But this year, a sprinter of another kind will be taking centre stage at the 2018 Sun Met.
Olympic legend Usain Bolt is set to grace SA’s shores as the host of Africa’s Richest Race Day at Kenilworth Racecourse on January 27, courtesy of GH Mumm.
And fans of the eight-time Olympic gold medallist have the champagne brand to thank for bringing the Jamaican athlete to Cape Town. Bolt is CEO (chief entertainment officer) and ambassador for the French brand.
“We are extremely excited to be hosting our CEO Usain Bolt at Africa’s greatest race day and invite those daring enough to celebrate their next victories with us on January 27,” brand manager Etienne Cassuto said in a press statement.
The Sun Met - formerly known as the J&B Met - enjoys a rich, 134-year legacy of being the country’s most lauded equestrian event.
Featuring 13 races and a R5 million stake, the race day is as much about haute couture as it is about horses.
This year’s theme is “Style ahead of the Field,” with posh ponies and fashionable fillies encouraged to don their best African-inspired prints, textures and colours.
The event is also the official start to Cape Town’s annual social calendar, and is typically attended by the who’s who of the SA social scene.
But it’s Bolt, who recently retired from athletics and enjoys the moniker of being the fastest man alive, who remains ahead of the pack when it comes to being the most celebrated and famous celebrity to attend the festivities.
He’ll be rubbing shoulders with the likes of TV presenter Minnie Dlamini, actress Khanyi Mbau, model and businesswoman Lee-Ann Liebenberg, and a slew of other local celebs who have become regulars at the horse racing bonanza.
In 2015, the celebrations were marred by the death of Top Billing presenter Simba Mhere, who died in a car accident on his way to the event. News of his death on the day of the race saw a number of celebs leave the festivities.
The 2016 event proved a less sombre affair, with guests decked to the nines in outfits inspired by the “a Rare Blend” theme. Over-the-top ensembles, quirky mixes of fabrics and textures, and other unique outfits proved the order of the day as celebrations got racegoers and VIP guests into the swing of things.
It was an equally fashionable affair at last year’s event, under the theme of “Decades of Glamour”, with local stars oozing sex appeal and glamour as they punted, paraded and partied at the racecourse.
And this year is set to be no different, with the introduction of a world-famous athlete with a penchant for French champagne guaranteed to inject the party spirit into the sophisticated soiree.
* Tickets for the Sun Met are available via the Ticketpros website: www.ticketpros.co.za.