Cape Town - The 'Cape Comet' Kommetdieding came from the outside 18 draw to win the 125th edition of the Vodacom Durban July, in the process rewriting a number of records.
The win gave trainer Michelle Rix a Vodacom Durban July title on her debut at the event. This makes her the second female trainer after Candice Bass-Robinson to scoop the title. In another record, the horse’s owner, Ashwin Reynolds, became the first black owner to win the country’s biggest horse race.
"Kommetdieding has only been racing for 12 months, this is his seventh race. After his first four starts in Cape Town which were scintillating we knew he would be something special," Rix said.
Rix, who trained the three year-old with her father Harold Crawford, asked jockey Gavin Lerena to shed 4kg to meet his eventual race weight of 54kg, and he masterfully took Kommetdieding to the line ahead of Linebacker and pre-race favourite Got The Greenlight.
An emotional Rix said sharing the special moment with her father spoke volumes about their operation.
"When you do it with family, it just adds that special touch. "We are very much a family-orientated business and clearly it has worked for us."
She added that she owed a debt of thanks to Lerena for accepting her challenge to shed weight for the big race.
"Hats off to Gavin. I phoned him a couple of weeks ago and said, 'Can you do it?' And he was so professional about it. 'Give me four days,' he said. 'I am going to speak to my dietician.'
"He got back to me on the fourth day and said, 'I will do it.' A more professional jockey doesn't come around too often," she added.
Result of the 2021 Vodacom Durban July
1.18 KOMMETDIEDING Gavin Lerena H Crawford/M Rix
2.7 LINEBACKER Grant Van Niekerk V.Marshall
3.14 GOT THE GREENLIGHT Muzi Yeni J Soma
4.16 DO IT AGAIN Richard Fourie J Snaith
5.6 RASCALLION Sean Veale V Marshall
6.8 SOVEREIGN SPIRIT Keagan De Melo C Bass-Robinson
7.9 CIRILLO Lyle Hewitson STarry
8.1 RAINBOW BRIDGE Luke Ferraris E Sands
9.11 BELGARION S'Manga Khumalo J Snaith
10.10 SHE'S A KEEPER Warren Kennedy G van Zyl jr