This year's Vodacom Durban July takes place on July 7 at the Greyville Racecourse, and if you're heading that way, it's time — in more ways than one — to start focusing on your outfit.
This year's recently revealed theme is: "It is time".
Durban July marketing manager Ken Tweddell said the theme explores the excitement of thoroughbred racing and touches on the fashion element of race day — by challenging fashionistas and designers to create "timeless" fashion that use the elements of a watch face to conceptualise designs.
The July is a major social and fashion event on South Africa's racing calendar — not to mention its sporting importance to the local industry.
It's the biggest race on the African continent, attracting close to 55,000 spectators. Bookmakers are expecting total bets in excess R200-million.
Making money at the event is easy as pie, of course — if you're lucky, or perhaps an excellent judge of horseflesh.
If you're planning to place bets, we got you.
According to David Airey of Airey Scott, it is a difficult art, but a great experience.
Here are five things that might help; you're welcome:
1. You need to be 18 years or older to buy a race card and bet.
2. Pick your horse. Choose a name you like or your lucky number. You can study the horse's form and racing history on the race card, if you want to be a bit more "scientific".
3. Once you understand the form of the horse you are backing, you need to decide whether you want to take a win or a place bet. If you bet on a horse for a win, the horse must win to qualify for a payout. If you're not that confident of your selection, you can take a place bet — as long as there are six or more runners. Here you will receive a payout if your horse finishes first or second (in the case of six or seven runners) or first, second or third if there are eight to 15 runners. If there are 16 or more runners, a fourth place also pays out.
4. You can bet on more than one horse. If you like two horses in the same race, then the swinger is for you. Here you call both horses to the tote operator, and you win if your horses finish first and second, first and third or second and third.
The swinger is the only bet with an R2 minimum bet. All other bets are a minimum of R6.
5. The jackpot. The jackpot is a bet where you are required to choose the winner of the four consecutive jackpot races. It's harder to win than a double (picking the winner in two consecutive races), but the rewards are much higher. To give this bet better odds of winning, you can take a permutation — which allows you to select a number of horses in each race ("leg") of the jackpot. Each line of four horses would cost you R1, and again the minimum bet is R6.
Airey said although betting can be intimidating for first-timers, it adds to the thrill of the event.
"It is more fun than anything else. If you are not sure, ask. Go with your gut, and just have fun while you're at it," he told HuffPost.