Durban – Greyville Racecourse will come alive on Saturday in a blaze of Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood glitz and glamour as the 2014 Vodacom Durban July draws another full house to Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event.
The 118th running of the glamorous raceday will be staged against a backdrop of tinsel town pizzazz dictated by the theme “The Big Screen” which will govern decor in the hospitality suites and marquees and the traditional fashion bonanza on the day.
The Vodacom Durban July will once again attract a stellar gathering of the country’s A-list celebrities, mingling with captains of industry, musicians, sport stars and fashionistas, all eager to stamp their mark on the movie-themed event.
The Red Carpet will be rolled out at a novel new facility behind the tote board that will offer racing fans who have bought an entrance ticket access to a free venue where they can enjoy a variety of food, drink and tote facilities.
With the final field reduced to sixteen runners from the traditional twenty starters following the construction of the state-of-the-art polytrack inside the Greyville turf track, interest in the final field has been brisk since it was unveiled last week and the starters showed some of their form at the traditional Vodacom Durban July Gallops.
The rugged and easy-going Geoff Woodruff trained Louis the King, has been something of a ‘people’s champion’ long before the final field was confirmed, and has seen steady support in the week leading up to the race and looks to start favourite for the R3,5 million Vodacom Durban July.
Also sure to be in the frame according to the punters are Legislate, the three year old Justin Snaith trained colt, and Louis the King’s stablemate Rake’s Chesnut, the son of the iconic Horse Chesnut, along with Brett Crawford’s Futura.
World-renowned Durban movie producer Anant Singh, whose hit production “Mandela – The Long Walk to Freedom” has received worldwide acclaim, has welcomed his hometown adopting a movie theme for its most famous sporting and social event.
“The South African film industry is being recognised globally and so many films are being made in our country both for local and for international consumption. We are delighted that “The Big Screen” is the theme for the Vodacom Durban July this year,” said Singh, who will be hosting an event at the raceday for a thirtieth consecutive year.
“We hope that the attendees take Hollywood seriously and we look forward to an exciting day for all,” he added.
Brisk ticket sales saw the infield parking sold out at an unusually early stage, and cautious punters and socialites have been steadily streaming into the racecourse in Avondale Road to purchase their tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment.
The popular Ride To The Races Park and Ride innovation at the Durban Drive In site has been expanded to cater for the increased demand in the slick bus shuttle that avoids any congestion getting into and out of the event.
Fortunately for the over 50 000 fans expected on course, the cold front that is sweeping over the south of the country will delay its arrival, and fine warm and fashion-friendly weather is expected for the day.
That will ensure that the days four fashion competitions, the Classic Racewear for Men and Women, the Most Striking Couple and the Best Raceday Hat or Fascinator will be hotly contested from the minute the pre-judging starts on the track at 9:30am.
During the day the finalists in the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award and Fashion Challenge, both presented by LIPSY LONDON, will appear on the Action Stage, with the winners revealed later in the day.
Eager fashionistas will also jockey for position to get a glimpse of the raceday ensembles put together by the eight icons hand-picked for this year’s Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase presented by LIPSY LONDON.
Then lavishly decorated marquees and suites will reverberate with the sounds of the single biggest gathering of local music talent, as the likes of MiCasa, Zakes Bantwini, Uhuru, Big NUZ, Zahara, Mafikizolo and a host of top DJs entertain their guests.
The lavish day will see visitors splurge over R400 million over the weekend, half of which is spent on betting. Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are fully booked across the region, leaving hoteliers and restaurateurs beaming.
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.
10:50 The combined Pipes and Drums of the KZN Military Tattoo.
11:25 RACE 1 Igugu 2011 Handicap – 1400m – Polytrack
11:30 Fashion on the Action Stage – Final – Classic Racewear – Male.
Fashion on the Action Stage – Final – Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator
12:10 RACE 2 Pomodoro 2012 Handicap – 1400m – Polytrack
12:15 Fashion on the Action Stage – Final – Classic Racewear – Female.
Fashion on the Action Stage – Final – Most Striking Couple.
12:55 RACE 3 Tabgold 2200 (Grade 3) – 2200m – R500 000
13:00 Fashion on the Action Stage – Winners of the Fashion Challenge and the Young Designer Award will be announced.
13:35 RACE 4 Nokia Gold Vase (Grade 2) – 3000m – R500 000
13:40 Fashion on the Action Stage – Showing of the Invited Designer Showcase creations.
14:25 RACE 5 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper (Grade 1) – 1400m – R600 000
14:30 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.
15:10 RACE 6 Durban Golden Horseshoe (Grade 1) – 1400m – R600 000
15:40 Jockeys enter the Parade Ring for introduction to the crowds.
15:45 NOTE: The tunnel under the track at the finish will close until 16:55.
The tunnel at the 300m mark will remain open.
15:55 Jockeys mount.
16:00 Horses leave the Parade Ring.
16:05 The combined Military Bands of the KZN Military Tattoo.
The South African National Anthem.
16:20 RACE 7 THE VODACOM DURBAN JULY (Grade 1) – 2200m – R3 500 000
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 Thukela Handicap (Listed) – 1600m – R135 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.
18:00 RACE 9 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes (Grade 1) – 1600m – R750 000
18:35 RACE 10 Heavy Metal 2013 104 Handicap – 1000m – Polytrack
19:10 RACE 11 eThekwini Sprint (3-year-olds) – 1200m – R120 000 – Polytrack
19:50 RACE 12 KZN Yearling Sale Million – 1300m – R 1 000 000