4 May 2013 - 27 July 2013
Champions Season in KwaZulu-Natal is a three-month feast of superior racing offering feature race stakes in excess of R23million in a programme of 45 Graded, Listed and special events, headed by Africa’s greatest racing spectacle, the R3,5million Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July. Champions Season launches on Saturday 4 May at Greyville, with the running of the Colts and Fillies Guineas, as well as the Drill Hall Stakes.
The great news is that the stakes pot for the Champions Season feature races has been given a R6million cash injection, which represents a 28% increase on previous levels. This news follows hot on the heels of Gold Circle’s announcement earlier this year of an across the board stakes increase of between 10% and 11% for all minor races in the province and the news that this year’s Vodacom Durban July will be run for a stake of R3,5 million, making it the richest horserace on the continent.
The biggest Champion Season increases are the R500,000 added to the Vodacom Durban July stake, while the Daily News 2000 also gets a R500,000 cash injection and this year will be run for a stake of R1,5 million. The stake for the Woolavington 2000, run on the same afternoon as the Daily News 2000, has been increased to R750,000. The stake for the Gold Cup, the country’s most important race for stayers and final feature of the season, also goes up by R250,000 and will carry a stake of R1,25million.
Other significant increases for the Grade 1 races include the Golden Horse Sprint and Mercury Sprint, now both worth R750,000, the SA Fillies Sprint, up R100,000 to R600,000 and the Garden Province Stakes, up R250,000 to R750,000.
Added to Champions Season this year is the KwaZulu-Natal Breeders’ Day scheduled for the Saturday before the July when the KZN Breeders Million Mile worth R1million will hold centre stage. The Million Mile will be backed up by seven other races, all with a stake of R200,000.
Running from the beginning of May to the end of July, Champions Season provides a comprehensive mix of events catering for all the needs of the thoroughbred population with major contests for two-year-olds, three-year-olds and the older horses from sprints through middle distance races to the strong-winded stayers.
Celebrating the importance of the classic races for three-year-olds, special meetings are staged for the KRA Guineas and KRA Fillies Guineas over the traditional 1600m as well as the Betting World Derby and Betting World Oaks over 2400m, races from which great champions of the future could emerge.
The four big Champions Season meetings are :
GOLDEN HORSE SPRINT RACEDAY
Saturday 25 May 2013
The only race meeting on the Continent featuring four Grade 1 sprint races, this day draws the finest sprinters in the country.
RISING SUN GOLD CHALLENGE RACEDAY
Saturday 8 June 2013
The Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge is an open weight-for-age race over 1 600m and a major event for horses seeking a run in the Vodacom Durban July.
VODACOM DURBAN JULY RACEDAY
Saturday 6 July 2013
There is not an owner, breeder, trainer, jockey and groom that has not conjured up dreams of winning Africa’s Greatest Horse Racing Event and for most, just to be involved in the prestigious event is something very special. If you have a runner you have a chance and that chance comes once a year and for most owners, possibly once in lifetime.
Supporting events on the day include the all-new KZN Breeders Juvenile Million. With a stake of R1million, it is for juveniles graduates from the KZN Yearling Sales and is run at level weights over 1300m.
The Grade 1 Garden Province Stakes is an important black type-earning event for fillies and mares at weight-for-age over 1600m for a stake of R750,000.
The Golden Horseshoe and Golden Slipper are Grade 1 events that each carry stakes of R600,000 and are for two-year-olds at level weights over 1400m.
The Grade 2 Gold Vase carries a R400,000 stake and is an open merit-rated handicap over 3000m.
The Grade 3 Campanajo 2200 is an open merit-rated handicap over 2200m with a stake of R300,000. Celebrating the first winner of the Vodacom Durban July in 1897, the field is usually made up mostly of runners that never made the final field for the premier event.
SUPER SATURDAY AND GOLD CUP
27 July 2013
The meeting brings Champions Season to a close in spectacular fashion with four Grade 1 races headed by the R1,25 million Gold Cup, an open handicap that is the greatest test for the cream of South African stayers over 3200m.
Extract from Sporting Post