Durban’s Greyville Racecourse is home to Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event, the Vodacom Durban July, which takes place on the first Saturday of July every year. Tens of thousands of enthusiasts converge on the Theatre of Champions ready to enjoy a day of socializing in the extreme and the adrenaline rush of experiencing the best racing South Africa has to offer.
The racecourse is home to 12 Grade 1 events throughout Champions Season [www.championsseason.co.za] which runs from the beginning of May through to the Super Saturday race meeting at the end of July which features the eLAN Property Group Gold Cup.
Framed in the background by the many hotels of Durban’s Golden Mile, Greyville Racecourse is situated at the foot of Durban’s Berea and surrounds the green expanse of Royal Durban Golf Club’s championship course.
The right-handed (clockwise) track is pear-shaped and covers a distance of 2800 metres with 2400 metres under floodlights and no straight for sprints. A road from the Berea to the centre of the city passes under the course, and the construction of the two subways to accommodate this road resulted in the course having a number of unusual gradient features:
an uphill section from the 2 200 metre mark up to the 1 800 metre mark
thereafter a gentle downward slope to about the 1200 metre mark
an uphill section follows from the 1000 metre mark into the straight
an almost level 450 metre final straight to Greyville’s famed winning post
On 11 June 2014 Greyville raced for the first time on its new Polytrack which allows racing in the majority of weather conditions. Positioned inside the turf track the 2000 metre Polytrack accommodates a maximum field size of twelve. Polytrack racing, which takes place every Friday night from September to April, has proved very popular with the newly refurbished Lightning Shot Bar, the BraaiZone and the KidZone attracting both regular and new visitors to racemeetings. Polytrack racing also features at racemeetings throughout Champions Season.