THE 120th running of the Vodacom Durban July on Saturday afternoon will see the eyes of the racing world focussed on Greyville Racecourse as eighteen thoroughbreds do battle for the ultimate honours at Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event in front of a capacity crowd of punters and socialites.
The race for the title promises to be one of the closest in many years, with punters supporting the seasoned, Sean Tarry trained four year-old, French Navy, the Dean Kannemeyer trained son of the legendary Dynasty, Solid Speed and the grey filly, Bela-Bela trained by double Vodacom Durban July winner, Justin Snaith.
Good Luck! Models get into the spirit of the Vodacom Durban July with Justin Snaith trained Dynamic at Summerveld, (from left) Megan Walsh (outfit by Fashion Challenge finalist Joslyn Jacks), Phumala Mtolo (outfit by Young Designer finalist Shéskia Aprakshya Ramnath), Victoria Sainsburg (outfit by Young Designer finalist Leona Pillay), Joslyn Jacks (outfit by Fashion Challenge finalist Chantelle Maartens), Jodie Insel (outfit by Young Designer finalist Dakota Baptist), Mahlatsa Makwela (outfit by Young Designer finalist Tayla Horn), Khwezi Ngwenya (wearing an outfit from Mumzy Afrolicious.
Meanwhile the feature race will see two legends of South African horseracing lining up alongside one another targeting the same record, as iconic jockeys Anthony Delpech and Anton Marcus eye the prospect of becoming the first jockey to win five Vodacom Durban July titles.
The race will be a huge moment for teenage apprentice jockey, Lyle Hewitson who has been given a huge vote of confidence by Snaith who has entrusted him with the reins of Dynamic in the main race.
The former Kearsney College youngster will make his Vodacom Durban July debut in the charged atmosphere at Greyville Racecourse in a race that has a multitude of emotional layers to it.
Race Two on the programme has been named after another Vodacom Durban July legend Sea Cottage, commemorating fifty years since the dramatic tale of Sea Cottage being shot three weeks before the 1966 July, and then going on to win the race in the famous dead-heat in 1967 with Jollify.
The raceday is a turnkey event of the regional tourism industry and injects around R450 million into the local economy as raceday fans flood into the city for the big occasion, with more than half of the spectators at Greyville Racecourse travelling in from Gauteng for the iconic social and sporting event.
The lavishly decorated suites and marquees will host the whose-who of South African social life, with A-list celebs, sport stars, movie stars, and musicians mingling with captains of industry in the premium hospitality venues.
The theme for this year’s Vodacom Durban July, “Leader Of The Pack” will govern the decor in the suites and Marquee Village as well as the fashion that is synonymous with the 120 year-old event.
In between the twelve-race programme, the finalists of the raceday competitions for the Best Dressed Male and Female, Best Dressed Couple and Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator will be paraded on the Action Stage, before the winners are announced.
A little earlier in the day the long awaited announcement of the winners of the pre-raceday Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award and Fashion Challenge competitions, presented by Durban Fashion Fair, will be made, lifting the lid on the decision taken by a high-powered panel of judges at the last Fashion Experience show two weeks ago.
With another sell-out crowd expected, event and city authorities will be out in force to ensure the smooth and secure running of the event, with 72 Metro police staffers deployed to manage the traffic on the day.
Many punters will take advantage of the popular Park and Ride option that offers secure parking at Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World and frequent bus shuttles to and from Greyville Racecourse. This option has moved from its old base at the Durban Drive-In site to Suncoast Casino’s Northern parking area.
Once the racing programme has been completed under floodlights, most raceday fans will move on the many after parties being hosted in the city, with popular venues such as Max’s Lifestyle and Eyadini Lounge in Umlazi and the Artizen Lounge in KwaMashu sure to do a brisk trade.
The city will also host two massive music events in the neighbourhood of Greyville Racecourse, with Fact Durban Rocks at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the Mother of all Parties at nearby Growthpoint Kings Park Stadium, with US star Chris Brown headlining that bill.
PROGRAMME OF EVENTS
09:30 Fashion on the Track – Competition judges will start scouting for finalists near the Winning Post.
Entertainment will be provided from the Action Stage.
11:25 RACE 1 “The July” 120th Anniversary Handicap – 1400m – R100 000 – POLYTRACK
11:30 Fashion on the Action Stage – Final – Classic Racewear – Male.
Fashion on the Action Stage – Final – Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator
Fashion on the Action Stage – Final – Classic Racewear – Female.
12:10 RACE 2 “The Sea Cottage Saga” 50 Years Handicap – 1400m – R100 000 – POLYTRACK
12:15 Fashion on the Action Stage – Final – Most Striking Couple.
Fashion on the Action Stage – Winners of the Fashion Challenge and the Young Designer Award will be announced.
12:55 RACE 3 The Delta Airlines 2200 (Grade 3) – 2200m – R500 000
13:00 Fashion on the Action Stage – Showing of the Invited Designer Showcase creations.
13:35 RACE 4 SABC Gold Vase (Grade 3) – 3000m – R500 000
13:40 Fashion on the Action Stage – Finalists in the Most Striking Couple, Classic Racewear Female,
Classic Racewear Male and Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator categories will parade and
the category winners will be announced.
14:25 RACE 5 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper (Grade 2) – 1400m – R600 000
14:30 SABC Sport on 3 Live Broadcast begins.
15:10 RACE 6 Durban Golden Horseshoe (Grade 2) – 1400m – R600 000
15:40 Jockeys enter the Parade Ring for introduction to the crowds.
15:55 Jockeys mount.
16:00 Horses leave the Parade Ring.
16:10 The South African National Anthem.
16:20 RACE 7 THE VODACOM DURBAN JULY (Grade 1) – 2200m – R4 250 000
16:25 Victory canter by the winner of the Vodacom Durban July.
16:30 The Vodacom Durban July winner will enter the Gold Horseshoe lead-in area in front of the main grandstand
followed by the presentation of silver salvers and the winners’ sashes.
17:15 RACE 8 Compendium Insurance Brokers Handicap (Listed) – 1600m – R120 000
17:25 Gold Circle proudly presents Night Racing for the balance of the Vodacom Durban July Racemeeting
with entertainment between races live from the Action Stage.
17:55 RACE 9 KZN Yearling Sale Million – 1300m – R 1 000 000
18:35 RACE 10 JONSSON WORKWEAR Garden Province Stakes (Grade 1) – 1600m – R1 000 000
19:15 RACE 11 tabGOLD Sprint (3-year-olds) – 1200m – R120 000 – POLYTRACK
19:55 RACE 12 Daisy Business Solutions (Thukela) Handicap (Listed) – 1600m – R150 000 – POLYTRACK
The 2016 Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 2 July. More information can be found at www.vodacomdurbanjuly.co.za