The Prestigious Vodacom Durban July

If there is one horse racing event that completely hogs the limelight every year in South Africa, it has to be the Durban July. This premier horse racing event is South Africa’s equivalent to the Kentucky Derby and it boasts big purses, beautiful thoroughbreds and attractive woman in designer dresses.

The Durban July’s maiden race took place on 17 July 1897 with only seven horses taking part in the race. The event attracted a crowd of some 3 000 people, which was most impressive at the time, and the race took place at the 1 600 meter turf racecourse at Durban's Greyville racecourse. The prize was a massive 266 pounds – a princely sum at the time and one that any horse owner would have been pleased to have. The event was a massive success with men and woman arriving in great splendor to enjoy the race. Each year it got bigger and better until it became recognized as one of South Africa’s premier horse racing events. Times have changed but the essence of the Durban July has remained the same. Over the last few years the cellular phone company Vodacom has become the main sponsor of the event. This has resulted in the race being called the ‘Vodacom Durban July’.

The prize money for the Vodacom Durban July has been increased to a whopping R2.5 million and the fashion-side of the event has been expanded with a ‘Young Designer Award’ competition which offers up-and-coming designers the opportunity to gain recognition and win a week-long overseas trip to a massive fashion event. Here they will gain the opportunity to work with some of the world’s top designers, gleaning insight from them and making a name for them on a global scale. For both the old and the new designers the theme of this year’s July will be ‘Silk Safari’ and the results are sure to amuse, entertain and stun. So far there have been 59 horses entered in the race which is set to take place on the 7th of July 2007. These thoroughbreds represent the cream of South Africa’s crop and the battle will be sure to inspire and captivate many. So book your seat, dust off your silks and get ready to enjoy the Vodacom Durban July!

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