The highly anticipated return clash of the PE-based Gauteng Guineas winner National Park and boom Mike de Kock colt Hawwaam failed to materialise when the latter stormed to a runaway victory in the R2 million Gr1 SA Classic at Turffontein on Saturday.
Always highly regarded after winning his first three races on the trot, and then running on too late when outgunned by National Park in the Gauteng Guineas last time, Hawwaam came back firing on all cylinders on Saturday with a victory that had pure class written all over it.
With Richard Fourie implementing a brave new tactical approach by dropping National Park out to track Hawwaam early, it was the longshot Approach Control who ensured a decent gallop from Alyaasaat and Roll Of Drums, with Zillzaal and Barahin further back.
With Approach Control coming up for air at the 400m, Hawwaam and National Park launched a pincer type move – both powering home from either side of the track.
At the 200m it was race over though as National Park appeared to falter and Hawwaam in full flight.
The dashing son of Silvano kept on strongly to put 5,75 lengths between himself and stablemate Barahin who cruised past National Park to bank second. The winner’s time was 109.35 secs.
The PE raider looked dangerous momentarily but was well beaten by 7,25 lengths and his brilliance may not extend beyond the mile – and he has had a tough campaign, punctuated by plenty of time on the road between his home base and Johannesburg.
Sean Tarry’s Zillwaal will be a lot more effective in the Derby and ran11,25 lengths back in fourth.
The rest were merely making up the numbers.
Winning jockey Gavin Lerena (pictured above) complimented the De Kock team and said that Hawwaam’s tendency to pull hard meant it was a lot of hard work that went in to working him out.
Mathew de Kock deputised for his Dad who is in Dubai in advance of Super Saturday.
“It’s a massive team effort and I don’t want to mention names and leave anybody out. But Bomber Nel helped us with the bit, which made a big difference. Now it’s up to my Dad and Angus Gold as regards Hawwaam’s future programme. He is another sale selection for Jehan Malherbe and my Dad – Hawwaam is our third Gr1 winning colt this season!” added the young assistant trainer proudly.
Hawwaam has now grossed R1 978 125 with his 4th win and 1 place from 5 starts. He also banked the R154 000 BSA Added Value Stakes incentive.
A R1 million National Yearling Sale graduate, the half-brother to Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge was bred by Mauritzfontein & Wilgerbosdrift, and is a son of multiple champion Silvano (Lomitas) out of the seven-time winner, Halfway To Heaven (Jet Master).
The latter must be favourite for SA Broodmare of the Year at this stage of the game.
With minimal opposition on the horizon, Hawwaam looks likely to return for the 2450 SA Derby at the end of this month.
Gr1 SA Classic (SAf-Gr1)
Turffontein, South Africa, March 2, R2 million, 1800m, turf, good, 1.49.35
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 – Barahin (SAF), 60.0, b c 3, Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) – Mocha Special (SAF) by Silvano (GER)
3 – National Park (SAF), 60.0, b g 3, Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) – Fancy Park (SAF) by Camden Park (USA)
Margins: 5.75, 1.50, 4.00