Hawwaam: Now Durban July!

MIKE de Kock would like to see Hawwaam take his place in the Gr1 Vodacom Durban July on 6 July after his excellent win in Saturday’s Gr1 Daily News 2000 at Greyville.

He said after the race: “I will recommend to Sheikh Hamdan and Angus Gold that we run him.  We have a good horse, we’ll have a good chance!”

Hawwaam geared down at the business end to keep his classy challenger Twist Of Fate at bay under hands and heels from Anton Marcus. He won by 1,60-lengths.

While the time of 122,30 was average, Mike said that the jockeys slowed the pace down considerably, and that Hawwaan proved he was good enough despite the muddling clip.

“The best thing about Hawwaam is that he has a desire to win, he overcomes adversity in a race. Our plan all along was for Hawwaam to lead but he stood at the stalls and had to make up ground. Anton rode a calculated race. If he’d rushed up to lead, who knows, it may have cost us. Instead, he allowed Hawwaam to settle and then gradually found his way to the front when S’manga Khumalo eased back on Twist Of Fate.

“The race developed into a contest down the straight and I am very happy that Hawwaam won well, he never saw the whip and he beat a top horse. I believe Twist Of Fate is the second-best three-year-old in the country.”

Marcus said that he was impressed with Hawwaam’s win, and agreed that it was full of merit. He added: “In a few months’ time the world will be Hawwaam’s oyster”. He faces what will be a tough decision having to choose between Hawwaam and his year-older half-brother Rainbow Bridge.

Mike commented: “I think by Tuesday next week we will know who our jockey will be. I don’t think Anton is committed to riding Rainbow Bridge, but if he chooses to go that way, it won’t prevent us from running and nor will the draw, because the July draws come out after final acceptances so there is no chance to pull out if we get a poor draw..”

Mike said that he believes runners improve at Greyville after they’ve seen the track once, and that it will be such for Hawwaam, who has now won six times from seven starts, including 3 Gr1’s and, R5,6-million in stakes.

Mike concluded: “As always my thanks go to Sheikh Hamdan and Angus Gold. Sheikh Hamdan has been a patient man with our export problems. He is the world’s biggest owner, a great asset to South African racing. We are privileged to be training his horses!”

Photos by Chase Liebenberg.