How many Racecourses are there in South Africa

The only day Horseracing does not take place in South Africa is the 25th of December. Otherwise, a racecourse in South Africa will host a race meeting on the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the calendar year. These race meetings will occur in Cape Town, Gauteng, Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) and KwaZulu-Natal centers.

How many Racecourses are there in South Africa – There are seven racecourses in South Africa. Two are in the Western Cape, two in Gauteng, one in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), and two in KwaZulu-Natal.

Western Cape – Kenilworth

Kenilworth Racetrack was founded in 1881 and is South Africa’s oldest racecourse and is one of the most beautiful racecourses not only in the Western Cape but also in South Africa. It is situated on the outskirts of Cape Town in the sprawling Cape Southern Suburb of Kenilworth.

The Cape Town Met, Cape Guineas, Cape Fillies Guineas, Queen’s Plate, Maine Chance Farms, Paddock Stakes, Cape Flying Championship, Majorca Stakes, and Cape Derby are all held at Kenilworth each year. The majority of the activity in Kenilworth occurs in December and January, known as the Cape Summer Season.

There are two tracks with a conservation area in the middle; a 2800m current course with a 600m run-in and a 2700m old course with a 450m run-in. The 2800M course with the long run is used almost exclusively in the Summer Season (December to January), with most meetings taking place on the 2700m with the shorter straight, known as the Winter Course.

Western Cape – Durbanville

Durbanville is one of two racecourses in the Western Cape, the other being Kenilworth. Racing began in the region in 1898, although the racetrack was not built until 1922. It was formerly known as the Durbanville Gymkhana Club but was renamed in 1956.

Durbanville Racecourse is a left-handed oval track with a perimeter of around 2200m and a home straight of approximately 600m. Every year in September and October, it features a few spectacular Grade 3 and Listed races.

Durbanville Racecourse is also known in the Western Cape as the Country Course. Although compact (the parade ring, catering facilities and racecourse are all short walks from each other), the sprawling green grass, newly built grandstand and short distances to watch the horses make Durbanville one of the most picturesque in the country.

Gauteng – Turffontein

Turffontein is Johannesburg’s top racetrack, situated somewhat south of the city center. Every year, it holds eight Grade 1 races, the Summer Cup, South African Classic, Horse Chestnut Stakes, South African Fillies Classic, Empress Club Stakes, Premier’s Champions Challenge, South African Derby, and Computaform, as well as various Grade 2 and Grade 3 events.

The Summer Cup is held in late November or early December, while most significant races are held in March and April. It has a 2500m oval track that climbs from the 1400m mark to the 500m. Stamina and speed are prerequisites for horses that run well at this racecourse.

Turfontein has two tracks, one named the Inside Track and the other one the Standside Track. The Inside Track is more for the horses who have initial speed out of the starting stalls and can maintain that speed into the straight, shorter than the Standside Track. Low draws are a definite advantage on the Inside Track.

When Racing on the Standside Track, the draw is not as important. This track is more advantageous to the long-striding, galloping horse who needs time to get into their stride. Some vigorous riding from the jockey normally galvanizes the horse allowing it to go through the gears, hitting top stride at the 200m mark and reeling in the frontrunners as the finishing line looms.

Gauteng – The Vaal

The Vaal Racecourse is located in South Africa’s Free State province, about 70 kilometers south of Johannesburg. It has a 2800m oval sand track and can accommodate straight races up to 1600m. Longer races begin with a clockwise turn and a 1000m run-in.

A 3000m grass track with the most extended circumference, run-in, and straight in South Africa is also available. In the 1800m on the grass track, low number draws are somewhat favored. The 1600m straight course is advantageous to horses who sit up or just off the pace and have middle to high draws 

Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) – Fairview

The track is 2700m long and almost oval. Races up to 1200m may be raced straight, but longer races include a clockwise turn leading to an 800m home straight. There is also an 1800m Polytrack with a radius of 1800m and a 400m run-in. In lengthier races, a low number draws an advantage.

Many horses relocate or raid the Stakes Races in Gqeberha from Cape Town, as the level of racing thoroughbreds is marginally below those in Cape Town. Relocating a horse from Cape Town to Gqeberha is a relatively painless process, and it swells the trainers’ coffers and the number of horses in training in that center.

KwaZulu-Natal  – Greyville

Greyville Racecourse is one of South Africa’s premier racetracks. Its headquarters are in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, and it features renowned events, including the Durban July Handicap and the Greyville Gold Cup. Greyville was developed in 1896, and the first race meeting in KwaZulu-Natal was conducted in 1844.

The first Durban July was held the following year. Greyville has a pear-shaped grass track of 2800m that climbs from the 2400m mark to the 800m mark before descending straight to a 500m flat home. It also has a Polytrack that hosts Horseracing primarily in Winter, which is circular and favors horses drawn low and prefers to race with or just off the pace. 

KwaZulu-Natal – Scottsville

Scottsville Racecourse is located in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu capital. Natal’s about a 50-minute drive from Durban. It features a right-handed oval track with a 2300m diameter and a 550m run-in. There is a movable fence that enables straight races over 1200m.

Every May, Scottsville hosts four Group 1 races, the Tsogo Sun Sprint, the City of Pietermaritzburg Fillies Sprint, the Gold Medallion, and the Allan Robertson Championship. The straight track has improved dramatically recently, with virtually no draw bias across the track.

Horse Racing in South Africa & Hollywoodbets

Horse Racing in South Africa is a Multi-Million Rand business. However, in recent years, horse racing has suffered because of Casinos and Sports Betting that have mushroomed across South Africa, providing competition to the Horse Racing Industry and its picturesque racecourses.

Bookmaker Hollywoodbets has stepped in and sponsored four racecourses, which now race under the Hollywoodbets Banner.

These four are –

  • Hollywoodbets Greyville
  • Hollywoodbets Scottsville
  • Hollywoodbets Kenilworth
  • Hollywoodbets Durbanville

These cash injections will assist the racing authorities to be more cash-flush and allow them to plow back some of that money into ensuring that they compete on an equal footing with the competition.

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