Africa’s premier marathon for long-distance runners, the Gold Cup, was first run in 1921. This tenuous race is run over a distance of 3200m, which starts at the 400m mark in the short Greyville straight.
The jockeys’ rivalry for prime spots are evident the moment the horses run past the winning post for the first time. After this they have to turn sharply right and head towards the Drill Hall. Under the circumstances all the horses are under pressure before the turn into the home straight. It takes a special type of horse and jockey to win this event. Charlie Barends was one of the greatest Gold Cup riders of all time. He has won this event seven times. Chez Monty who became the first horse in 1950 to win the race two years running was straddled by Charlie. This record stood firmly until Felix Coetzee broke this long-standing record in 2012, when he, as the rider of In Writing, won his eighth Gold Cup.
The Gold Cup takes place at the Greyville Racecourse every July and for decades it has been the second most famous race in the country. This race usually attracts country-wide interest and betting, and is a merit-rated handicap, as well as a tough test of ability for horse and rider. Only one horse, Highland Night, has ever managed to win the race two years running. This happened early in the new century.
Even though the Gold Cup was first downgraded to Grade 2 in 2016 and then to Grade 3 in 2017, it still appears to be the most important horseracing marathon in the country.
Visitors can visit the numerous informal stalls in the street food market where they can buy a wide range of food and beverages. Plain burgers are turned into gourmet ones, and plain waffles make way for fancy ones during this gathering. Fully catered VIP packages are also available if you prefer offering corporate hospitality. There is also a picnic area where families can spend time in a relaxed setting. Refreshments are also sold in this area.