Mike de Kock has a high regard for his Vodacom Durban July favourite Hawwaam but said his general price of around 2/1 was ridiculous and was based purely on hype.
He added, “For anybody to even make a comparison to Horse Chestnut right now is completely ridiculous and out of order and not forgetting that I have had other good horses since (the like of Ipi Tombe, Vercingetorix, Igugu, Variety Club etc.). There are also two horses in the July field, Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge, who have achieved more than he has”.
However, he did agree that Hawwaam was still unexposed and nobody truly knew just how good he was yet.
He said, “I don’t think he knows how good he is himself. Nothing went right for him last time in the Daily News 2000 and he still won. Before that he won very well in a weight for age Grade 1 against older horses albeit against a field I thought was pretty ordinary.”
He continued, “This is the first time he will race in a big field.”
It is a top quality field too and there is sure to be some hustle and bustle out there.
De Kock said, “It is the first time he is going to have to get involved with so many horses and I think that is going to test his mettle.”
He continued, “He does like to win though and he is versatile, he has won from handy positions and coming from off the pace. He is volatile, but he is certainly not a mad horse at all. He is just a manly horse, he is a boytjie. He has never done anything stupid before. That time at the SA Derby meeting he reacted like that simply because he was alone in the ring. He just loves being around other horses. He has always been sociable and bonds quickly with any horse we stable next to him.”
De Kock has good regard for the Daily News 2000 runner up Twist Of Fate and reckoned the 2kg swing in the weights for a 1,60 length beating would put them closer.
De Kock also believes Hawwaam’s stablemate Barahin will finish close to Hawwaam.
He said, “I think Barahin is fitter than he has ever been and he has only been beaten two or three lengths by Hawwaam so at the weights he has got be right on top of him. Barahin has a completely different style of running, he relaxes well in the running and takes time to unwind and the further he goes the better he gets. I like Barahin over ten furlongs and further, so this trip will be right down his alley.”
De Kock was impressed with Barahin’s win in the Grade 3 Jubilee Handicap over 1800m at Turffontein last time.
He said, “He gave weight away and ran past older horses like they were looking for parking.”
Hawwaam is to be ridden by Anton Marcus from draw four and Barahin will be ridden by Muzi Yeni from draw six.
De Kock would have preferred a wider draw for Hawwaam, away from the hustle and bustle, but he added, “It is what it is, I’m certainly not complaining and would prefer this good draw to a bad one.”
De Kock runs the David Ferraris part-owned Soft Falling Rain colt Aqua Delta in the Grade 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m. He scratched Frosted Gold because of his wide draw and kept Aqua Delta after attaining a reasonable draw of ten.
He said, “He is unexposed and is a nice type, I like what I see. We will see how good he is against tougher company and if he does well he might be sent over to Hong Kong.”
He runs Soft Falling Rain filly Mawsool in the Grade 2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper over 1400m and said, “Again, she was the one who drew best of my entries. I’m not quite sure she is this league yet, but I’m running her to expose her.”
He runs The Dazzler in the Grade 3 Betting World 2200 and said, “He had a training gallop on Saturday thanks to Muzi not riding to instruction, they hacked around, the race was a joke. So we are running him again here. He is fit and well and will be competitive.”
By David Thiselton