As South Africa wrestles with the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers of the Vodacom Durban July have moved the date of Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event to Saturday 25 July, and have committed to adhere to all the social distancing regulations that may be in place at that time.
Gold Circle has agreed to push back the major feature race programme by a month, starting on Sunday 31 May, and shifting the Vodacom Durban July to Saturday 25 July, and the one hundredth running of the season-ending Gold Cup raceday, to Saturday 29 August.
“The Vodacom Durban July is the pinnacle of the South African racing calendar, and there is massive support from the racing community, sponsors, media and the many regular supporters who attend the event,” said Gold Circle CEO Michel Nairac.
“We are wholly aligned with the national plan to deal with this pandemic, and whatever regulations are in place at the time of the Vodacom Durban July will be strictly enforced,“ he added.
With three and a half months to go before the raceday, Gold Circle’s Marketing Executive, Steve Marshall, said that there will be inevitable adjustments to activities on the big day, but said that it was still too far in the future to be able to make those decisions although he confirmed that multiple scenarios were being considered.
He said that the traditional three month fashion programme that is synonymous with the build-up to the Vodacom Durban July will be affected, and more emphasis will be placed on the raceday fashion programme this year.
“The Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award is a critical part of that programme, and it is already being worked on as part of the syllabus at many fashion design colleges and technikons,” said Marshall.
“This pandemic has forced all South Africans to rethink the way we go about our daily lives, and we will be doing the same with the fashion programme and embracing digital technology as best we can to keep the important elements of the fashion programme going without compromising any of our support for the national regulations in place to fight this virus,” he added.
Marshall said that more information would be made available in the coming weeks detailing how the adjusted pre-raceday programme would be rolled out, and urged Vodacom Durban July supporters to keep a close eye on the event website and relevant social media channels.