Champions Day – reasons to be there

Miss World Rolene Strauss, Nicole da Silva, Angela Guastella and Tamerine Jardine enjoy a day at the races

Miss World Rolene Strauss, Nicole da Silva, Angela Guastella and Tamerine Jardine enjoy a day at the races

Champions Day at Turffontein Racecourse on Saturday is not only South Africa’s most lucrative racemeeting but is also one of Johanesburg’s biggest social occasions and is an important charity fundraiser.

The popular Intercontinental Village has become the jewel of this prestigious SA Triple Crown raceday and will be at the centre of both the on course entertainment and the charity drive.

This lively and colourful hub is now in its 6th year and will showcase the cultures of 11 communities through their food, costumes, craft and live on stage dancing.Enjoy a wide variety of traditional food in The Intercontinental Village including spaghetti, lasagne and pizza from Italy and cabbage rolls, grape leaves and Lebanese pies from Lebanon.

Delight in watching traditional dances such as the “Gbegbe” from the Ivory Coast and perhaps when the colourfully cladded Portuguese folk dancers take to the stage you could request the famous “Fandango”. Typically energetic and entertaining Zulu Dancers will represent South Africa, whose food choices of dithlakwana tsa nku (sheep heels), mala le mogodu (tripe stew served with pap),  lamb curry, beef stew, roasted chicken and samp and beans will whet many an appetite. You will also be able to experience a sample of culture from China, Scotland, Rwanda, France, Israel and India.

Charity partners

The excitement in the Village will reach a crescendo during the running of the R2 million Grade 1 SA Derby because each horse will represent a community who in turn will be partnering a charity. The charity attached to the winning horse will receive R45,000, R30,000 will go to the charity attached to the runner up and there will be R15,000 for third place, R10,000 for fourth and R5,000 for any other finishing position. Three entities that will be prominent on the day, Racing It’s a Rush, SOJO and the Southern Equatorial Ferrari Automobili Club will also have charity partners with horses running for them.

The Southern Equatorial Ferrari Automobili Club will provide one of the highlights of the day, an incredible trackside display of the world’s favourite car, the Ferrari. Forty Ferrari’s of different models can be ogled at by dreamy-eyed spectators.

Ferraris on display

Ferraris on display

Girls on top

There will also be an equine version of the Ferrari on display, the mighty grey filly Majmu, who is threatening to become one of the greatest racehorses ever seen in this country. This robust 3-year-old will not be intimidated by older colts and geldings in one of the main races of the day, the R2 million President’s Champions Challenge, in which she will attempt to land her third Grade 1 victory in succession.

Majmu will not be the only girl out to steal the show because earlier a filly called Siren’s Call will attempt to become the third horse in history to land the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara. She won the first 2 legs of this sought-after crown in February and March respectively and if she wins Saturday’s third leg, the Grade 1 R1 million Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks, she will not only be awarded the Triple Tiara, but she will also earn a bonus of R1 million on top of the already lucrative prize money.

A feast of action

The day provides a feast of action for the racing purist as there will be five Grade 1 races in all, two for R2 million and three for R1 million, and there will also be four Grade 2 races.

All this entertainment creates a rich on-course vibe and it doesn’t end there because there will also be trackside stalls and music, a mechanical bull, slides, rock walls, jumping castles and pony rides.

Fine fare and excellent viewing facilities will be available in the various rooms in the huge Turffontein grandstand.

Gates open at 11h00, entry and secure parking is FREE. For more information about the day call 011 681 1702.