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CityPress - - News - – Poloko Tau

ery lit­tle hap­pens in Bray, a dorp in North West that lies along the Molopo River bor­der­ing Botswana.

But ev­ery July – in fact, build­ing up from the end of June – the town comes alive when it hosts the Bray July, its ver­sion of the glam­orous horse rac­ing event held in Dur­ban.

Un­like the Dur­ban July, there’s very lit­tle fash­ion on dis­play. The crowd con­sists mainly of farm­ers and farm work­ers, and the prize money for bet­ting on the win­ning horse is a mod­est R20 000. De­spite its hum­ble set-up, the Bray July, which is also known as the Kala­hari Ex­pe­ri­ence, at­tracts horses from the North­ern Cape, the Free State and even Botswana.

It’s a dusty af­fair and the hooves of par­tic­i­pat­ing horses leave a cloud of red as they thun­der to­wards the fin­ish line.

Mu­si­cian Bonolo Molosiwa, who trav­elled al­most 300km from her home town of Mahikeng to the Bray July, said she “en­joyed ev­ery mo­ment”.

“The Bray July is def­i­nitely the best in its league. Ev­ery­thing, from the weather, the buzz and the hum­bling en­vi­ron­ment of cheer­ing crowds – both black and white – com­pletes an ex­tra­or­di­nary day and ex­cep­tional bush ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said.

Eleven-year-old as­pir­ing jockey Neo Jansen, who is from a farm out­side Bray, feels inspired ev­ery time he at­tends the Bray July.

“One day, I will be a jockey just like the older guys. I have started rid­ing al­ready and in three or four years, I should be able to com­pete,” he said.

AP­PLAUSE Spec­ta­tors cheer dur­ing the Bray July, which is 200km from Vry­burg and very close to the Botswana bor­der

ON A HIGH A spec­ta­tor climbs a tree to get a bet­ter view of the horses

SPLASH OF COLOUR Horse bri­dles are hung on barbed wire at the Bray July in prepa­ra­tion for the races

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