Skip to main content

Mike Moon (The Citizen)

‘Kommet’s prep has gone really well’, said Rix.

Picture: Michelle Rix

At 8.15am on Thursday, trainer Michelle Rix declared, “My work is done. Now it’s all in Gavin’s hands.”

Her star Kommetdieding had just completed a final preparation gallop at the Randjesfontein training centre ahead of his run in the HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes on Saturday. Gavin is, of course, Gavin Lerena, the Durban July-Met champ’s big-race jockey, who’ll be back on board as the Cape-based colt makes his Highveld debut.

“Kommet’s prep has gone really well,” said Rix. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he came close to winning.”

That might sound a tad cautious about the chances of the 11-10 favourite for the 1600m Grade 1 race, but perhaps Kommetdieding’s multitude of fans around the country should bear in mind that visiting upcountry isn’t a piece of cake for coastal-based horses, and that 1600m might be sharp for the fellow these days.

Rix described the Horse Chestnut as “an open race”, with Mike de Kock’s runner Al Muthana an obvious danger, along with Sean Tarry’s seasoned campaigner Chimichuri Run.

Rix revealed that Kommetdieding being a colt – with increased red blood cell counts – counts in his favour in adapting to Joburg’s high altitude. She also said his blood count tests had been “spot on” ahead of the Horse Chestnut.

The four-year-old son of Elusive Fort journeyed from his home in Cape Town to Randjesfontein four weeks ago, to help him adapt to the new environment. Lerena’s advice was sought on suitable lodgings and the ace rider suggested trainer Roy Magner’s yard as the closest approximate to the stables of Rix and her father Harold Crawford’s set-up at Milnerton.

“We’ve had a wonderful reception here,” said Rix on Thursday. “Roy welcomed us with open arms and we’ve felt very much at home.”

Saturday’s race is essentially a prep run for the Premier’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein on 30 April – another Grade 1, but over 2000m, which is more in the colt’s comfort zone.

Depending on how he comes through the two Highveld races, Kommetdieding might stay on at Randjes, raiding from there to KwaZulu-Natal in the winter season, Rix disclosed.

Thus far, he shows no signs of feeling homesick.

“He’s a real gentleman; even-tempered and super-kind, which is unusual in a colt,” said the trainer. “But when he goes to the races, he knows he has a job to do and gets very serious – in athlete mode.”

Main Picture: Kommetdieding before his final blow out this morning (Friday) (Troy Finch).