Mike de Kock said Hawwaam was back to his “aggressive” self ahead of his bid to add a fourth Grade 1 to his CV in the Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes at Turffontein today, where he faces some tough opposition, including his stablemate and defending champion Soqrat.
De Kock has a third runner in the race too, the crack filly Queen Supreme.
All three of these horses disappointed to various degrees in their last starts down in Cape Town and De Kock said, “All of our horses ran flat races in their second or third starts this season in Cape Town.”
In Hawwaam and Soqrat’s cases they had to endure the calamitous 25-minute delay to the start of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
Hawwaam’s over-racing antics that day blunted the turn of foot he is famous for while Soqrat “fell apart” completely.
De Kock immediately sent Soqrat to the farm for a holiday and he is now a happy horse again and “doing very well.”
Hawwaam subsequently ran in the Sun Met and although still not quite the horse who had thrilled crowds in Johannesburg and Durban with his effortless change of gears, he still managed third place in a high class field.
Hawwaam has a perfect draw of five today and his fans will hope to see him settling in behind horses before slicing through the field like a hot knife through butter.
The four-year-old Silvano colt will be exported this year, but the connections do not know when, as any change to the export protocols is still forthcoming.
If they are forced to go the Mauritius route, Hawwaam will depart for the Cape Town quarantine station in June and thus miss the Vodacom Durban July.
However, if the EU inspection on African Horse Sickness containment does take place soon, and brings with it good news, then he might still take his place in the July.
Hawwaam is in fact a rig, a common condition in which one or more of the testicles fails to descend from the abdomen. The late great stallion A. P. Indy was a rig so there is still every chance Hawwaam can go on to convert his racing and pedigree class into stud success.
De Kock said Soqrat was a versatile type who could go handy or come from off the pace, so the draw of ten should not affect him too badly.
This horse is the ultimate professional, as he proved in this race last year when digging down deep to fend off Cirillo. His trusted partner for the whole of last season, Randall Simons, is aboard for the first time this season.
Queen Supreme had the plaudits rapturous when winning the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes over 1800m, but she subsequently ran a flat race in the Grade 1 Bidvest Majorca Stakes over 1600m.
De Kock said, “She is doing very well but it is a tough race.”
De Kock runs Pomander in the SA Oaks and said, “She is fit and well and stays well, she could place.”
Tomorrow, he runs Frosted Gold in the Grade 2 WSB Guineas. This handy-running grey should be ideally suited to Greyville and has a form chance of winning.
– Gold Circle
Image: Candiese Lenferna