Durban July behind closed doors, expected to generate R200m

24 July 2020 - 16:51 By Lwandile Bhengu
Minnie Dlamini-Jones arriving at the 2018 Vodacom Durban July.
Minnie Dlamini-Jones arriving at the 2018 Vodacom Durban July.
Image: Jackie Clausen

Despite being held behind closed doors this year, one the biggest horse racing events on the continent, the Vodacom Durban July, is still expected to rake in about R200m in bets from its 10 races.

Because of the lockdown, the race and overall event will be held virtually, with only key staff and stakeholders present at the Greyville racecourse on Saturday.

“Despite the lockdown regulations restricting public events and activities, betting on the Vodacom Durban July is nevertheless expected to be brisk, with more than R200m predicted to be waged on the 10-race meeting,” said the event organisers.

“Making it even more attractive for punters is the carry-over of R2m already in the Pick Six pool, which is expected to eventually reach about R15m. There is also a carry-over of R1m that will kick start the quartet pool that is probably also going to grow to about R15m on Saturday,” they added.

The event, now in its 124th year, has been staged even during times of war and event organisers say this year is no different. Online and telephonic betting has been set up for those looking to make a quick buck.

“Even through the war years, this event was never cancelled, and thanks to the positive interaction with the government, we have been able to return horse racing to active race meetings under very strict conditions and protocols,” said Gold Circle’s event and marketing executive Steve Marshall.

“At a time when everyone is battling with the lockdown implications, we hope the 2020 Vodacom Durban July can provide an afternoon of entertainment that can serve as a beacon of hope as the country battles this pandemic,” he added.

This year’s main race will feature fan favourite Do It Again, which will be looking for a hat-trick of back-to-back victories that will place jockey Anton Marcus in the history books with a sixth win.

The race will be broadcast on DStv channels 204 and 210 from 1pm as well as channel 239 and live streams on the official VDJ website and social media platforms.

Popular Umlazi hangout Maxis Lifestyle will host a live viewing.

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