Horse Race Picture: ISTOCK
Horse Race Picture: ISTOCK

Trainer Mike de Kock and Angus Gold, racing manager for Sheikh Hamdan, have put their heads together to make important decisions in the past — now they face another in determining the future of star three-year-old Hawwaam. 

After the colt’s decisive victory in Saturday’s SA Classic at Turffontein, De Kock is in no doubt about Hawwaam’s ability. Commenting on the stable website, he said: “We have a horse here who is good enough to race against the best.

“Unfortunately, the industry is being held back by quarantine protocols. It is being held back by politics, not science. It is politics which is preventing SA — with our massive racing industry — to bring the world our thoroughbreds.”

It appears the EU is again dragging its feet on the protocol issue despite SA doing everything possible to meet their every demand.

According to Turftalk, De Kock and Gold have decided to bypass the SA Derby — the third leg of the Triple Crown — and the Vodacom Durban July for which the colt was generally a 5-1 chance. His mission during the KwaZulu-Natal season would be the Daily News 2000 and possibly the Champions Cup.

That takes us to the end of the season — where to then? There are two possibilities: Hong Kong and the UK.

De Kock knows all about winning races in the former British colony and it is exactly five years ago that he saddled owner Markus Jooste’s star performer Variety Club to win the HK$20m Hong Kong Mile.

Sha-Tin racecourse hosts big international events every April and December so De Kock and Gold have to decide whether to send the colt on the arduous journey to get there or not.

The UK is another possible destination, but involves the same problems getting there. With De Kock saying his charge is good enough to take on the best, a race like the Juddmonte International at York could be in their thinking.

Gavin Lerena, who partnered Hawwaam to victory last Saturday, will sport the same colours in Tuesday’s third race at the Vaal when the De Kock stable introduces the Captain Al colt Ehsaan.

While the market will be the best guide to the juvenile’s chance, the runner with form is Joe Soma’s colt Got The Greenlight, with the youngster finishing second on his debut here in February.

Punters look to have a certain banker in the pick 6 and jackpot in Celtic Sea, who should win the fifth race with a minimum of fuss. The form of Sean Tarry’s three-year-old is head and shoulders above any of her five rivals.

Another Tarry inmate, Forest Express, will also be at cramped odds in the seventh race, though the four-year-old will have to overcome a 19-week absence from the track.

In the circumstances it might prove wise to include Africa’s Gold in permutations as Jurgen van Heerden’s runner has fitness on his side despite not being well-treated by the conditions of the race.

Tarry’s three-year-old Hareer is likely to start favourite for the ninth race but it might pay to take on the market leader with Michael and Adam Azzie’s three-year-old Fife.

A well-bred daughter of Silvano, Fife caught the eye when finishing a close-up fifth behind stablemate Mistressofmyfate on her recent debut.


1st Race: No Selection

2nd Race: (1) Mighty Rock (9) Plum Field (3) Wild Fire (2) The Litigator

3rd Race: (7) Got The Greenlight (5) Ehsaan (3) Creation (2) Baby Lets Mambo

4th Race: (1) Hartleyfive (2) It Takes Two (3) Captains Love (4) Catch A Glimpse

5th Race: (2) Celtic Sea (1) Benji (3) Victor Forth (4) At Hand

6th Race: (6) Battle Creek (2) Smoke (8) Prince Jordan (9) Snow In Seattle

7th Race: (1) Forest Express (3) Africa’s Gold (2) Woodland Forest (5) Ryder

8th Race: (7) Mattina (13) Curbstone Shuffle (3) Flowing Gown (5) Poormanslady

9th Race: (17) Fife (19) Hareer (1) Targaryen Queen (6) Take My Word