KOMMETDIEDING WINS DURBAN JULY
Kommetdieding won the battle of the three-year-olds to win the R2-million Vodacom Durban July over 2200m at Greyville on Saturday.
Ridden by Gavin Lerena and trained by Harold Crawford and Michelle Rix, the Elusive Fort colt battled gamely to hold off Linebacker and Got The Greenlight to claim the Grade 1 race.
Fourth place went to two-time Durban July winner Do it Again.
Lerena, who celebrated his birthday on Friday, had to get down to 53kg to ride Kommetdieding and it all proved worthwhile as he claimed his first victory in the race.
Kommetdieding did find late betting support to go off at 10-1 and won the race by 0.50 lengths. Linebacker (28-10), with Grant van Niekerk up, was in turn 0.20 lengths ahead of Muzi Yeni and Got The Greenlight (28-10) with Do It Again (7-1) another 1.10 lengths further back.
It was a triumph for the small stable. An emotional Crawford has been part of the supporting cast in the Western Cape for over four decades, not quite in the spotlight. But it was firmly focussed on him and his daughter, Michelle Rix, on Saturday.
Lerena rode a masterful race to get the colt home ahead of the two favourites with Do It Again a tad unlucky in fourth.
It was also a triumph for the small owner as Ashwin Reynolds, confined to barracks on the Cape Flats in Cape Town under the Level 4 lockdown, expressed his delight courtesy of a Zoom link-up.
“I just see Kommetdieding on the outside and I just said ‘go, take it home’,” he said. It was a subdued Reynolds who had earlier lost a good friend to the dreaded Covid-19 virus.
Reynolds, who turned down tempting telephone number offers early on, became the first person of colour to own a Vodacom Durban July winner and Kommetdieding is also the first horse with an Afrikaans name on the illustrious roll of honour.
A remarkably calm Michelle Rix said: “It still feels so surreal and wonderful. We came here and had one race in mind, and you know with these horses it is stepping-stones all the way. “Obviously we were a little disappointed with his two runs in KZN and we knew he was better than that and we had tough times ahead of us to prove it to everybody.
“Ashwin is truly one in a million. I’m at a loss for words for the time and the free reign he gives us to do our job.”
Lerena also thanked Billy Jacobson who rode work on Kommetdieding in the mornings with Lerena riding in Gauteng.
Discussing the race, Lerena added: “I was very happy where I was. I was three deep. I just wanted him to find his rhythm. He’s a young horse, an immature horse, and I didn’t want him to get knocked around.
“He was settled and I was able to make a move at the 800m and keep Do It Again in there, and when I asked him for an effort in the straight inside the 300m he gave me a real good kick and ran all the way to the line.”
Lerena had to shed 4kg to make the 53kg allotted Kommetdieding. “It’s been a tough four weeks, but I took on the challenge and I came here feeling strong and looking forward to the ride.
“And it’s just beautiful when a plan comes together.”
Asked whether he had now got the monkey of a July winner off his back, he quipped, “I might eat a monkey tonight.” – Gold Circle