Industry Press

De Kock Speaks To Turf Talk After Champions Wins

Hawwaam raced around the home bend and into the Turffontein straight with his ears pricked, look relaxed and in control as he took command of Saturday’s Gr1 WSB Premiers Champions Challenge over 2000m and then galloped well away from Soqrat to win by three lengths.

This was Hawwaam’s fifth Gr1 success and he is now destined for an overseas campaign, which will start with a long and testing journey to the United Kingdom.

De Kock told Turf Talk: “As things stand Hawwaam won’t be running in the Durban July. All that will keep him in South Africa are travel problems to Mauritius, but those are unlikely.”

De Kock lamented the fact that top runners with overseas potential have to be subjected to months of quarantine and travelling before they reach their destinations. He said: “I know I’ve said it time and time again, but that’s the way it still is for us. When you have a horse like Hawwaam and our two juveniles that ran in the Nursery and you know they are good enough to take on the world’s best, you have to cringe for them. They have a tough time of travelling ahead.”

He added: “Hawwaam will have to spend three weeks at Kenilworth and a further 90 days in Mauritius before he can travel on to the UK where a further 180-day residency will be required should we choose to travel to Australia. Should we choose to travel to Dubai, a 30-day residency will be required.

“I know what it takes to win abroad. Hawwaam is good enough to win a race like the Arlington Million the US, and he is more than good enough to win a Gr1 in Australia. He’ll be even better as a five-year-old. I’d like to see him race in Australia. But look what we have to go through to get there!”

Hawwaam stretched out beautifully in his last appearance at the city track, coming home to a good, appreciative call from Nico Kritsiotis, and beating an improved Soqrat. Tierra Del Fuego ran into third and Hero’s Honour took fourth.

“He’s come into his own as a four-year-old,” enthused jockey Callan Murray, who put his own 8th Gr1 winner on the board. “He settled well, but coming into the straight I couldn’t wait much longer, had to pull him out into head wind. But I knew I was on a strong and fit horse and he hit the line really strong. I’d love to see him succeed overseas.”

Added De Kock: “I wish I had him in this shape for the Met, it would have been a proper race.”

Hawwaam is now 10 from 12 and has banked R6,769,775 for owner, Sheikh Hamdan of Dubai. He’s a colt by Silvano from Halfway To Heaven (Jet Master), and was bred by Wilgerbosdrift/Mauritzfontein.