Millions of rands lost as three Hollywoodbets Durban July races were abandoned due to power cuts

The winning horse Winchester Mansion was ridden by Kabelo Matsunyane at the Hollywoodbets Durban July on Saturday. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

The winning horse Winchester Mansion was ridden by Kabelo Matsunyane at the Hollywoodbets Durban July on Saturday. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 4, 2023


Millions of rands have been lost after the last three races at Saturday’s Hollywoodbets Durban July had to be abandoned, due to power outages.

Providing clarity on the power outage situation that got tongues wagging on social media and at the race event on Saturday, Gold Circle’s events manager, Steve Marshall, told IOL that the three races had stakes on offer to the value of R390,000.

“However it is the lost betting revenue on these races, as well as the lost sponsorship revenue as these sponsored races were not run that results in millions of rands in lost revenue for Gold Circle,” said Marshall.

He added: “Not to mention the reputational damage that has been caused by these factors that were out of our control.”

Although the power situation was quickly resolved, jockeys refused to participate further citing their safety, leading to three races being abandoned on Saturday.

When asked if Gold Circle was aware of any load shedding in the area during that time period Marshall said they had engaged with the eThekwini Municipality in May and they were aware that the new revised load shedding schedule could lead to load shedding between 6-8pm on Saturdays.

But there was an agreement that the racecourse would be exempted.

“Due to the massive economic impact that this event has on the eThekwini GDP, we were very pleased that the City confirmed that we would be exempt from load shedding on Saturday (1 July) so that the event could take place.”

Marshall said initial communications from eThekwini have suggested that the power outage suffered on Saturday was not due to load shedding, but instead there were faults experienced.

These faults caused the two separate temporary power cuts experienced on Saturday night at 6pm and approximately 45 minutes later at about 6.45pm.

Independent Media’s KZN offices, which is the home of titles such as The Mercury, Daily News and Isolezwe, has offices in the same vicinity as the Greyville Racecourse where the Durban July was held.

Independent Media’s head of security, Johan Visagie, said there was no power at the Osborne Street facility between 6pm and 6.40pm on Saturday.

“The electrician reported that the main power was back around 6.40pm, he waited a while to ensure that the power doesn’t trip and changed back to the main supply by 7pm,” he said.

Meanwhile, Marshall said Gold Circle has requested an urgent investigation by the City into the root cause of the power cuts.

“As we have been conducting night racing at Hollywoodbets Greyville for more than 25 years and we have never experienced a 10-second power cut during a race meeting in all that time, let alone experiencing this twice in less than an hour.

“We are hoping that the City will share the result of that investigation with the public as soon as it becomes available.”

When asked what happens to those who placed bets on the last three races, Marshall said as the events were abandoned, all customers who placed bets on these events will receive a full refund.

“They must just return to the branch where they placed their bet, hand in their ticket for their refund.

He said online account clients would have received their refunds automatically.

Hollywoodsbets brand manager Devin Heffer said they were also extremely disappointed by the power outages experienced on Saturday during the showcase event.

“Where focus should have been on the July winner Winchester Mansion, it was overshadowed by the premature ending to the race meeting.

“The floodlight situation was unacceptable, and negatively affected all racing stakeholders, attendees, and sponsors.”