The illustrious Gold Cup has been run at Greyville Racecourse since 1921. Over the years, spectators have witnessed stunning races and gladly participated in the festivities that followed. Throughout its history, this race day has been one of South Africa’s premier horseracing festivals. However, with the emergence of the Durban July, the once-bright Gold Cup lost some of its lustre. Tarnished in the face of its enduring legacy, organisers had some real work to do to elevate the event beyond its previous giddy heights.
The Gold Cup, what has become the eLan Gold Cup, has been run at Greyville for almost 100 years. For decades, it was the second most famous race in the country – generating a plethora of interest and a glut of betting. It is a merit-rated handicap and a gruelling test of ability and stamina for both horse and rider. Only one horse, Highland Night, has ever managed to win the race two years running, just after the turn of the millennium. Whilst every race retained its excellence, event standards slipped for a while, and only in the last few years have we seen the re-emergence of the grand old spectacle that the Gold Cup was once famed to be.
Great energy has been expended in making the eLan Gold Cup a memorable race and event day. It’s incrementally being established as Durban’s go-to event for relaxed, sophisticated fun. Event organisers have moulded the day into one of celebration, lifestyle, food, and of course, horseracing. The essence of the Gold Cup remains the same as it ever was; that being passionate punters, high-stakes racing, and socially-conscious charitable contributions. Therefore, it is clear that the race day has been elevated and reimagined, not completely gutted and remodelled. Those involved feel it’s important that this Festival of Racing retains its essence.
The main feature on the day is the eLan Gold Cup, South Africa’s premier thoroughbred marathon. Prize money from this 3200m endurance race amounts to R1.25 million. Included in the lucrative line-up of features are four Grade 1 races: The World Sports Betting Champions Cup, the Mercury Sprint, the Premiers Champions Stakes, and the Thekwini Stakes, totalling R3.5 million in additional prize money.
2018’s event saw attendances skyrocket in comparison to previous years. In 2017, there were a total of 2400 spectators, which increased to almost 9000 last year. This growth was astronomical, something which bodes well for future events. In addition to general access and CSI hospitality, Greyville Racecourse offers up some great spaces for corporate hospitality, customer entertainment, or simply a fun day out with friends.
When asked about the success of last year’s event and what that means for the future, event organiser Tara Pape said “Everyone involved in the 2018 eLan Gold Cup pulled out all the stops to create an amazing race day experience, with awesome offerings for all race day attendees. With the event growing to over 8900 attendance this day proved that 2018 was a highly successful realignment of Gold Cup and sets the bar for years to come”. As Head of Eventing and Marketing for Prosport International, she co-ordinated efforts between Prosport, eLan Property Group, and Gold Circle, to give racegoers a quality experience that will live long in the memory. She has high hopes for this year’s edition, saying “2019 promises to be even more spectacular, offering something for everyone: from high end hospitality, to private picnic sites, to dedicated public chill-zones, food markets and much more”.
To find out more about this phenomenal event, please visit the dedicated website, and follow the eLan Gold Cup on social media for regular updates.