Hawwaam at short odds

PUBLISHED: 19 December 2019

Hawwaam (JC Photographics)

Hawwaam looks like starting one of the shortest priced favourites for Saturday’s Premier Trophy since subsequent Met winner Angus came home in front at 4-10 in 2003 – and he might even go off shorter than that. The latest Mike de Kock star is quoted at 1-3 with some bookmakers and Matthew de Kock reported yesterday that all went smoothly with the four-year-old’s introduction to the left-handed Kenilworth course.

The triple Group 1 winner worked over 1 200m with a companion and took to it “100 per cent.” De Kock jnr added: “This (the Premier) wasn’t part of our plans but, considering the hand we have been dealt, things have gone well so far.”

Hawwaam (JC Photographics)
Hawwaam (JC Photographics)

Rider Anton Marcus won this race on Pick Six for Charles Laird in 2007 and the ex-Joey Ramsden-trained Twist Of Fate has his first run for Marcus’s in-form nephew Adam. Craig Zackey’s mount is 8-1 third favourite with the Glen Kotzen-trained Eyes Wide Open (Morne Winnaar) a fraction shorter at 15-2.

Cape Classic winner Silver Operator (Vaughan Marshall-Anton Marcus) is as short as 28-10 for the Cape Guineas despite being drawn 14. African Warrior and Justin Snaith’s Concorde runner-up Sachdev are next on 13-2, Snaith’s Cape Classic second Captain Tatters on 15-2 with Eden Roc heading the Sean Tarry four on 10-1. A little surprisingly the Brett Crawford-trained King Of Gems, who beat Sachdev a neck in the Concorde, is as big as 16-1.

Ready To Win

Want to win the CTS Ready To Run and its big stake? Maybe you should ask the sales boss for advice on which horses to buy.  Wehann Smith backs his firm’s sale with his own money and his record is truly remarkable.

In addition to being part-owner of last Saturday’s winner Pure State, he also had a significant stake in the 2016 winner Safe Harbour and a share in Majestic Mozart who was second last year.

“I buy a few out of this sale every year,” he says, “and after the 2018 sale I went to Chris van Niekerk and asked him if I could buy a leg in Pure State. I own 25%.”

A False Start

Some punters have questioned the wisdom of calling a false start when a horse begins to rear as the starter presses the button, as happened in race two at Kenilworth last Saturday. A couple of the other horses were upset about being asked to load a second time and the eventual start – at least ten minutes after the first one – was a lot more ragged than the original one. The aggrieved punters maintained that it was a clear case of the transgressor benefitting and the innocent suffering – and that those who had their money on well-behaved horses lost out through no fault of theirs or of the horses they backed.

Senior stipendiary steward Ernie Rodrigues said: “There are no specific guidelines on this except the aim is that every horse should get a fair start. The decision lies with the starter and he has only a split second to decide whether or not to call a false start.

“Basically it’s a no-win situation and in some overseas countries the practice is to let them go (in similar situations) because they take the view that, if a horse’s bad behaviour was responsible for him being slowly away, he should not benefit.”

Perhaps consideration should be given to adopting this practice in South Africa.

By Michael Clower