Durban July Race Day meets all indicators
The highlight of the Champions Season in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, was the 2016 renewal of the Vodacom Durban July meeting at Greyville, Durban, on July 2nd, with the event setting new records for economic spending by the 55,000 patrons hosted on the day and increased wagering returns.
Before the Durban July meeting organisers estimated that it would generate an economic benefit for KwaZulu-Natal measured at R440 million based on last year's impact. This was more than met this year with the meeting now at capacity for operator Gold Circle’s Greyville course.
Gold Circle’s commercial executive Patrick Loker was ebullient after the meeting with totalisator figures showing an upturn from last year in every department despite the budgeted for amounts having predicted a downturn.
Gold Circle’s totalisators turned over R28,116,818 on the feature race, the Group 1 Vodacom Durban July over 2200m, alone compared to R27,728,586 last year, an up-turn of 1.4%, and this was 9.62% higher than the budgeted for figure of R25,648,994.
SAFTOTE turnovers showed a 5.16% increase on the July, going up from R56,095,080 to R58,987,753.
Gold Circle’s totalisators turned over R58,867,624 on the Greyville meeting on Saturday, which was 0.2% higher than last year and 8.32% higher than budget.
SAFTOTE turned over R127,960,447 on the Greyville meeting, which was 7.71% higher than last year.
Gold Circle’s turnovers for all venues on the day was R62,803,905, which was 1.01% higher than last year and 8.94% higher than the budgeted for figure.
SAFTOTE’s turnover for all venues was R144,992,274, which was 7.34% higher than last year.
The race itself was a triumph for jockey Piere Strydom, winning the race for the fourth time, on the Joey Ramsden trained The Conglomerate (AUS).
The Piere Strydom wins the Vodacom Durban July on the Joey Ramsden trained The Conglomerate (AUS), picture Liesl King
Strydom was faced with barrier 20 with the four-year-old Lonhro gelding, but very quickly the experienced rider had The Conglomerate across and slotted into fourth as Dynamic and apprentice Lyle Hewitson set a good pace out in front.
Dynamic led the field off the false rail into the main straight and then Strydom sent The Conglomerate forward racing in the middle of the track. With 300m to run The Conglomerate was in front and the rest of the field fanned out behind them to challenge.
However, The Conglomerate (55.5kg) was not stopping and the typical black son of the former champion Australian racehorse, and now sire, stamped his authority keeping all at bay.
Marinaresco (Silvano) (55.5kg) and Grant Van Niekerk came with a strong run after starting from barrier 19 for second with the margin 1/4L, while Mac De Lago (AUS) (Encosta de Lago) (59.5kg) and Weichong Marwing third, the margin 2L. It’s My Turn was fourth, Saratonga Dancer fifth and Bela-Bela sixth.