Picture: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA
Picture: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA

Good and bad news for racing fans — SA’s most famous race, the Vodacom Durban July, will be run this year, but behind closed doors. The proposed date is Saturday July 25.

In a joint statement on Thursday Gold Circle and Vodacom confirmed that the race would be run under the strictest adherence to all government health protocols surrounding Covid-19.

“Gold Circle, with the ongoing support of the company’s valued sponsor, Vodacom, is fully committed to the running of the 2020 Durban July,” said CEO Michel Nairac.

“Sadly, given the reality of the present circumstances, the race meeting will be staged behind closed doors without spectators. The July has enjoyed an uninterrupted history since first being run in 1897 — not even two world wars prevented the race from being run.

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure 2020 is not the exception,” said Nairac.

Michelle van Eyden, head of sponsorship at Vodacom, said: “Any decision we make about the Durban July this year will be made as a responsible company committed to the safety of all those involved.

“As a sponsor we will work together with all the relevant stakeholders and be guided by the horse racing fraternity and the experts in this industry, as well as government, as we all work towards making this year’s race a reality.”

Though July 25 is the proposed date for the race, Gold Circle stressed this could change due to the fluid nature of the pandemic.

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