… but the organisers are spinning the negative publicity as positive advertising and welcome hype
In the wake of its unveiling, a flurry of criticism has met Gabs July Derby for being a shameful copy and paste of South Africa’s Durban July.
Batswana have taken to social media in numbers criticizing the Gabs July company for lack of originality and question even the name while ignoring the potential value that the event could add to Gaborone’s social scene. But organisers are not moved and instead look at the negative publicity in a positive light that should increase the hype around the event ahead of time.
Under the tagline, “Race, Fashion, Win” the Gabs July derby will make its debut on 4 July 2020 Sebele race track, which is the date for the famous Durban July. It is expected that this will become an annual event from which the supreme horse and jockey will become a P100 000 richer.
Known for its fashion glitz and glamour, betting big on horses, and A-list celebrity attendance, the Durban July is very popular across the African continent. Much of the criticism of the coming event in Botswana is around the name because horseracing and fashion are established in many parts of the world.
“In sport, leveraging off a common combination is not a crime,” a spokesman of Gabs July told TimeOut. “You would be famliair with the USA Cup, the Melbourne Cup, the Dubai Cup, the Japan Cup, the Saudi Cup, the French Open, the US Open, the Australian Open and so on. At any rate, horseracing shows have been done in Botswana. One may have hoped that the big question around Gabs July would concern issues of horse and jockey safety and such priority concerns.”
The spokesman said the concept was inspired by Batswana’s love for horseracing shows, top fashion and the growth of races held in July in other parts of Africa. “Over and above the horsemanship disciplines, true to its carnival style, the Gabs July will treat attendants to music performances at intervals,” he said. “Even more exciting, the event will feature a beauty queen cat-walk to demonstrate the race’s bias for fashion. Entrepreneurs are sending inbox messages asking us to partner with them to deliver a good product, thanks to the critics for raising awareness and pointing us to opportunities. The horse owners are getting ready as the stakes have never been this high in Botswana’s horseracing history.”
The Gabs July derby is fully endorsed by horse racing sport governing bodies and the Gaborone City Council. It is supported by reigning beauty queens, including Miss Botswana, Miss Tourism World, Miss Universe Botswana, Miss Glam Botswana and Miss Independence Botswana.