Excitement builds ahead of this year’s (lockdown) Durban July
NATIONAL tote betting on the Vodacom Durban July meeting opened this week, giving punters ample time to work out and place their bets before the big race-day on Saturday.
Under level 3 of the lockdown, all tote and bookmaker outlets are open to the public, so even those without online accounts will be able to bet.
With physical distancing the norm, punters are advised to get their bets in early to avoid a last-minute rush and long queues.
In spite of the lockdown regulations, punters over the country are expected to bet more than R200 million on the meeting, as there are also some massive tote carry-overs on the day, with R2m already in the Pick 6 pool and the final pool may top R15m.
There is also a quartet carry-over of R1m on the Vodacom Durban July, with that pool expected to top R15m.
Punters get a further opportunity on the Vodacom Durban July with the tote paying six places.
Hollywoodbets Greyville, usually buzzing with 55 000 people on course, is off limits to the public this year, with only essential staff allowed. But all the action can be viewed live on DStv channels 204 and 210 starting at 1pm, and Tellytrack on channel 239.
The event will take place behind closed doors at the racecourse because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had also pushed the event to the end of the month.
With so much going on, Gold Circle kept with tradition and planted the bean plants which grew to be luscious, healthy and even had new buds.
According to Gameplan Media, the beans were planted after the announcement of the final field and have been left outside in the winter sun to grow. Race lovers had been asking about their progress.
“The Mike de Kock-trained Soqrat was the early leader in the beans race and looked to have all the staying power to seriously challenge for the coveted title. Capoeira was also looking handily placed after a week of unfurling leaves in the sun at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse,” said Gameplan Media.
“But as they turned into the home straight with five days to go until ‘Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event’ it was the much-fancied Vardy who stormed through the pack of beans to take the lead.”
The only thing missing was the usual July fever. There was not much activity at the racecourse yesterday.
There were no final touches being made to the usual long lines of hospitality marquees, no final food and drink deliveries and no tickets were being sold.
It was quiet.