The South African Derby is the premier event on the show jumping calendar having celebrated horses, challenged riders and held the public in its thrall since 1965. This year the event was run from 30 September to the 3rd of October 2021 at the fabulous Kyalami Equestrian Park and was for the first time be sponsored by South Africa’s darling of the aviation industry, United Aviation Group. 



With a course that hasn’t changed since the event was moved to Kyalami Equestrian Park from Inanda in 2000, the 1 000m, 23 obstacle course promises to delight spectators and bring with it a few surprises even for those who have faced the mighty Derby a few times. With the addition of new jumps from this year’s sponsor the glint of gold and navy will dominate the Bob Charter ensuring a memorable and exciting few days of show jumping culminating in the big event on Sunday the 3rd of October.


Every year in October the elite of the South African equestrian world gather to do battle in the show-jumping and dressage arena’s. This annual event, the South African Derby, sees competitors from all over the country fight it out over 5 days, culminating in a spectacular finale on the Sunday.

Sponsored for the very first time by the United Aviation Group, the South African Derby took place from the 29th of September to the 3rd of October 2021 at the Kyalami Equestrian Park in Gauteng. Brave horses, impossible fences, the glitz and glamour of the riding world set against the fierce competion for the ultimate prize in SA show-jumping, the title of Derby winner. This incomparable event is looked upon with enormous anticipation by riders and the glitterati alike, with tickets to the final day being available to only a select few.

The build up to the event was exceptional as the United Aviation Group marketing team built excitement with online interviews of SA riders, a beautiful new website, advertising videos, a gorgeous portrait shoot of the United Aviation Group sponsored riders, social media and even a rock anthem (by Los Angeles based band All Good Things). You can follow the United Aviation Group YouTube Channel here to watch all the videos.

And what a week it was. The United Aviation Group VIP area was a storybook of luxury and elegance. Each day offered different entertainment, culminating in a closing concert by GoodLuck, The Ultimate Party Band and Matthew Mole. Gorgeous décor, sumptuous snacks, an awe-inspiring flyover and even a live stream and coverage on Super Sport for those watching from home, added to the excitement and glamour of this year’s event.



“The current track was devised to be similar to the original one designed for Inanda Club some 55 years ago, so as to keep the flavour and tone of the event the same. The oldest Derby in the world stems from the 1920s in Hamburg – there the track remains identical every year in all respects and attracts over 40 000 spectators who come to watch the thrills and spills.”


Gonda Betrix holds the record for the most Derby wins having won 6 times

(1991 AAA Watchfire Gonda Betrix)
1985 Sagorin’s Isis Bridge Gonda Betrix
1979 Elizabeth Anne’s Honey Girl Gonda Betrix
1980 Elizabeth Anne’s Honey Girl Gonda Betrix
1976 Prima’s Format Gonda Betrix
1967 Eldorado Gonda Butters