Thousands of spectators filled the small town of Dundee in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday as it hosted its annual horse racing event – The Dundee-July.
The event, which follows the Durban July, showcased the best of horse racing, including a women only race event. This rural horse racing event, which was launched more than 14 years ago, has raised its standards of excellence.
Spectators filled the Dundee racecourse to witness the event, which features competitors from rural areas in South Africa – in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, and Mpumalanga and Lesotho.
KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for arts, culture, sport and recreation Hlengiwe Mavimbela, says their plan is to ensure that the events match the standards of the Durban July, “so that people may not look at it and think it is a rural event”.
Mavimbela told City Press that she hopes the event will bring a lot of benefits to Dundee.
Since betting opened, there was a widespread interest in the international (main race) field with three horses – Nxakanxaka, Summer Time and Album – grabbing the punters’ attention. Summer Time, ridden by Tebogo Rasenya from Lesotho,won the race taking home R100 000 and a trophy.
Fashion and live music took centre stage with well known artists and local performers entertaining the racegoers.
Eyadini Lounge’s marquee outdid other hospitality tents, offering the best service to the VIPs.
Guests sipped champagne and Dundee locals cheered for their favourite horses by the fence. The race is known for keeping the competition traditional, with the horses grotting instead of galloping. This makes them unique.
Younger spectators climbed on top of the grandstands and cheered for the riders, front this advantage point.
Festival goers watching the race from the top of the bin. Picture: Rosetta Msimango
The fashion took most of the spectator’s attention. But some complained about Thobiswa Shongwe, the winner of the best dressed female because they didn’t think she “deserved it”.
Shongwe, from Pietermaritzburg was dressed by Ayanda Duze from Gateway School of Fashion.
The best creative designer was won by David Trevor. Both categories took home R10 000.
The harsh windy conditions pushed many of the spectators into the marquees on the side of the tracks, but locals stayed outside to enjoy the event.