“I came off my chair, I got goose bumps,” Mike de Kock told Turf Talk from Melbourne, Australia, where he is attending the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale and watched Hawwaam win the Gr1 SA Classic at Turffontein from a TAB outlet in the Victoria capital.
“I don’t know what to say. It was spooky, actually. That was the Hawwaam I know and he’s a proper horse, even more so because I think the runner-up Barahin is top class, I know what I think of Barahin,” De Kock added.
Hawwaam’s immediate future is up for discussion between De Kock and the colt’s owner Sheikh Hamdan and he commented: “I’m not convinced we’ll go for the Derby. I have great respect for the Derby, it has a history of being won by some super horses, but I’m not sure it will do anything for his pedigree.
“I see Hawwaam running only once more, perhaps twice, this season. The Gr1 Daily News is a possibility and the Gr1 Champions Cup at the end of the season, winning any of the two will be good for his pedigree. The Durban July is not on the cards.
“I know what we’ve got in Hawwaam and I still scratch my head at his defeat in the Gauteng Guineas, a race we expected him to win.
“But sometimes blessings come in disguise. If Hawwaam had won the Guineas we would have been tempted to go for the Triple Crown and as said I have a feeling the Derby is the wrong race for him and won’t add value to his pedigree.
“I have to be very mindful of the fact that I’m dealing with a very valuable commodity. I have to think of everything in terms of his pedigree, his future value at stud. But we do have a lot to consider before we map things out.”
Mike thanked “Bomber” Nel, the bit expert, for his assistance in getting Hawwaam to deliver his best. “The way Hawwaam threw his head around after the Guineas was a bit rank, so I called in Bomber’s help, he’s an authority on bits and exports his equipment all over the world.
“Bomber and I spent a day together, it was fascinating to tap into his knowledge. He made an adjustment to Hawwaam’s bit and it’s the little things that make a big difference, as Hawwaam showed yesterday.”
Hawwaam, by Silvano from Halfway To Heaven, shows four wins from five starts and with yesterday’s R1,25-million winning cheque almost doubled his career earnings to R1,97-million.
Race replay below: