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Oh What A Day – Stars Of Africa Shine Bright!

Hawwaam aside - this was a bit like the old days!

Despite the unfortunate drama at the start, the 2019 Vodacom Durban July at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday will go down as the major feature raceday that may just have raised the bar for future racing occasions.

While the Sun Met and Summer Cup have their own unique allure and character, Gold Circle and their sponsors, together with a late injection of high-powered adrenaline from new KZN racecourse partners Hollywoodbets, outshone anything we have experienced in recent years.

They did it again! (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

The weather played ball, the July field was the best quality overall in many a long year, the Pick 6 pool soared to new records, and even the Saftote website stuck with the pace. We didn’t field one tote related complaint – a break in a tradition that has been a part of life on every major raceday in recent memory.

With a capacity crowd on-course, the event underscored an economic injection worth around R300 million for the regional economy. Up to 40% of the crowd travelled into KwaZulu-Natal for the weekend, most of them from Gauteng.

Up in that province, and out in the cold as his colleagues mixed it with the not so rich and famous at Greyville, Turffontein racecaller Alistair Cohen chirped that ‘July In Jozi sure works – I don’t quite know why!’ The away venue was again supported with enthusiasm by the locals who either didn’t boast the wanderlust or the cash to travel down to Durbs.

Face to face with Madiba (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

There were horses too. A dramatic last minute scratching of the race favourite Hawaam opened the door for 2018 winner Do It Again to become the fifth horse in the 123 years of the July to win back-to-back when he stormed home at a pumping and vibrant Hollywoodbets Greyville.

Switching channels between Tellytrack and Supersport was also an interesting view into the day.

Despite the Tellytrack presenters making the inevitable faux pas – not pronouncing relatively simple names like Captain Of Tortuga properly, suggesting the KZN Yearling Sale Million was for ‘KZN bred’ horses – the overall presentation was polished – with Neil Andrews and the long missing-in-action Rouvaun Smit the consummate Supersport professionals on channel 210, supported by in-house stalwarts Warren Lenferna and Kevin Shea on 239.

Andrews and Smit’s fluid interviews and frank psychological observations about, amongst other aspects, the nervous Warren Kennedy and Gareth Wright in the July jockey intro’s, was also refreshing.

Lenferna’s emotional (did he miss the Pick 6, maybe?) late evening outporing of his pride to be part of the team that put it all together was also a really nice human touch in a world of overkill plastic clichés and boring personalities, who spew forth the same old, same old every time they appear on-screen.

Great job done on a long day – Warren Lenferna talks to eNews (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

Commentator and one-time anti-barrier trial activist Craig Peters introduced the jockeys and called his 34th July – and, once again, ‘Eagle Eye’ didn’t miss a beat on Supersport as he painted the picture and lifted the crowd as the stars stormed to the line.  His son Sheldon called the race on course.

Fashion statement (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

Revellers, punters and fashionistas were entertained throughout the day with fashion taking centre stage for most of the morning at the Lakes Lifestyle Village.

Makhosazane Ntshangase walked away with two fashion awards during the day.

She was the designer selected out of hundreds of initial applicants to win the 2019 Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award presented by Durban Fashion Fair award for her baby zebra inspired design.

In the other raceday fashion competitions, the amount of entrants was substantial as the designers showcased their take on the theme ‘Stars of Africa’.

In the Classic Racewear for Women, Nompumalelo finished behind Ntshangase in second while Brenda Wearing was third.

The Classic Racewear for Men prize went to Motho Ngema with Senzo finishing second and M-Shade collecting the first of his two podium finishes.

They even fell out of the sky!(Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

Lindo Mathebulo created the outfit that was judged to be the best in the Most Striking Couple category. She beat Pregasen Govender and M-Shade who finished second and third respectively.

In the Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator category it was Zandile Masondo, who dominated for the fourth time, winning first and second prize for her creations while Nana took home the third prize.


1.Makhosazane Ntshangase (Lindiwe Kuzwayo Academy)

2.Siphiwo Treasure Buthelezi (DUT)

3.Tanyaradzwa Tirivanhu (DUT)


Classic Racewear Women

1.Makhosazane Ntshangase


3.Brenda Wearing

Classic Racewear Men

1.Motho Ngema



Most Striking Couple (pictured above Gameplan/ Andrew Grote)

1.Lindo Mathebulo

2.Pregasen Govender


Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator

1.Zandile Masando

2.Zandile Masando


Oh, what a day – we already have 2020 vision!

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17 comments on “Oh What A Day – Stars Of Africa Shine Bright!

  1. cruisoe says:

    it was Sheldon and NOT Craig who called the July

    1. Editor says:

      We made reference to Craig’s 34th call – he called it on Supersport

    2. karel says:

      depends on which tv channel you were tuned in to!

  2. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…No Hawwaam in the July the subtraction in every avenue would of been huge so a big thank you should go out to Team De Kock and the Champ Hawwaam for contributing towards one of the better days in racing for years… records were smashed nobody can argue the point that the buzz was something racing fans haven’t witness in years…take nothing away from Gold Circle job well done…The July has and always will be my No 1 race by a distance

  3. hilton witz says:

    The comments im making probably need an article on their own but here goes,,,Firstly i would like s.post to put up the 15 to 20 minutes clip before the july was run..Just look at the state of many of the horses including head honcho return flight rainbow bridge divine odyssey and a few others they were sweating profusely …You cannot have horses ringing at the start for up 30 minutes with hundreds of people so close to them watching through the fence and to top it all the race was meant to be off at 4.20 but they only started loading 7 minutes later then the hawaam incident delayed it even further ..If you want people to sing the anthem or any other songs find another time to do it as its high time the horse came first ..This never occurs anywhere else and its time that horses go to the start 5 to 7 minutes before racetime and get sent back in every race in the country not just the july…Damn disgraceful

  4. ernest says:

    Hats off to Gold Circle and all the staff , who worked so hard during the day, to make it what i thought was the best July for many years, and I am not just talking about the tote turnover, but the atmosphere was incredible. My family have attended the July for many years, and the vibe was super.This will make Cape Town and Johannesburg put out all the stops to try and achieve this in the big ones they have.I hope they do.The feast of food never stopped coming, even another “Top Up” at around six,o’clock.Well done, you have brought racing back to Durban. Pity there is not another super day during the Festive season.in December.

    One small gripe. Not enough time to change the quartet bet after Hamwwaam was scratched, Still, got our bet money back though.

    Well done Guys

  5. Anton says:

    As always, it suits the powers that be and not the punter, One would expect that the last two places in Race7 would pay substantially more… But 50-1 shot pays R3 some change… R75-1 shot pays R6 some change. Wot a disgrace. Those that control racing knew why they had to delay ,to change the order…. Like the Met the July was a joke.

  6. Sarvan says:

    I agree with Hilton. The off time was 16:40….Remember Hawaam went once around the parade ring and then proceeded to the start. He would have been waiting far longer at the start than the other horses. We just cannot have this in major races. Yes the anthem and the song before was lovely but remember the horses please next year.

  7. Gilbert says:

    Been to many July’s , 43 to be exact. Iam not a betting person and only bet July day. The July has gone down hill. A Race horse event supported by fashion and other side shows has become a party event with the Races being thecside show. The fashion has become a joke, gone are the glitz and glamour. Sorry to say but as the pinacle of Horse Racing the event us going down and the horse racing buzz has definitely declined.

  8. hilton witz says:

    Can the editor please try get a breakdown of turnover for july day as i cant find a press release anywhere as it used to come out in previous years not long after july day with comparisions to previous years..

    1. Editor says:

      Will ask the powers, Hilton

  9. Craig says:

    Absolute disgrace that the July party has become more important than the racing. National anthems delay in the start? What a joke. Why was Hawaam loaded so early everyone knew that the 3 year old was a potential problem. If it was loaded last, less chance of a problem. Didn’t see issues like this at Royal Ascot the other week.
    By the way, how much did the bookies stand to lose if Hawaam won ?. Just askin

  10. Brian says:

    Might have been a wonderful vibe but clearly there was absolutely no concept of time therefore totally unprofessional and obviously who gives a toss about the horses. Had they done so what happened to Hawaam may not have happened

    Years ago I might have understood but nowadays you dont even need a watch there are thousand of cellphones around on the day.

    Clearly the organisation has een hijacked by people who only think of booze and a pardie as it is known by these days.

    It’s a horse race first and foremost, just in case the pardie organisors have forgotten. That’s what starts the pardie and like the Met if these events continue in this vain they will fade. Maybe not immediately, but they will.

    Vibe? As Hawaam what he thought.

    Say, it was the winners day. He did it again and he’s brilliant.

    Well done to the Snaith team who clearly k ow it’s a horse race.

  11. Brian says:

    By the way, I’m sure the Snaith team had a great pardie all for the right reasons

  12. hilton witz says:

    A million posts and articles on the july but still zero news of turnover for the biggest betting day on the racing calendar ..No need to follow up editor as im used to such important questions remaining unanswered..

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Hilton
      The operators have moved away from the past where they would hold press conferences after the big day and announce crowd size and turnovers etc.
      We believe that Hawwaam’s scratching led to R10 million worth of refunds.
      The Gold Circle turnover on the July was R16 million, with a total of R45,4 million for the day.
      We do not have the year on year stats available in order to draw comparisons.

  13. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    i am surprised they never issued a statement as on the face of it it seemed a winning story!!

    The one interesting fact is that the PA pool was down significantly by about R1m.

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