MEMBERS of Twitter’s peanut gallery have described this year’s Gr1 Daily News 2000 as “the weakest ever”, mainly because of the size of the field. Perhaps they didn’t notice that six of the seven three-year-olds are rated between 104 and 121. Even with the 81-rated Capoeira included, the average rating of the field is MR105.

It’s a great race, one that has produced eight stallions from among its last 15 winners, seven Equus Horses Of The Year and (so far) four accomplished international Group winners.

There is strong talk from opposing stables, but the name most likely to be added to the honour roll above is rising star Hawwaam, who has arrived safely in Durban and has reportedly enjoyed a good prep.

Mathew de Kock told Gold Circle that there was no longer any reason to be concerned about Hawwaam over-racing. 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 tremendous turn of foot should make him suited to the track.

We’re in one camp.

Photo: Chase Liebenberg.

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