Horse racing is a hugely popular sport in South Africa, with regular racing taking place around the country. The sport in South Africa enjoys a long and rich history that can be traced back to 1797! The first recorded race club meeting took place five years later in 1802.
The national horse racing body is known as the National Horse Racing Authority and previously operated under the name of The Jockey Club of South Africa. It was founded in 1882.
Racing in South Africa is controlled by two bodies: Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Limited, and Gold Circle. Phumelela controls racing in the Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng, while Gold Circle has the reins in the Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal.
There are three major races that stand out above the rest, one in each of the three biggest cities in the country. Turfontein in Johannesburg hosts The Summer Cup, while Cape Town’s star attraction is The J & B Met. Durban’s primary event is The Vodacom July, which was first run in 1897 at its present home, Greyville.
Saftote controls the big-money betting industry. It is the banner under which Phumelela and Gold Circle work their totalisator. The betting system is controlled by the Maryland, USA-based company that designed it. All tote equipment has been given the South African Bureau of Standards’ stamp of approval.