Mike de Kock’s top-class 4yo Hawwaam bid the South African racing public farewell in grand style at Turffontein on Saturday when cruising home in facile fashion to beat stablemate Soqrat and capture the R425 000 World Sports Betting Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge for the second consecutive year.

In buttoning down his fifth Gr1 success, Hawwaam gave the handicapper some further affirmation of his ability and showed that his Cape summer form wasn’t exactly his Sunday best.

He was never under pressure as the high-riding Ridgemont Highlands-sponsored Callan Murray, riding his career 8th Gr1 winner, took the accolades, making it two out of two on the big horse.

Benefitting from the crowd-free lockdown-style ghost racing, Hawwaam hardly worked up a sweat as he settled beautifully and turned on the jets at the 300m to win going away by 3,50 lengths in a time of 122,82 secs.

Sean Tarry’s Tierra Del Fuego was a further 1,50 lengths back in third. The rest weren’t in the same league.

Trainer Mike de Kock has taken his stick at times for some of the past performances of the newsmaking colt and said that he wished he had him ‘in this form for the Met’.

“The Met would have been a proper race. This horse could win an Arlington Million. He will win a Gr1 in Australia. It’s scary to think that he is going to be even better at 5. His wither hasn’t even flattened out yet. He is definitely getting better. And what a great week for Sheikh Hamdan – one of the world’s great owners and breeders,” he added.

De Kock confirmed that jockey Callan Murray rode a textbook race.

“Callan doesn’t overthink his ride on this horse. He rides him perfectly,” he added, confirming that while Hawwaam can be volatile, there had been ‘human factors’ in all of his previous ‘incidents’.

A R1 million National Yearling Sale graduate, the half-brother to Sunday’s Gold Challenge candidate Rainbow Bridge was bred by Mauritzfontein & Wilgerbosdrift, and is a son of multiple champion Silvano (Lomitas) out of the seven-time winning SA Broodmare Of The Year, Halfway To Heaven (Jet Master).

 

 

 

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