Durban - Last year's runner up Marinaresco defied carrying the heaviest weight to race to a spectacular win under Bernard Fayd'Herbe in the R4.25 million Durban July at Greyville Racecourse, giving trainer Candice Bass-Robinson her maiden win in Africa's Greatest Horseracing Event.
Fayd'Herbe engineered a spectacular charge through the middle of the field in the closing two hundred metres to win from a resurgent Al Sahem and another pre-race favourite Edict Of Nantes edging ahead of outsider Krambambuli and the filly Nightingale.
There were joyous scenes on the track as Fayd'Herbe was congratulated by his brother Robert, who has overseen much of Marinaresco's training at the Bass yard at the Summerveld Training Centre.
The capacity crowd revelled in the fever pitch excitement as the thoroughbreds turned into the home straight, and needed replays to confirm that Marinaresco was indeed the 2017 champion.
The massive crowd then returned to the lavishly appointed suites and the vibrant Marquee Village to celebrate the occasion that will be remembered for its mild weather, and a distinct leaning towards bling, glitz and glamour and away from the bizarre.
The totes did a brisk business throughout the day, and it was clear that, despite the reality of economic recession, racegoers were not going to curtail their extravagance on the day.
Off the track, lovers of high fashion were treated to a visual feast as six new designers were crowned champions of the catwalk.
DUT student Katekani Moreku rewrote the record books when his defiantly funky, colourful menswear design, complete with makarapa, won the prestigious Durban July Young Designer Award presented by Durban Fashion Fair.
Another rising star of the Durban fashion scene Tiloné Viljoen grabbed the other pre-raceday fashion scalp, winning the Durban Fashion Challenge title with his angular yet feminine design that spoke to the balance between a woman having to be tough, yet retain her femininity.
The on-the-day competition for classic female racewear went to Prince Nsibande, with Naseem Nazeer taking the equivalent award for menswear. Catherine Nolan scooped the Huawei Best Dressed Couple Award and the Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator title went to Zandile Maphumulo.
RESULT OF THE 2017 DURBAN JULY
2. Al Sahem
3. Edict of Nantes
FASHION COMPETITION RESULTS
The Durban July Young Designer Award presented by Durban Fashion Fair:
1. Katekani Moreku (DUT)
2. Hlengiwe Queeneth Mdunge (DUT)
3. Nazreen Paruk (DUT)
The Durban July Fashion Challenge presented by Durban Fashion Fair:
1. Tiloné Viljoen
2. Martin Steenkamp
3. Alice Rash
Durban July Classic Racewear - female
1. Prince Nsibande
2. Kireshen Chetty
3. Kat Shoesmith
Durban July Classic Racewear - Male
1. Naseem Nazeer
2. Mnotho Ngema
3. Prince Shongwe
Durban July Huawei Best Dressed Couple
1. Catherine Nolan
2. Pregasen Govender
3. Monique Talita
Durban July Classic Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator
1. Zandile Maphumulo
2. Sphenelele Ntuli
3. Pregasen Govender
More information can be found at www.vodacomdurbanjuly.co.za