Covid-19: The 2020 Durban July to take place this year‚ but as a broadcast-only event behind closed doors

14 May 2020 - 15:28 By Marc Strydom
A file photo of everybody who is anybody out and about at the Vodacom Durban July, a social event in Durban's Greyville region that is more than a century old and more than just an equestrian racing event.
A file photo of everybody who is anybody out and about at the Vodacom Durban July, a social event in Durban's Greyville region that is more than a century old and more than just an equestrian racing event.
Image: Vodacom Durban July ‏via Twitter

The 2020 Durban July will take place this year‚ but as a broadcast-only event behind closed doors‚ the organisers have announced.

The race event will be held at Durban’s Greyville Race Course on a proposed date of Saturday‚ July 25‚ organisers said in a statement.

This represents a marked departure for horse racing’s premier event.

More than an equestrian racing event‚ the July serves as one of South Africa’s main society gatherings‚ and day of fashion and models and as Greyville becomes a place for the glitterati to be seen.

A statement by organisers Gold Circle Horse Racing and Betting read: “Horse racing fans can take heart that the 2020 Vodacom Durban July will take place this year‚ but as a broadcast-only event behind closed doors.

“Vodacom and Gold Circle have confirmed a joint commitment to run Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event‚ but under the strictest adherence to all government health protocols surrounding Covid-19.

“The proposed date for the race is Saturday 25 July‚ but the extremely fluid nature of the current pandemic means this could change as circumstances so dictate.”

Gold Circle CEO Michel Nairac said not even two world wars have prevented the Durban July from being run in a 123-year history.

“Gold Circle‚ together with the ongoing support of the company’s valued sponsor Vodacom‚ is fully committed to running the 2020 Vodacom Durban July.

"Sadly‚ given the reality of the present circumstances‚ the race meeting will be staged behind closed doors and without spectators‚” Nairac said.

“The July has enjoyed an uninterrupted history since first being run in 1897 – not even two world wars prevented the race from being run – and we are doing everything in our power to ensure that 2020 is not the exception.”

Michelle van Eyden‚ executive head of sponsorship at Vodacom‚ said safety will be the priority of the race organisers.

“Any decision we make around the Vodacom Durban July this year will be made as a responsible company committed to the safety of all who are involved‚” Van Eyden said.

“As a sponsor‚ we will work together with all relevant stakeholders and be guided by the horseracing fraternity and the experts in this industry‚ as well as in government‚ as we all work towards making this year’s race a reality.”


X