Dual Grade 1 winner Hawwaam has drawn two for Saturday’s Grade 1 Daily News 2000 at Greyville which has eight acceptors in all including the Andre Nel-trained supplementary entry Capoeira.
Twelve runners will face the starter in the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 including dual Grade 1 winner Return Flight, Grade 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas winner Front And Centre and Grade 2 KRA Fillies Guineas winner Santa Clara.
Hawwaam’s stablemate Soqrat will not be running in the Daily News 2000 and this was likely due to him landing a good draw of five in the weight for age Grade 1 Rising Gold Challenge, which attracted a star studded field of 12.
Mike de Kock has kept Anton Marcus aboard Hawwaam for the Daily News.
Marcus replaced Gavin Lerena for the Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge over 2000m at Turffontein as the latter is retained by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Studs and had to ride Cascapedia that day.
Marcus duly brought him home and Lerena, who was aboard when Hawwaam won the Grade 1 SA Classic, has had to settle for Capoiera, who is merit rated thirty points lower than 121 merit rated Hawwaam.
Hawwaam is going to have his toughest task to date as he is up against the 117 merit rated Twist Of Fate, who comes off a fine win in the Grade 2 KRA Guineas, where the widely drawn three-times Grade 1-winning miler Soqrat could only manage fourth.
Twist Of Fate, trained by Joey Ramsden and drawn five, finished second to Soqrat in the Grade 1 Cape Guineas but perhaps his most eyecatching trial for Saturday’s race was in the Grade 3 Politician Stakes over 1800m at Kenilworth where he gave away lumps of weight and won easily.
Hawwaam has had a tendency to over race, although in his last two starts he settled well. However, if he doesn’t settle well on Saturday Twist Of Fate will be a serious danger.
The 112 merit rated Bunker Hunt has always been well regarded by the Justin Snaith yard and this big horse caught the eye in no uncertain terms when staying on strongly for third in the KRA Guineas. He is drawn in three and this trip will be ideal. Like most Dynastys he is already showing a liking for the tight Greyville track.
The Sean Tarry-trained Zillzaal, merit rated 105, stayed on resolutely for second in the Grade 1 SA Derby over 2450m, but on Champions Challenge form over this trip he has 6,1 lengths to make up on Hawwaam. However, he is a progressive sort and at this time of the year three-year-olds who have been just off the best on the Highveld have been known to transform when running down at the coast, with an example being the Tarry-trained Matador Man.
The local hopes rest with the Duncan Howells-trained Thanksgiving, who has drawn widest of all. He stayed on well for fifth in the KRA Guineas and earlier finished a 3,40 length second to Hawwaam in the Dingaans over 1600m. His Cape Derby run over this trip can be ignored as he pulled up lame behind. He has always struck as one who is looking for this trip and being by Dynasty he not surprisingly enjoys Greyville.
Atyaab won a below par renewal of the Grade 1 Cape Derby, although among the defeated were the neck runner up Charles and the 2,65 length fourth-placed Bunker Hunt.
Bunker Hunt has clearly improved since then. Atyaab has since been beaten 17,55 lengths in the SA Classic by Atyaab, where Zillzaal was beaten 11,25 length, and Atyaab was then fourth in the SA Derby, 0.70 lengths behind Zillzaal.
Charles needed the run in the KRA Guineas when forced wide at the top of the straight from a handy position and not finding much. This expensive Trippi colt was wearing second time blinkers there and is progressive so could earn on Saturday.
Capoeira has only had five runs and showed improvement last time when a narrow second to Our Coys over 1750m at Scottsville in a Progress Plate. However, he will need to make dramatic further improvement to be a factor here.
By David Thiselton