We are now into the big horse racing week of the year as the countdown starts for the 2017 Vodacom Durban July.

Greyville race course is being transformed as the big day approaches. I managed to get to pop into some of the venues for the big day, and in most cases no costs have been spared to ensure all visitors have a thoroughly good time. The Onestop area in the grandstand is outstanding and anyone choosing to race there will enjoy a feast of excellence. Some of the marquees are a touch pricey and you will probably need to take an extra dose of Prozac if you are paying for friends as well. One major player in Durban is entertaining 600 guests, and to bank roll that you will have to be related to the Guptas or have the GDP of an African country behind you ‘a la Mugabe’. It is definitely the place to be seen and admired. Outfits will be as outrageous as Boris Johnston’s hair with a restyled combover by Donald Trump.
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The ANC are having a caucus meeting so there will be no State President or any of his cronies in attendance. Gold Circle are expecting a huge crowd of 55 thousand plus which is usually an eclectic mix of dignitaries, sports stars, celebrities, racehorse owners, international visitors and the odd sprinkling of pickpockets to keep security on their toes. The security presence has been upped this year, especially in tent town where semi clad drunks usually stumble about completely unaware of their surroundings and most issues in general. There is a musical stage set up where everything from traditional dancers to beauty queens strut their stuff. The music is bound to pump until the early hours. And don’t forget the last race, the human one of course. There is a strong rumour that owner Dean Hayman is putting up a purse of two grand for the winner of the fillies division commonly held after the colts race!

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Wednesday sees the annual golf day for cancer and this theme is gaining traction with many of the racing community contributing generously for the less fortunate. This year the golf day is being run by two well known local philanthropists in Pierrick Maujean and Phil Georgiou. Andrew Riddell has flown in from the UK for the week’s activities and will be out on the course with his guests. The gambling four ball is headed by erstwhile champion trainer, Mike de Kock, who will have his usual pigeons in James Goodman, Sean Tarry and Pierrick. Two others who like to have a bet on the course are the ever popular Dees Dyanand and Anthony Delpech.
There is every chance that four KZN breds will win the first prize.

Thursday sees the first day of the KZN Yearling Sale with 150 lots up for grabs, and with the very attractive incentive races they put on every year, we could see some good prices been realised. Thursday evening sees the annual comedy evening at the Elangeni hotel with two top comedians entertaining the four hundred odd guests. This very popular function is organised by Phil Georgiou, and international auctioneer Steve Davis will auction the July field amongst those attending. It is all for a good cause and many trainers benefit from the evening’s entertainment.
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Friday sees the second day of the KZN yearling sale and then most people have an early night to prepare for the biggest raceday on the African continent. We will be able to watch the grudge match between the Sharks and the Bulls at Kingspark during the course of the day. All in all, what a wonderful week to be had for all.