Vodacom Durban July – Cape Flats Joy!

One of the great moments in 125 year history

This was truly one for the people! Passionate racing supporters across the Cape Flats and the rest of South Africa celebrated a glorious victory in South Africa’s greatest race at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday afternoon when bargain buy Kommetdieding soared to a glorious victory in the 125th renewal of the R2 million Gr1 Vodacom Durban July.

While it hardly matters in the greater scheme of a dream sporting moment for anybody involved in the great game, owner Ashwin Reynolds, who reportedly turned down tempting telephone number offers early on, became the first person of colour to own a Durban July winner and Kommetdieding is also seemingly the first horse with an Afrikaans name on the illustrious roll of honour.

Gavin Lerena steers Kommetdieding to victory over Linebacker (Grant van Niekerk) and Got The Greenlight (Muzi Yeni) in a thrilling finish (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

But the emotions aside, what a terrific story of firsts for a horse that cost a mere R55 000 on the 2019 Klawervlei Farm Sale!

A winner of his first four starts, before being half put in his place with two feature places at his subsequent first two starts in the SA Champions Season pressure cooker, Kommetdieding showed he is a really special customer when winning from the widest gate on Saturday.

A first Vodacom Durban July runner for the youthful Michelle Rix and her veteran former jockey Dad, Harold, winning jockey Gavin Lerena put weeks of dietary challenges behind him as he chased the 53kg scale target to set the final stages in motion of a beautifully conceived plan come together.

Gavin Lerena relaxed Kommetdieding early and into the straight went for an outside path as Sovereign Spirit lugged out on to him.

At the 200m Kommetdieding was in full flight and he went on smartly at 10-1 to beat the gallant 3yo Linebacker (3-1) by half a length in a time of 133,71 secs.

Watch the replay here:

The favourite Got The Greenlight (5-2) ran a terrific race a neck away in third, with dual past winner Do It Again (7-1) a length away in fourth.

Winning rider Gavin Lerena paid tribute to owner Ashwin Reynolds and to his own family for ‘always having my back’.

“I made a forward move at the 800m and he simply grew under me,” added a breathless Lerena.

Trainer Michelle Rix thanked ‘an owner in a million’ and said she was honoured to enjoy a legend of Cape racing in her Dad Harold being there to share and enjoy the precious moment.

She thanked all the professional support behind the victory, including Billy Jacobson who rode all the work.

Cape racing legend Harold Crawford and his daughter Michelle Rix lead the winner in (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

And let’s spare a thought for journeyman regular jockey Sihle Cele.

The top-class Gavin Lerena was called up to replace him after two SA Champions Season feature places. Cele chose to retain a dignified silence in the public domain and he no doubt experienced massively mixed emotions on Saturday.

A son of the superb treble Gr1 winner Elusive Fort (Fort Wood), the Klawervlei-bred Kommetdieding is out of the thrice winning Captain Al mare, Adorable.

He has now won 5 races with 2 places from 7 starts for stakes of R1 676 000.

As passionate racing fan Michael Jacobs posted a few times in the build-up week on the Sporting Post website:

Dus ‘n Cape Flats Ding

‘n lekker lekker Cape Flats ding

En ons kannie warrie nie

Want ons gaan wen


Post mortems on some of the disappointments later.

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