Photo: Sandile Xolo Marketing & Communications Manager Ithala and MEC Sports & Recreation Bongi Sithole-Moloi with race horse AK 47 and rider Siyabonga Thembinkosi Ndebele.
The stakes are high for this year’s popular Dundee July. At the media launch yesterday (July 10) The MEC for for Arts Culture, Sport and Recreation Bongi Sithole-Moloi announced stake money of R950 000 for winning jockeys and racehorse owners.
A little later the Endumeni Municipal Mayor Siboniso Mbatha added a further R100 000 pushing the total stake to R1 050 million.
Addressing mayors of Umzinyathi and Endumeni district municipalities, members of local Amakhosi, the Rural Horse Riding Association, the KZN Fashion Council and the KZN trotting association and media at the launch of the 2018 Dundee July, the MEC said this prize money was a significant improvement on last year’s total stake money of R500 000. It was made possible through the support of long standing sponsors of the Dundee July.
Emphasising that the Dundee July was about the development of the horse riding industry MEC Sithole-Moloi said “we are paying attention to ensuring that participating in the Dundee July becomes a worthwhile effort and investment for jockeys and owners. One day we want to realise our vision of seeing the Dundee July grow further, and become less dependent on government.”
The provincial government was committed to the growth of the event and had so far invest R10 million in the improvement of the race track and the fencing. A further R5,5 million was being invested this year to support the various needs of the event.
Each year since the first Dundee July was held in 2005, the number of race-goers has increased.
This year a crowd of more than 20 000 horse racing enthusiasts are expected to converge on the northern KwaZulu-Natal town for the 2018 festivities which start on Thursday 19 July in a three-day build-up to the main event on Saturday 21 July.
Ithala Soc Limited is the Dundee July’s official banking partner and one of the first to renew their sponsorship of this provincial flagship event run under the auspices of the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation in collaboration with the Endumeni and UMzinyathi District municipalities.
The MEC thanked the sponsors for making the event possible. The sponsors are: Ithala, Amathole Funerals, Trotting South Africa, KZN Gaming and Betting Board and Orange Grove Dairies.
The race day, on Saturday July 21, will feature a total of eight races, including the women’s only race, which is proving to be one of the most popular contests of the day.
“We have been assured by KwaZulu-Natal Horse Riding Association that horses from our Province have been well prepared for the tough competition. We expect horses like Isgwebo Sentambo, Computer, Majayvane, Inxakanxaka, Mfulongashi, Isgemegeme and many others to represent our province well again this year,” she said.
The Ithala International Race is one of two international races on the cards and promises to be nail-biting as jockeys and horses from Lesotho, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape pit their skills and stamina against each other.
The event has enough entertainment to satisfy even the most discerning spectator. Fashion shows, music, dance and food tasting are just some of the activities on the three-day programme.
A line-up of top artists that will perform between races and throughout the evening was confirmed by the Department of Arts and Culture. They include DJ Tira, Professor, Hlengiwe Mhlaba, DJ Sox, Qhoshangokwenzakwakhe, Mfezemnyama, Zakwe, Imalini, Fikile Mlomo, Abanqobi, Noma and others.
A trade and exhibition fair kicks off the Dundee July festivities giving locals and visitors an opportunity to see the different products offered by the event’s partners and to buy clothing, crafts, food, horse grooming products and souvenirs.
A colourful street carnival procession sets the vibe on day two (Friday, 20 July). Led by bikers, the horses and jockeys will be paraded, followed by an exhibition of traditional clothing, fashion from KZN’s upcoming designers, traditional dancing and more. Delicious food will get taste buds tingling and there will be plenty of music to keep spectators entertained.