DAILY NEWS 2000
It sent shivers down one’s spine, the manner in which the three-year-old Silvano colt Hawwaam ran out a top-class winner of the R2-million Grade 1 Daily News 2000 at Greyville in Durban on Saturday.
There was no flashy battle with opposition just a serious, workmanlike thrashing of some of the best three-year-olds in the country. Pilot Anton Marcus merely used his whip with flick action down the beautiful colt’s neck and shoulders, just keeping his mind on the job and his path to victory straight and true.
Trainer Mike de Kock remarked that his charge had finally faced a proper test and had come through with flying colours even though, with the attention of Joey Ramsden’s Master Of My Fate colt Twist Of Fate looming in his wake, Hawwaam had to dig down.
The race time of 123.30 secs for the 2 000m trip was far from impressive being slower than the class average of 122.72 secs and the course record of 119.6 secs set by London News back in 1996, but it was the authority with which the Vodacom Durban July favourite went about his business. After throwing his head up at the start which put paid to the original plan of going to the front, “mister cool” Marcus settled him neatly into third place behind pacemaker Zillzaal and Twist Of Fate.
The action settled into a steady pace with little change in the order until they approached the final turn when Marcus eased Hawwaam up alongside Zillzaal and into the lead with Twist Of Fate in tow as they headed for the judge. S’Manga Khumalo urged his mount as best he could to make a strong challenge but it soon appeared that the dice had been thrown and second place was the best he was going to manage.
Marcus said in the post-race interview that the win was impressive as he knew the second horse well and while he knew he was on the best horse in the race, there was never a “gimme” in racing.
De Kock said he was very keen to run Hawwaam in the Vodacom Durban July but it would be up to his patron, owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, who he said was probably the biggest racehorse owner in the world, what the colt’s racing programme would be. He praised the Sheikh for his incredible support of South African racing.
In the R1-million, Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 for fillies, the Justin Snaith-trained Silvano filly Silvano’s Pride led from the start under a confident ride by Richard Fourie and although racing wide down the outside of the field in the home straight and shifting towards the centre, she held off the challenge from Brett Crawford’s Dynasty filly Front And Centre to score an impressive win.
Snaith said he was thrilled with the win for owner Anthony Peter who also bred the filly and particularly as the filly never got a bid at the sales.
In the Grade 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup, the Sean Tarry stable that won three of the Grade 1 races at Scottsville the week before, caused an upset when the six-year-old Dynasty gelding Leige, whose form for some while had far from inspired confidence in punters, popped out of the field in the home straight to win as he liked helping to ensure that there would be a good dividend in the exotic bets.
Journalist: Richard McMillan