Jack Milner: After Hawwaam romped home by 5.75 lengths to win the Grade 1 SA Classic, trainer Mike de Kock expressed the view that running the son of Silvano in the R2-million SA Derby would have no benefit for his charge.
After all, he did not win the Gauteng Guineas and was not in line to capture the SA Triple Crown and the R2-million that accompanies it. However, after discussions with Sheikh Hamdan’s racing manager Angus Gold, the gameplan changed.
“We changed our plans with Hawwaam because our original Derby contender, Barahin, has a minor muscle strain and will miss the Derby as a result. Barahin is to be aimed at the KZN Champions Season. We have the Daily News and the July in mind for him, he could come into the July quite well handicapped,” explained De Kock.
If one analyses De Kock’s comment, he was spot on. Hawwaam comes into the race as by far the best handicapped runner. Had this been a handicap he would have had to give 7.5kg to second-rated Zillzaal and 21.5kg to the bottom-rated Last Of A Legend and Zanaki. He is weighted a racing certainty and a win is expected.
If he wins the race it will do little to enhance his status, but if something goes wrong it could certainly damage his standing.
However, while there is no such thing as a racing certainty, Hawwaam is about as close as you will ever get. Mathew de Kock confirmed the son of Silvano is doing very well at home. “We’re happy with everything and we don’t see a problem with the distance. Once again he has drawn badly which is a bit irritating, but there’s nothing you can do.”
Asked about the pace, De Kock said: “We don’t care about the pace. If they want to test him and set a fast pace, let them do it. If they go slowly, that will also suit us.”
Zillzaal finished 11.25 lengths behind Hawwaam in the SA Classic and although Sean Tarry’s charge will prefer this sort of distance it would be a shock to see him reverse the form. However, it will equally be a surprise should he finish out of the places.
Atyaab won the Cape Derby but it was not the strongest field ever put together but assistant trainer Mathew de Kock believes the Australian-bred colt will run into the places. “If Hawwaam wasn’t in the race, I would be pretty bullish about his chances. He’s an out-and-out stayer, he’s come through his prep well and the two could make a nice Swinger.”
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