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Durban July

If you're looking for passion, fashion and a whole lot of horse flesh, then South Africa's annual Durban July might be just up your alley. The spectacular even is the country's equivalent of Britain's Royal Ascot and features superb horse racing, high fashion, good food and great champagne. The event usually has a large media coverage but you don't necessarily need to be a somebody or even to know much about horse racing to enjoy the festivities.

The Durban July was first held in 1897 but has been known as the Rothman's July for much of its history. After loosing its Rothmans cigarettes sponsoring, the cellular network company Vodacom has taken up the challenge. The event has always held at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban, so while sponsors may change it seems only natural to rename the event the Durban July. The race takes place over 2.2km and has a R1.5 million prize for the winner. With such large winnings the event is not only the Blue band event of SA turf, but it is the most talked about and attended social gathering in the SA thoroughbred racing world. It is also the premier race for thoroughbreds and one of the best showcases for extraordinary fashion creations.

The last four races of the day take place under floodlights which only adds to the excitement of the event. The race card also includes the 1.6km Garden Province Stakes, the 3km Gold Vase, the 1.4km Golden Horseshoe, the 1.4km Golden Slipper, the 2.2km Sugarmill and the 1.9km Darley Arabian. The stakes for these events are R250 000, R200 000, R200 000, R150 000, R100 000 and R100 000 respectively. If you love fashion, horse racing or both and are going to be in South Africa around the first of July 2006, head to Durban for the fabulous Durban July.


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