Matthew de Kock said the question of Hawwaam running in the Vodacom Durban July would be clearer after his participation in Saturday’s Grade 1 Daily News 2000.
The classy Silvano colt is the ante-post 33/10 favourite for the July with Track And Ball and is 33/100 for the Daily News.
Matthew said there was no longer any reason to be concerned about Hawwaam over-racing, as he had done in both the Grade 3 Tony Ruffel Stakes over 1400m and in the Grade 2 Gauteng Guineas. The latter race was his only defeat, although he did still run on well albeit from too far back.
The fitting of a customised bit coupled with a decent pace helped him settle in the Grade 1 SA Classic over 1800m, which he won impressively.
Anton Marcus’s taking him up handy in the Champions Challenge also helped, although he was a little bit strong before finding the box seat. He was arguably even more impressive in that race.
Hawwaam will have the best of both worlds on Saturday as he not only has a good draw of two but stable companion Atyaab has been put in the race in “to ensure a good pace.”
Hawwaam’s chief weapon is his tremendous turn of foot and this should make him suited to the tight Greyville circuit, as most progeny of Silvano are.
The only question mark will be the strength of the Johannesburg form versus the strength of the Cape Town form.
The Cape Town form is best represented by the Joey Ramsden-trained Twist Of Fate.
This Master Of My Fate colt cost just R20,000, but has proven himself top class.
He was defeated just 1,25 lengths by Hawwaam’s stablemate Soqrat in the Cape Guineas.
Mike de Kock clearly rates the three-times Grade 1-winning miler Soqrat highly but has never spoken about him in quite the same terms as he has Hawwaam.
Twist Of Fate did gain revenge on Soqrat in the Grade 2 KRA Guineas, by 2,40 lengths, but the latter was undone by a wide draw in that race.
However, the performance which Hawwaam’s connections have most to fear could well be Twist Of Fate’s demolition job in the Grade 3 Politician Stakes over 1800m at Kenilworth.
The unprepossessing colt over raced for most of the back straight that day after finding himself in front and then trapped one wide. Usually that would spell the end of a horse’s chances, especially one who is carrying 61kg and giving lumps of weight away to the entire field. Instead, he won going away by 2,25 lengths.
He must have some engine in him and is going to provide Hawwaam with a tough test.
There are some progressive sorts among the rest, such as Bunker Hunt, Charles and Thanksgiving.
It is a race for the purists to look forward to.
Matthew said Atyaab might not take his place in the July after playing his role here and might instead be given a staying race campaign.
the yard run the new recruit Blossom in the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000. She was previously trained by the recently retired legend Ormond Ferraris.
Matthew said, “She has been doing well. She took some time to settle in but has turned the corner. She is a nice filly and moves well.”
He believed her habit of coming from well off the pace, as she had done in all three legs of the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara, had more to with wide draws than running style. She has a another tricky draw of eight on Saturday.
Matthew was not sure how she would handle Greyville as the yard have not been working with her for long.
However, she is by Silvano, so should enjoy the track.
Blossom’s mother Cherry On The Top failed as favourite in this race but she had been coming off her tiring Triple Tiara success and was not herself that day.
The yard run Noble Secret in the Grade 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup over 2400m, where he carries top weight of 60kg.
Matthew said, “His form over staying distances has been very good and he has won a couple of them with top weight.”
Asked on whether the tight Greyville track would pose any problems for the strapping galloper, he replied, “Not at all.”
The connections would give serious consideration to running him in the July if a win here qualifies him.
The yard’s only other runner on the day is Protea Paradise, who looks unlikely to get into the July. Matthew believes he will not stay much further than 2000m either. However, he said he would be competitive in Saturday’s eighth race, a MR 88 handicap over 1700m, despite being widely drawn and having to carry topweight.
The horses will travel to Summerveld tomorrow (Friday).