“THE best thing about Hawwaam is that he has a desire to win, he overcomes adversity in a race,” said a well pleased Mike de Kock after the running of the Gr1 Daily News 2000 at Greyville on Saturday.
Perhaps Hawwaam’s 1,60-length win didn’t quite satisfy his supporters, who’d be arguing that he, as a touted superstar at 1-3, should have won by a distance. His time of 122,30s was average for the race, 4s outside the course record and 1s slower than the time posted by Woolavington winner Silvano’s Pride.
But De Kock put things into perspective and said: “The time wasn’t too bad considering the way the jockeys slowed down the pace and it showed that Hawwaam could adapt in the race and win anyway.”
De Kock said that the plan was to lead: “Our plan all along was for Hawwaam to lead but he stood at the stalls and had to make up ground. Anton Marcus rode a calculated race. If he’d rushed up to lead, who knows, it may have cost us. Instead, he allowed Hawwaam to settle and he gradually found his way into the lead when S’manga Khumalo eased back on Twist Of Fate.
“The race developed into a contest down the straight and I am very happy that Hawwaam won well, he was only ridden hands and heels and he beat a top horse. I think Twist Of Fate is the second-best three-year-old in the country.”
Marcus said that, in a few months’ time, “the world will be Hawwaam’s oyster”, and one wonders if the veteran jockey thinks it will be as such a month from now, on Vodacom Durban July Day. With De Kock keen to run Hawwaam in SA’s flagship race, Marcus faces what can only be a monumental decision having to choose between Hawwaam and his year-older half-brother Rainbow Bridge.
“I don’t think Anton is committed to riding Rainbow Bridge, but if he chooses to go that way, it won’t prevent us from running and nor will the draw, because the July draws come out after final acceptances so there is no chance to pull out if we get a poor draw. I will recommend to Sheikh Hamdan and Angus Gold that we take our chances, we have a top horse and we’ll have a chance.”
Asked if Hawwaam will improve going into the July De Kock said: “Yes, my horses always improve, but more importantly I believe that runners often improve at Greyville after they’ve seen the track once, so that’s in his favour too.”
With six wins from seven starts, including 3 Gr1’s, and R5,6-million and change in the bank, there is not much left prove, but Hawwaam does seem to have a depth of natural ability and we’d all like to see how much more he can muster. Chances are the vault is full of riches, and plenty of gold remains inside.
Raised at Wilgerbosdrift, Hawwaam is a son of Silvano and Halfway To Heaven, by Jet Master.
Photo: Candiese Marnewick.