Durban - The structure of the Vodacom Durban July Handicap programme has been altered because of the track conditions at Greyville racecourse, due to rain on Thursday night.
This is the first time since 1989 that a change has been necessary.
On that occasion the first six races were abandoned because of rain.
The first two races on Saturday's card, which were to be held over 1 400m and 1 900m respectively, were cancelled on Friday, the organisers have confirmed.
Added to this was the bogging down of a heavy duty truck on the track at the 2 400m mark, which necessitated the reducing of the distance of the fourth race, the Mercedes-Benz Gold Vase, from 3000m to 2400m, which could have a marked effect on the study of the form for this race.
This was caused because an entrance gate was put in place to allow access for vehicles carrying foodstuffs and various furniture items for the many tents that had been erected in the centre of the course.
The traffic using this entrance caused the course to be turned into a quagmire and this resulted in one of the vehicles becoming bogged down in the middle of the track.
It took just over four hours to pull the truck out of the mire, causing mayhem as other trucks could not access the tent area and caused a back-log of traffic at alternate entrances.
Many parked in the road and carried their cargo in by hand.
The sun reappeared mid-morning on Friday but it was doubtful whether the track would dry out completely before racing started.
After the field for the July Handicap has cantered down to the start on Saturday, racegoers will be asked to stand and observe 67 seconds of silence in respect and prayer for ailing former president Nelson Mandela.
This will be followed by the singing of the national anthem by Bongani Tembe and Linda Bu Khosini, accompanied by the Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic String Quartet.