Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Trackside at Africa’s Richest Horse Race

Africa’s richest horse-racing event brings together stylish celebrities and wealthy horse owners, while committed gamblers and spectators watch thoroughbreds compete for the biggest prize money on the continent. 

Called the Sun Met, the event draws more than 50,000 people every year to the Kenilworth race track in Cape Town, the birthplace of horse racing in South Africa.

While the first horses were brought to South Africa by the Dutch in the late 1700s, horse racing as a sport took off when Lord Charles Somerset arrived in the Cape and imported a large number of thoroughbred stallions. With a prize today of 5 million rand ($418,000) for the main race, it has evolved into a colorful playground for the rich and famous.

Photographs by Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

  

  

Racegoers cheer on their favorite horse. The stakes are high at the Sun Met event that draws crowds of 50,000 people every year.

  

  

One of the eye-catching thoroughbreds Captain America with his long-time rider Corne Orffer during the 134th edition of the Sun Met.

  

  

Television personality Minnie Dlamini and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt make their way from the center stage. Bolt once claimed to be faster than a horse in a 2017 interview at the Kentucky Derby. 

  

  

An attendee poses for a 360 degree photograph.

  

  

Racegoers check their betting slips.

  

  

A jockey passes racegoers watching from the pavillion.

  

  

Grant van Niekerk celebrates after riding Oh Susanna to victory during the main race. Oh Susanna, owned by the South Africa's richest family, the Ruperts, is the first three-year old filly to win the event since 1902.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
  

  

Clockwise from top left, racegoers wear clothes crafted in textiles inspired by Africa, as part of the 'Style ahead of the Field' annual theme; attendees arrive at the festive event; a bettor makes form notes in the racing program; and attendees pose for 360 degree photographs during the colorful occasion.

  

  

Former Miss South Africa turned television presenter Cindy Nell speaks with an attendee as she arrives.

  

  

Equestrian affair: Jockeys get in a last chat and pose for photographs ahead of their race.

    

    

Racegoers pose for a selfie as others line up to place their bets.

  

  

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, the current holder of the Miss Universe and Miss South Africa title, poses for photographers. The event is a highlight on the social calendar for celebrities and influencers.