Still undefeated, but he knows he was in a scrap.
After winning his first two starts with authority, Mike de Kock’s exciting Silvano colt Hawwaam was called on for the first time to show some fight when winning Sunday’s R250 000 Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes.
A popular odds-on favourite and everybody’s Pick 6 and Jackpot banker, Dingaans winner Hawwaam completed a Gr3 feature double on the day for Mike de Kock and Gavin Lerena, but it wasn’t walk in the park stuff, as most of us anticipated for L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate third-placer Rainbow Bridge’s half-brother.
KZN raider Stream Ahead under Warren Kennedy was four lengths clear as they turned for home in the 1400m contest.
After racing awkwardly and not settling early on, Hawwaam was some ten lengths off the chasing group led by Inexhaustible and Rocky Night.
Paul Peter’s longshot Inexhaustible took it up at the 300m, with Hawwaam appearing to be swooping for the kill and under no pressure.
This is when Gavin Lerena’s body language told a different story as Inexhaustible wasn’t coming back to him and the pressure was suddenly on.
After being reminded of his task, Hawwaam found his stride and he got there by a neck in a time of 85,49 secs – slower than the fillies a half hour earlier.
Vontreo finished strongly for third while the filly Celtic Sea became slightly one-paced late and finished fourth.
It was not the way a 1-4 is expected to beat a 44-1 but the experience should stand Hawwaam in good stead as he goes into the Highveld season with big things expected.
Unbeaten in three starts, Hawwaam has now grossed R528 125 and looks well on his way to recouping his R1 million National Yearling Sale price tag.
Bred by Mauritzfontein & Wilgerbosdrift, he is a son of multiple champion Silvano (Lomitas) out of the seven-time winner, Halfway To Heaven (Jet Master).
Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes (SAf-Gr3)
Turffontein, South Africa, January 6, R250k, 1400m, turf, good, 1.25.49
1 – HAWWAAM (SAF), 60.0, b c 3, Silvano (GER) – Halfway To Heaven (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF). Owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum; Breeder Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein; trainer MF de Kock; jockey G Lerena
2 – Inexhaustible (SAF), 58.0, b c 3, Querari (GER) – La Garita (SAF) by Lateral (GB)
3 – Vontreo (SAF), 58.0, b g 3, Mambo In Seattle (USA) – Captain’s Lullaby (SAF) by Captain Al (SAF)
Margins: 0.20, 0.50, 0.70