipient of South African Springbok Colours & won the Victor Ludorum trophy in the 2009 Jockeys International Challenge.

Way forward:
The financing and production of the Pilot episode.
This episode will demonstrate the potential and effectiveness of the proposed series and will be used as an effective marketing tool to raise a sponsor / s for the series as well as selling the series concept to the SABC, M-NET. TOP-TV & e-TV.