And they're off... Greyville is on track to hosting another cracking Vodacom Durban July. File Photo

DURBAN - Totes around the country are spinning faster by the day as July fever climbs towards its peak at Greyville racecourse in Durban on Saturday, with punters pushing the turnover well over the R120-million mark on Africa’s greatest race meeting, the Vodacom Durban July.

Together with bets laid with bookmakers around the country, more than R200-million is expected to be wagered on the 12 races at the Theatre Of Champions, with massive exotic bet pools attracting people from all walks of life to “have a flutter” on the R4.25-million, Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July where 18 of the country’s top horses will fight it out over the 2 200m trip.

Some 50 000 people will cram the confines of the Greyville course, filling the stands and the huge marquee village to capacity with the open ground level areas teaming with excited racegoers enjoying the carnival atmosphere and waiting anxiously for that moment at 4.20pm when the barrier gates burst open for the big race and the country’s new “king of the turf” is crowned.

The meeting includes eight other feature races on the day including the R1-million, Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes for fillies and mares and the two Grade 2 races for two-year-olds over 1 400m, the Durban Golden Horseshoe for the colts and geldings and the Gold Circle Golden Slipper for the fillies.

Big punters will be laying out thousands of rands in bets but it is a great day for the small punter with the chance of high returns on their investments, particularly in the Exotic bets like the Place Accumulator where the pool is expected to reach R3.5-million and the Pick 6 where the tote is guaranteeing a pool of R10-million but expect it to surpass the R11-million mark.

The tote is offering place payouts on the first six horses past the post in the Vodacom Durban July and the pool for this bet is expected to top R8-million. The Quartet pool is guaranteed at R13-million but is expected to climb over R15-million.

On Wednesday the tote on the July alone was already climbing to the million rand mark and the runners that have been best supported are surprisingly not the favourites. Early in the week Ten Gun Salute was the favourite with punters but that changed on Tuesday and Wednesday when the filly Nightingale drew the most support for a win.

However, on Thursday money began to come for It’s My Turn which was paying R8.10 a win and R1.80 a place with Nightingale still fancied at R8.30 a win.  Black Arthur is enjoying support along with Edict Of Nantes and Al Sahem while Ten Gun Salute continues to have his supporters.

Throughout the week Mr Winsome has been the firm favourite for a place and was paying R1.40 yesterday.

It is Africa’s greatest race meeting and is internationally acclaimed and will be followed by racing enthusiasts from around the world.

Independent Media