By Nicholas Godfrey
GB: Five-time South African G1 winner Hawwaam is to be campaigned in Britain this summer after joining William Haggas in Newmarket from Mike de Kock.
The South African training legend, whose overseas ambitions are being thwarted by an unholy combination of export quarantine protocols and Covid-19 restrictions, confirmed the news on Tuesday’s edition of the Nick Luck Daily podcast.
“It’ll be very interesting to see how the South African form will stack up with your horses,” said De Kock.
“I’ve noticed some South African horses can struggle when there’s cut in the ground because they’re not used to it but if he can adapt to the situation there, I think he’ll do very, very well.”
Owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, Hawwaam was South Africa’s champion three-year-old colt at the Equus Awards for 2019. He was given a rating of 120 in the Longines World Best Racehorse Rankings for 2020, which were released on Tuesday [Jan 26]. Highest-rated performer in South Africa is Do It Again on the 121 mark for his third place (under handicap terms) in the Durban July.
Hawwaam achieved his official rating in June when he recorded a repeat success in the G1 Premier Champions Challenge over 1m2f at Turffontein in De Kock’s central base, Johannesburg.
“He’s definitely got ability,” the trainer added on the popular podcast. “He’s obviously a very good horse if he can deal with the undulations.
“It’s only every now and then you get the real South African champion that will stand up to your quality,” De Kock went on. “When we get a real good one like Shea Shea, he stepped up in a sprint, but you’re pretty strong over there in mile/mile-and-a-quarter races.
“I think he will be competitive – it’s really hard to tell, but I think the best of this horse is still to come. If he can improve on his current G1 form here he’ll be competitive. But he will have to raise it another few pounds.”
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