The winter horse-racing season, including the Vodacom Durban July, is secure after a bailout in the form of a R40m loan from bookmakers Hollywoodbets to Gold Circle, SA’s second-largest horse-racing company.

Gold Circle, the host of SA’s most famous thoroughbred race, was under threat of being placed in business rescue because of its parlous financial situation, with enough funds to trade for another 17 days, reflecting an industry-wide slump after the Covid-19 pandemic added pressure to the sector already battling a weak economy and lower consumer spending. Larger rival Phumelela tumbled into business rescue in May.

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