Horse number 17, Belgarion, driven by Jockey, Richard Fourie, won the Vodacom Durban July 2020, amid fears of the coronavirus pandemic that continues to threaten the lives of many people.
The race boasts a 123 years of history. The 124th edition of Durban July – one of the most famous horse race in South Africa – took place on Saturday at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse.
Despite KwaZulu-Natal being the fourth-highest province with coronavirus infections, the race went ahead smoothly although behind closed doors.
It was not an easy road back to the Durban July 2020 race.
The government left no stone unturned to make sure that the race officials comply. One of the rules was that the jockeys had to be based in one province. And after a two-month period of negotiations, they were given a green light.
During lockdown, the only way people got involved with the race was online.
Fitness was always going to be crucial for the horses as well as the jockeys to win the race. And in the main event Savannah’s Pride took off very early in the race, but that was a miscalculation as favourite, Belgarion, went on to win it.
“It’s always a fairytale when a plan comes together. It’s been a year in the making. Six months ago, I said to Justin, ‘I’d like to ride this horse in the July.’ He’s just so well handicapped and he’s always been hidden and obviously, to the fastest BA in England, you know, being patient and this the golden straw. We can marinade and just enjoy himself well done to them,” says Fourie.
There’s no doubt that the KZN tourism hospitality industry suffered a lot during this lockdown. The Durban July on its own generates about R150 million.
The race track has a 60 000 capacity and all that has been lost.