Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge’s undefeated half-brother Hawwaam takes his first step to SA Triple Crown glory at Turffontein today as he takes on fourteen rivals in the R1 million Gr2 Gauteng Guineas.
The SA Triple Crown offers stardom and a R2-million bonus for any horse who can win the Guineas, SA Classic and SA Derby in the same season.
Fresh off his great Gr1 Cape Derby surprise in the same Sheikh Hamdan silks with Atyaab at Kenilworth on Met day, Mike de Kock comes to the party with a four-pronged attack, headed by Hawwaam.
Hawwaam is unbeaten in three starts with his most spectacular win coming in the Gr2 Dingaans over this course and distance. It was only his second start, and the son of Silvano, from a bad draw and coming from last, ripped through his field to win going away by over 3 lengths. The Tony Ruffel Stakes was run over 1 400m – a distance on the sharp side for him – but he displayed class to get up and beat longshot Inexhaustible.
While the PE raider National Park is the obvious threat, De Kock stablemates Alyaasaat and Barahin are no slouches. Met winner Anton Marcus has been engaged to ride the Gr2 Golden Horseshoe winner Barahin which hints at some confidence seen that the colt has been rested 30 weeks and has his first start as a 3yo.
Alyaasaat gave National Park 2kgs in the Graham Beck Stakes but was royally trumped by close on 9 lengths by the PE star. His run to older horses in the Joburg Spring Challenge suggests that this Dawn Approach colt be given another chance.
De Kock also has Arlington’s Revenge in the field. The son of The Apache has improved nicely with 3 wins from 6 starts but now takes on the big guns.
Yvette Bremner’s cracking Graham Beck Stakes winner and SP top-rated National Park is back for more from the 1 draw – and with a new jockey in the shape of Cape ace, Richard Fourie. While well beaten by Hawwaam in the course and distance Dingaans, National Park showed his well-being with a nice win against senior hardknocking handicappers at home three weeks ago.
Sean Tarry has three runners in the field in Against the Grain, Vontreo and Zillzaal.
Against The Grain has decent consistent form but now takes a step up.
Vontreo has drawn wide and received 2kgs and a 0,70 length beating by Hawwaam in the Tony Ruffel Stakes.
The best of the trio could be Lyle Hewitson’s mount, the lightly raced Zillzaal, who produced a fair post-maiden effort for third behind last season’s SA Derby winner Hero’s Honour. He is unexposed but highly regarded and is something of an unknown quantity.
Of the balance, the Chesney van Zyl duo of Marchingontogether and Stream Ahead would have place chances at best. Poorly drawn, Marchingontogether looks held by Chijmes, while Stream Ahead was well beaten by Hawwaam in the Tony Ruffel Stakes – but will be more at home over the extra.
The Listed Sea Cottage Stakes winner Chijmes gave apprentice Denis Schwarz his first feature success there and is a very decent front-runner, who holds Green Haze.
Candice Dawson’s Approach Control and Geoff Woodruff’s Owlinthetree are both recent maiden winners with scope to improve.
It comes down to a shootout between the visitor National Park and the exciting Hawwaam, But the race doesn’t end there with chances to Alyaasaat, Barahin (depending on fitness) and Zillzaal.