Horse-racing, trade fair, fashion and food
Dundee in Northern Natal will once again resound with hooves pounding the racetrack and the frenzied shouts of excited crowds when the annual Dundee July comes to town.
The event, which always takes place towards the end of July, is one of three that make July in KwaZulu-Natal an important horse racing month.
Dundee is the venue of choice in the northern reaches of the province, as it has a newly installed race track and is well positioned, allowing for access by participants and spectators.
Rural horse owners and jockeys from KZN, Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Lesotho will compete for the winner’s title and stake money.
When the event started back in 2005 there were 30 participants and 1500 spectators. Each year since then the Dundee July has seen phenomenal growth in numbers.
This year a crowd of about 20 000 horse racing enthusiasts is expected to converge for the 2018 festivities which start on Thursday, July 19, in a two-day build-up to the big race day on Saturday, July 21. Included are two high profile international races, a ladies’ event and a choreographed fashion show.
This rural horse tripling (bareback trotting) race event is the second KZN Department of Sport and Recreation flagship event run in collaboration with the Endumeni and UMzinyathi District municipalities.
Most districts within KZN participate and this year more than 320 horse owners and 200 jockeys are expected in to compete in eight events.
The Ithala International Race is one of two international races on the cards that promise to be nail-biting, as jockeys and horses from Lesotho, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape pit their skills and stamina against each other.
Action and distractions
Some of the action and distractions for racegoers include fashion shows, music, dance and food tasting that make up the three-day programme.
A trade and exhibition fair kicks off the Dundee July festivities, giving locals and visitors an opportunity to see the products offered by the event’s partners and to buy clothing, crafts, food, horse grooming products and souvenirs.
A colourful street carnival procession sets the vibe on day two (Friday, 20 July). Led by bikers, the horses and jockeys will be paraded, followed by an exhibition of traditional clothing, fashion from KZN’s upcoming designers, traditional dancing and more. Delicious food will get taste buds tingling and there will be plenty of music to keep spectators entertained.
**You can follow all the Dundee July action on social media – #DundeeJuly18 and #Iamfree