South African Horse Racing Tips
Horse racing began in South Africa in 1797, when the first recorded contest took place in Cape Town. However, it was another 85 years before the Jockey Club of South Africa – now known as the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa – was formed.
Racing takes place across the country on turf, Polytrack and sand courses, with 27 Grade 1 contests in total.
Several top trainers and riders come from South Africa with Mike de Kock, often dubbed as ‘racing’s pioneering international handler’, and rider S’manga Khumalo, the first black jockey to win the Durban July Handicap, standing out.
Top South African Horse Races
Run in late January/early February, the Sun Met is the feature contest held at Kenilworth racecourse each year and has been a regular contest for 158 years, albeit under different names. With prize-money of R 5million, it is one of the richest races in the country.
Durban July Handicap
Held on the first Saturday of June every year since 1897 at Greyville, the Durban July Handicap is a turf race over 2,200m and is worth R 4.25m. Only five horses have won the Durban July back-to-back, with the latest horse to do that being Do It Again (2018 and 2019).
Premier’s Champions Challenge
This Grade 1 contest run at Turffontein in May is often won by a smart three-year-old colt or filly. Trainer Mike de Kock has an exceptional record in this showpiece event, which is a weight-for-age affair.
South African Derby
Solely for three-year-old colts, the South African Derby, which has been run at Turffontein in April since the inaugural edition in 1907 and is worth R 2m, often sorts the wheat from the chaff in the Classic generation.
Top South African Horse Racing Tracks
Founded in 1887, Turffontein is one of the premier tracks in South Africa and has inner and outer facilities for turf racing. Host of the South African Derby and Summer Cup, Turffontein is widely known as a severe test of stamina and the top connections often dominate.
A pear-shaped turf racecourse that consists of several gradient features surrounds a 2,000m Polytrack course, which is a new addition as it was only built in 2014. Greyville fixtures often draw horses from all around the country, especially during the Durban July Handicap meeting.
The oldest racecourse in the country having been founded in 1882, Kenilworth is the home to the Sun Met, a race meeting that often brings in well over 50,000 spectators. Numerous Grade 1 contests are run here and it is a valuable part of the economy in Cape Town.
Horse Racing in South Africa – facts
The main difference between British and South African racing is the ground conditions. Obviously being in the southern Hemisphere, South Africa is at the mercy of the sun far more often than Britain and races are consequently run on firm ground more often than not.
How to bet on South African racing in the UK
Which bookmakers offer betting on South African Horse Racing?
Betting on South African racing is popular among British punters and therefore almost every bookmaker offers odds.
South African Horse Racing Odds
South African horse racing odds are very similar to those in Britain. You may get the odd weirdly-priced horse (for example 17-5), but other than that it is pretty much business as usual.
Where to find South African Horse Racing Results
For South African horse racing results and South African horse racing cards, it is wise to look on www.racingpost.com or www.sportinglife.com. If you are looking for individual South African race results and want to look elsewhere, bookmaking firms tend to have them on offer.
How to watch South African Horse Racing from the UK
Sky Sports Racing show South African horse racing if there is no domestic action. You can also watch the racing on bookmaking websites through the South African horse racing live stream service.
Is horse racing popular in South Africa?
Horse racing is popular among the rich and famous in South Africa and takes place in the three major cities – Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Fashion has become one of the main draws to go horse racing.
What is G1 in horse racing?
G1 stands for Grade 1, the top category of horse race worldwide.
How do you bet on horse racing in South Africa?
Placing bets on the win, place or each-way markets, depending on whether you think your selection will come home in front, in the first two or first three.
What is the greatest horse race in South Africa?
The Sun Met or Durban July Handicap is the biggest race in the country.
How many racecourses are there in South Africa?
There are ten racecourses in South Africa. Eight are turf courses, one has a turf and sand track and the other is solely sand.