Cape Town – Some of the country's finest fillies will be in action at a bumper Royal Race Day that offers a 10-race schedule at Turffontein Racecourse tomorrow.
Royal Race Day, dubbed "Ladies Day" down the years, will offer glitz, glamour and high-stakes racing. The event is held annually in honour of Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco and hosts the Grade 1 HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes.
The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) will host the event – supported by 4Racing – that is passionately driven by Princess Charlene’s father, Mike Wittstock. The day epitomises style and elegance, but more importantly, has a large charity element attached to it.
Royal Race Day is round 4 of the exhilarating 5-part World Sports Betting (WSB) Championships’ season, which will conclude with Champions Day later this month.
The annual tradition for Royal Race Day to support charity will be upheld this year, with the major beneficiary charity being The Earth Centre, situated in Ruimsig. The centre provides equine therapy to the disabled, vulnerable and the disadvantaged, partnering with 11 special-needs schools in Gauteng.
Other charities that will benefit from the proceeds of the Royal Race Day are the Hamlet School for intellectually disabled children and their families, as well as the United Cerebral Palsy Association of South Africa – both of which are near the Turffontein Racecourse.
“We are proud to host this prestigious must-attend event that brings together royalty, fashion and the community through charity," said Fundi Sithebe, chief executive officer of 4Racing.
"We always look forward to seeing some excellent competition from the fillies and maidens. We expect an enjoyable race day for all, from glitz and glamour brought by the ladies, to spectacular wins for the punters."
Racehorse Owners Association chief executive Natalie Turner said the event was helping to make a positive impact in the area surrounding the racecourse.
“This is not an ordinary Highveld horse racing event; this event has a special purpose, which is particularly close to the hearts of HSH Princess Charlene as well as the Monaco Sport of Kings group," said Turner.
"While the Royal Race Day has traditionally been one where the thrill of the race and the glamour of the occasion is highlighted, there is now the element of giving back to the community.
"It is about bringing people together, creating a sense of community and using the excitement of the races to make a positive impact in the area surrounding Turffontein Racecourse."
This race day will also highlight some of the most promising fillies in the sport, as they vie for the coveted winner's trophy. As it is dubbed Ladies Day, this is the day for glitz and glamour and racegoers are encouraged to dress up according to the theme "Roaring 20’s Great Gatsby".
The "Best Dressed" racegoers on the day will stand a chance to win a share of R15 000; the winner will walk away with R7 000, the runner-up will get R5 000, and third place will win R3 000. Winners will be announced between 2.30pm and 2.45pm at the front of the parade ring.
The stakes are high for the smaller stables as there will be a bumper 18-horse field of maidens lining up in the R300 000 Monaco Sport of Kings Charity Maiden Sprint over 1160 metres.
The full race schedule for Royal Race Day:
Race 1: World Sports Betting Juvenile Plate over 1160m
Race 2: WSB Spina Wina Juvenile Plate (fillies) over 1160m
Race 3: Monaco Sport of Kings Charity Maiden Sprint over 1160m
Race 4: Darrell Hall Mr 103 Handicap over 1160m
Race 5: Terry Cocking FM 98 Divided Handicap (for fillies and mares) over 1800m
Race 6: Stephen Stanway FM 78 Divided Handicap (for fillies and mares) over 1800m
Race 7: World Sports Betting Spook Express Stakes (listed, for fillies and mares) over 2400m
Race 8: HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes (Grade 1) 1600m
Race 9: Racehorse Owners Association FM 80 Handicap (for fillies and mares) over 1600
Race 10: WSB Spin With The Best Mr 87 Handicap over 1160