The historic race, first run in 1897 and contested over 1600m for a stake of 500 sovereigns, has grown to not only have the richest prizemoney for African racing, but also an economic benefit for the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal of R440 million.
The number of guests from outside of KwaZulu-Natal has snowballed from 20% in 2011 to more than 50%, bringing with it an ever increasing spend on local hotels and accommodation, restaurants and other tourism facilities.
The survey put an estimation of the spend by out-of-province visitors attending the Durban July at as much as R156 million, with KwaZulu-Natal patrons spending up to R70.6 million.
The other half of the economic churn came from an expected R100 million betting splurge that was matched by an equivalent amount wagered at bookmakers around the country, and bolstered by the inclusion of bets from the French tote that has been showing increasing interest in the Durban July meeting.
To boost visitor numbers for future meetings Tourism KwaZulu-Natal invited tourism trade representatives from Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, DRC and Botswana to spend a week in Durban around the meeting to forge partnerships.
This year’s race was run before a packed Greyville crowd of 50,000 and there was added drama when, for the second year running, the race was decided in the stewards’ room.
However, first past the line Power King (53kg), ridden by Stuart Randolph and trained by Dean Kannemeyer, was cleared to retain the win over Punta Arenas (54.4kg) and Ian Sturgeon with Tellina (54kg) and Johnny Geroudis third. The margins were 3/4L and 1/2L.
The win was the third for Cape Town based Kannemeyer in his own right and his fourth from when he trained with his father Peter. For Randolph this was his first win in the race after his best previous finishes of five fifth places.
In a remarkable feat of breeding Power King and the two placegetters were bred by Western Cape based Main Chance Farms with all three being by their resident sire Silvano.
This was the sixth win from 19 starts for Power King, taking his earnings to R2.9 million.