It was a triumph for the small stable at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday as Kommetdieding ran the race of his life to win the Vodacom Durban July. An emotional Harold Crawford has been part of the supporting cast in the Western Cape for over four decades, never quite in the spotlight, but it was firmly focussed on him and his daughter Michelle Rix yesterday. Gavin Lerena rode a masterful race to get the colt home ahead of the two favourites Linebacker and Got The Greenlight 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 four lockdown. “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 virus.
Reynolds, who reportedly 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 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 Kommetdieding work in the mornings with Lerena riding in Gauteng.
In the race, “I was very happy where I was. I was three deep. I just wanted him to find his rhythm. He’s a young horse, and immature horse and I didn’t want him to get knocked around.
He was settled that I was able to make a move at the 800 and keep Do It Again in there and when I asked him for an effort in the straight inside the 300 he game me a real good kick this horse 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 today feeling strong and looking forward to today’s 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.”