Cape Town - With an enthusiastic 35 000 strong crowd to guide him home, S’manga Khumalo wrapped up a second Hollywoodbets Durban July title when he rode Sparkling Water to victory at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse on Saturday.
The Mike de Kock trained filly showed power and speed down the final straight to win the 2200 metre showdown in fine style in front of fans for the first time since 2019.
It was a second Hollywoodbets Durban July title for Khumalo who won back in 2013 aboard Heavy Metal while De Kock saddled his fifth winner of the prestigious title.
The R5 million race saw Sparkling Water finish ahead of Jet Dark in second while the pre-race favourite Safe Passage ended in third.
The highlight of the vibrant fashion programme was the Hollywoodbets Durban July Young Designer Award presented by the Durban Fashion Fair where Durban University of Technology’s Ismael Mchunu claimed the coveted first prize.
He was followed by the Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion pair of Slindile Ndlovu in second with Nhlanhla Dlamini finished third.
The ever-popular Raceday Fashion programme returned after a two year hiatus and enjoyed strong support.
After her win in 2019, Makhosazane Ntshangase returned to win the Classic Racewear for Women category again and she also managed to bag third place in the same category.
“It’s incredible for me to come back and win again after 2019,” Ntshangase said with a smile.
“It was a lot of work and I put in a lot of extra work on the fascinator that was on the winning garment, which is great.
“I think next year I’ll give someone else a chance,” she added with a laugh.
Winning the Most Striking Couple was Brenda Waring and Pamela Shabane - who also modelled her creation with Kent Hollenberg.
In the Classic Racewear for Men, it was Sipho Mugazi who won with his outfit modeled by Qurin.
In the final category, the Racedat Hat or Fascinator it was designer Rutendo Dyirakumunda and model Khwezi Manzi who took home the prize.
“I am incredibly happy to win this award,” Dyirakumunda said.
“It means so much to me after all the work that I put into creating it and it’s a huge blessing for me.”
With the fabled Marquee Village and hospitality suites packed with enthusiastic racegoers, organisers said the Hollywoodbets Durban July took a stride into a new era after its two year hiatus of racing behind-closed-doors.