The 122nd running of the Vodacom Durban July at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday afternoon will see the iconic event bask in the international sporting and social spotlight as a crowd of over 50 000 converges to watch which thoroughbred will take the title in the R4,25 million feature race shortly after 4pm.
The Justin Snaith trained African Night Sky has been the clear favourite since betting opened, but the highly competitive field has seen support for every one of the eighteen runners in the final field, with stable mate Do It Again rallying with the punters, along with White River, Majestic mambo, Abashiri and Made To Conquer all enjoying solid support at the totes.
Made To Conquer will be the sentimental crowd pleaser as iconic jockey Jeff Lloyd, aged 57, sets out to try and win his first title on his final July ride, after having ridden the great race 26 times in a stellar career.
The 2 200 metre showdown will be a compelling spectacle that will have the crowd on-course and millions worldwide holding their breath.
Demand for places in the popular venues in the Marquee Village has been high, and with accommodation across the city sold out, close on half of the racing fans on-course on Saturday will be visitors from outside of the province.
Last year Gauteng visitors made up the lion’s share of the our-of-province visitors, as eager socialites, fashionistas, celebrities and captains of industry converge on the lavish social event.
Much public interest has been focussed on the convoy of supercars that will ferry Vodacom Durban July guests from Gauteng to Durban for the weekend of festivities, which sees social functions in taverns, clubs and restaurants across the city.
The raceday is the centre of an economic tidal wave that sees tills ringing across the province, with R160 million spent directly in the region by Vodacom Durban July visitors. Add to that over R100 million wagered on totes on-course and off-course, and the raceday’s economic churn is expected to be close to R300 million this year.
It is a hugely celebrated social occasion as A list celebrities jockey for their share of the limelight in the premium hospitality venues, and then share their experiences with their social media followers.
It is also a pivotal occasion for the fashion industry, as the 122 year old event is steeped in a rich tradition of sartorial elegance and raceday fashion trend setters.
For months before the big raceday, competitive elements have taken the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Experience, presented by Durban Fashion Fair, to student designers across KwaZulu-Natal, culminating in ten finalists being exhibited at glitzy fashion shows alongside the eight celebrated icon designers hand-picked for the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase.
There is a hugely popular programme of raceday fashion competitions for the Most Striking Couple, Classic Racewear for Males and Females, and the raceday favourite competition for the best hat or fascinator.
The early morning preliminary judging of the raceday fashion competitions will take place in the Parade Ring, a move from previous years when the judging was done on the track, starting at 9:30am.
The late afternoon and evening will see much attention shift to the Galaxy Stage at the new venue at The Lakes Lifestyle village where a brand new concert will see crowd favourites like the Distruction Boyz, Tresor and Lady Lamar entertaining the crowd well into the evening.
The fashion and décor elements of the Vodacom Durban July will be governed by this year’s raceday theme “It Is Time”.
Programme of Events
09:30 Fashion on Parade – Competition judges will start scouting for Raceday Fashion finalists in the Parade Ring behind the grandstand.
11:25 RACE 1 MARINARESCO 2017 Handicap
Fashion on the Galaxy Stage at The Lakes Lifestyle Village – Final – Classic Racewear – Male; Final – Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator; Final – Classic Racewear – Female.
12:10 RACE tabGOLD PINNACLE STAKES
12:15 Fashion on the Galaxy Stage at The Lakes Lifestyle Village – Final – Most Striking Couple; Announcement of the winner of the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award.
12:55 RACE 3 BETTING WORLD 2200 (Grade 3) – 2200m – R500 000
13:00 Fashion on the Galaxy Stage at The Lakes Lifestyle Village – Showing of the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase creations and the Vodacom Durban July Timeless Fashion Collection.
13:35 RACE 4 DStv GOLD VASE (Grade 3) – 3000m – R500 000
13:40 Fashion on the Galaxy Stage at The Lakes Lifestyle Village – Finalists in the Classic Racewear Female, Classic Racewear Male categories will parade and the category winners will be announced.
14:25 RACE 5 SAMSUNG GOLDEN SLIPPER (Grade 2) – 1400m – R600 000
14:30 DStv Live Broadcast begins.
Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator and the Most Striking Couple categories will parade and the category winners will be announced.
DJ Bhashkar on the Galaxy Stage at The Lakes Lifestyle Village
15:10 RACE 6 DURBAN GOLDEN HORSESHOE (Grade 2) – 1400m – R600 000
15:40 Jockeys enter the Parade Ring for introduction to the crowds accompanied by models showcasing garments from the David Tlale Red Collection.
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.
Tresor on the Galaxy Stage at The Lakes Lifestyle Village
17:15 RACE 8 ZULU KINGDOM EXPLORER Handicap – POLYTRACK
17:25 Gold Circle proudly presents Night Racing for the balance of the Vodacom Durban July Racemeeting with entertainment between races live from the Galaxy Stage.
17:55 RACE 9 JONSSON WORKWEAR Garden Province Stakes (Grade 1) – 1600m – R1 000 000
Lady Zamar on the Galaxy Stage at The Lakes Lifestyle Village.
18:35 RACE 10 KZN YEARLING SALE MILLION – 1300m – R 1 000 000
DJ Rocksilver on the Galaxy Stage at The Lakes Lifestyle Village.
19:15 RACE 11 COMPENDIUM INSURANCE BROKERS eThekwini Sprint (3-year-olds) POLYTRACK
19:55 RACE 12 GREYVILLE CONVENTION CENTRE Handicap (Listed)
20:00 DJ Tira and the Distruction Boyz on the Galaxy Stage at The Lakes Lifestyle Village.
21:00 DJ PH on the Galaxy Stage at the Lakes Lifestyle Village.
The 2018 Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 7 July. More information can be found at www.vodacomdurbanjuly.co.za
Photo: Phumla Mtolo (wearing a dress by Durban designer Zama Mathe), Sarah Macleod (wearing a design by Kathrin Kidger) and Rheid Campbell (Zama Mathe/Zarth) get to know Vodacom Durban July runner Made To Conquer at the Justin Snatih stables at Summerveld, with groom Jabulani Mdludlu. (Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media)