Shkh Hamdan’s Graded double

MIKE de Kock and his team won both the graded feature races at Turffontein on Saturday for Sheikh Hamdan of Dubai, chalking up the prestigious Gr2 Dingaans with Hawwaam and the Gr3 Fillies Mile with Ghaalla.

Hawwaam (5-2) was any number of lengths out of his ground turning for home behind the favourite National Park, but sliced through the field and came to the front with 150m to run and won going away for Gavin Lerena.

Hawwaam, easy winner.

Hawwaam, easy winner.

Ghaalla (15-1) had to work a bit harder for victory, driven to the line in a close finish to prevail by a short head for Randall Simons, though she was finishing best.

“We are very pleased for Sheikh Hamdan because Hawwaam (R1-million) and Ghaalla (R5-million), were two of five expensive horses bought at the National Yearling Sale last year and three of the five are already stakes winners. That’s a high percentage, well done also to Form Bloodstock.

“We say it time and again, but Sheikh Hamdan’s support to South African racing is invaluable, his silks are synonymous with decades of the best racing and racehorses around the world and every winner we train for him is special.”

Mike spoke about Hawwaam and said: “He’s a horse that brings his good work to the racetrack, he has plenty of ability and we’ve always rated him. We’d like to look at the Gr 1 Cape Guineas (15 December) next.

“We are privileged to have a number of really nice horses running here in South Africa at the moment. Hawwaam’s half-brother Rainbow Bridge (Eric Sands) is unbeaten, he is the early J&B Met favourite. What a mare their dam Halfway To Heaven must be!

“And then there is another top three-year-old One World (Vaughan Marshall), who is also unbeaten and showed his class again with a win over Chimichuri Run today. We look forward to taking them on with Hawwaam.

Ghaalla, the further the better.

Ghaalla, the further the better.

“Ghaalla deserved her win, she has been knocking at the door and we’ve been waiting for her to score again. She needs further than the mile so this was a meritorious win. We’ll look at the Cape Fillies Guineas for her next, or keep her in Gauteng for the Triple Tiara.  It is draw dependent.”

Mike was also delighted with the run of Storm Destiny, who finished fifth, beaten 2.50-lengths. “She ran a big race drawn 13 of 13 and coming off a muddling pace.”

Isle De France pulled up lame and again made respiratory noises. Mike said: “We’ll take her out of racing, put her away for a while and start again.”