Nick Gordon
1 minute read
4 Jul 2015
12:00 pm

Durban July: Meet the voice behind the winners

Nick Gordon

While the pressure may be on the 18 horses and jockeys running in this year's Vodacom Durban July there's another person on track who has just as much pressure on the big day.

FILE PICTURE: Television personality and choreographer Somizi poses for a picture at the 2014 Vodacom Durban July during the best dressed parade at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban 05 July 2014. Picture: Refilwe Modise

When the field for this year’s renewal of the 2 200m-race load up at Greyville today it will be up to the eagle eye of commentator Craig Peters to call them home and inform the crowd where their fancies are throughout the running.

This year’s July will be even more memorable for Peters given that it will be the 30th time he calls the field home and breaks the record held by legendary race caller and journalist Ernie Duffield who managed 29 commentaries on the illustrious race.

“It’s been a fantastic build-up,” Peters, who started his career in 1976 when calling a meeting sponsored funnily enough by The Citizen, said on the eve of his milestone.

“The adrenalin always pumps when it comes to the July. The night before there is a bit of nerves, it still gets to you,” he said.

“The crowd hangs onto your every word. It starts from the first race and by the time the big one rolls around the crowd is at fever pitch.”

Peters attributes his first ever commentary on the Durban July as his most cherished memory when calling Devon Air home as the winner in the 1984 renewal of the race run traditionally on the first Saturday in July.

Peters spends a lot of time studying the race card as well as the silks of every runner.

“If you make a mistake people will call you out. You try be as accurate as possible and that means you have to do your homework.”

His personal fancy for this year’s renewal is French Navy.