This Saturday’s Grade 1 Daily News 2000 final field is compact compared to previous years but the eight-runner field is packed with class. The hot ruling favourite is the Mike De Kock trained Hawwaam. Anton Marcus jumps aboard once again after having partnered him to his impressive victory in the Grade 1 Champions Challenge when trouncing his rivals by over four lengths. Hawwaam is currently rated 121 and one off the best three-year-olds around.
De Kock also saddles Atyaab, winner of the Grade 1 Cape Derby, who could be a likely pacemaker.
The race is not cut and dried even though Hawwaam has a huge reputation. The KRA Guineas winner Twist Of Fate is no slouch and has run some cracking races against strong opposition in Cape Town.
S’Manga Khumalo has an excellent strike rate of late when riding for Joey Ramsden and will have his supporters.
Another interesting runner is Charles from the Brett Crawford yard who currently sits nineteenth on the Vodacom Durban July log. This son of Trippi, who cost a whopping 6 million rand as a yearling, ran a cracking effort behind Atyaab in the Cape Derby. He is extremely well bred and cannot be discounted. One must also take into account that the stable he comes from have a solid record of performing well in big races in KwaZulu-Natal having won the race with Jackson in 2012.
The Sean Tarry yard have been in top form recently winning three Grade 1’s on Tsogo Sun Sprint day last Saturday at Scottsville. Tarry saddles Zillzaal who is surprisingly only a one-time winner but is not short of talent although he has twice been beaten by Hawwaam.
Top KZN trainer Duncan Howells has Thanksgiving who is a son of Dynasty out of an Al Mufti mare. It’s no secret what the stable think of him and he could be in the firing line with inform jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe aboard.
Justin Snaith has Bunker Hunt in the race who is another by Dynasty. He put in a decent effort in the KRA Guineas and could be an unknown quantity.
Capoeira, from the Andre Nel yard, comes into this race with a rating of 81 and on paper looks to have a tough task ahead. The stable clearly rate him judging by the fact they supplemented him for the race and Gavin Lerena jumps aboard.
Supporting features are the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 where some of the country’s best three-year-old fillies go head to head and also the Grade 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup over 2400m.
By Devonne Govender