The Harold Crawford and Michelle Rix-trained-Kommetdieding ridden by Gavin Lerena became the first small yard winner of South Africa’s biggest race, the Vodacom Durban July, for 36 years, the last to have achieved it being Pat Antelme in 1985 with Gondolier.
It was a victory for transformation as Ashwin Reynolds became the first person from a previously disadvantaged group to own a July winner and the horse himself has now entrenched himself in rags-to-riches folklore.
Furthermore, Rix became only the second woman in history to train a July winner following Candice Bass-Robinson who did it with Marinaresco in 2017.
The three-year-old Elusive Fort colt became the fourth horse this century to win from the widest draw of all.
The race was a triumph for Klawervlei Stud as they bred both Kommetdieding and the Vaughan Marshall-trained Linebacker, who was beaten just half-a-length into second.
The race favourite, the Joey Soma-trained Got The Greenlight, finished third.
The Justin Snaith-trained Do It Again, chasing a record-breaking third victory in this race, added to his phenomenal July record which now reads first, first, third and a very unlucky fourth.
The all important fifth place was filled by the Marshall-trained Rascallion.
Lerena attempted to slot his horse in from the wide draw and found cover behind the midfield-positioned Do It Again down the back straight.
However, Kommetdieding was shuffled outward as they began rounding the Drill Hall.
Lerena then spotted Sovereign Spirit caught similarly wide further ahead and over the next 800 metres gradually made up the ground on that horse and was sitting in behind him as they turned for home.
Meanwhile his chief three-year-old rival Linebacker, jumping from draw seven, had quickly found the perfect one-wide position within striking distance that the connections had hoped for.
However, a gap then opened in front of him and he was forced on to the rail, which was not where jockey Grant van Niekerk had wanted to be.
The favourite Got The Greenlight was content to sit two-wide with cover near the back.
Linebacker, trapped on the rail, was duly held up at a crucial stage coming into the straight by Running Brave and Grant van Niekerk thus had to switch him outward into traffic.
At the same time Kommetdieding was enjoying the slingshot affect as he swung outward off the heels of Sovereign Spirit.
The relative difference in momentum between the pair as they entered the straight might have made the difference between victory and defeat.
When Linebacker did see daylight he had to make up a length on Kommetdieding and he quickly made inroads. However, the effort told.
Kometdieding, on the other hand, was still full of running and kept the game runner up at bay all the way to the line.
Got The Greenlight ran on strongly on the outside but could not fetch the winner and was beaten 0,70 lengths.
Kudos must go to the father and daughter training team of Crawford and Rix as Kommetdieding raced without cover for most of the journey and yet finished off the race better than the top class protagonists on either side of him. He was clearly presented for the race at his absolute peak.
The unluckiest horse was without doubt Do It Again.
Lerena kept Do It Again trapped behind Sovereign Spirit at the top of the straight, as he was entitled to do. Do It Again , who was under a double handful, had nowhere to go and threw his head up as he was threatening to run Sovereign Spirit over. Then, when a half gap did open, he ranged forward and still had a chance but was promptly sandwiched between his tiring stablemate Crown Towers and Sovereign Spirit. He eventually found space and ran on strongly to be beaten just 1,75 lengths.
Rascallion stayed on late to be beaten just 2,25 lengths.
Topweight Rainbow Bridge sat behind Linebacker in the running and went for a rails run but was never making serious inroads and finished 8th, beaten 5,15 lengths. His weight carrying task proved to be impossible but he did reverse form with last year’s winner Belgarion, who finished half-a-length behind him in ninth. The last two Julys have been the only two unplaced runs of Rainbow Bridge’s career and he must still be one of the favourites for the Equus Horse Of The Year title this season.
It was a first July win for twice SA Champion Jockey Lerena and he deserved it as he had to slim 4kg to make the weight of 53kg.
Harold Crawford found Kommetdieding at the Klawervlei Stud farm sale in 2019.
His dam was a three-parts sister to the multiple Grade 1 winner Captain America but had not produced much and Crawford’s first impression of Kommetdieding was “a fuzzy little horse.”
Crawford phoned Reynolds and told him he had found a nice horse and was he interested in buying him and he replied, “Ok but not for more than R80,000.”
Crawford then managed to secure him for R55,000.
Reynolds named the horse and explained, “It is Afrikaans slang among the Cape Flats coloured community and it means ‘Bring it on’ as in ‘I’m not scared, bring it on.'”
Reynolds was eight-years-old when his father died and he started work at the age of 16 to support the whole family.
He worked for two years in the UK on building sites before starting his own company.
Reynolds dedicated the fairytale victory to JM Cola, who was a part-owner of an earlier winner on the day Bard Of Avon. Cola passed away on Friday night.
Rix described Reynolds as “a one-in-a-million” owner before explaining how many people are actually behind the win, including physiotherapists, veterinarians, feed merchants etc and she then reserved special thanks and praise for jockey Billy Jacobson who was the regular workrider for Kommetdieding at Summerveld.
Picture: KOMMETDIEDING keeps LINEBACKER and GOT THE GREENLIGHT at bay in yesterday’s Vodacom Durban July (Candiese Lenferna Photography).