DURBAN – Four years ago, Ashwin Reynolds spent about R45 000 on a horse that he would later name Kommetdieding.
Now, after winning the prestigious Durban July and the Cape Town Met, Kommetdieding has won a place in the hearts of millions of South Africans after striding towards becoming a multiple Grade 1 winner with six wins from just 10 starts.
The tale of Reynolds who was born in the impoverished setting of the Cape Flats and Kommetdieding – known as the people’s horse – is a modern day rags to riches story.
Reynolds has had a love affair with horse racing since he was a 6 year old but being coloured in apartheid South Africa meant you were more likely to be a punter than a horse owner.
The world of South African horse racing remains largely white and elite with owners coming from wealthy families with generational wealth.
But Reynolds and Kommetdieding are part of a changing narrative.
After winning two of South Africa’s most prestigious horse races, Kommetdieding is worth millions of rands and Reynolds – who worked as building contractor – now owns 40 race horses.
Reynolds owners box at the Kenilworth Racecourse erupted in unbridled ecstasy when Kommetdieding and jockey Gavin Lerena crossed the finish line to win the Cape Town Met.
The win was dedicated to Reynolds grandfather who sparked his interest in horse racing when he was a boy.
Nazeem Witbooi, Reynolds’ cousin said Reynolds has vowed never to sell Kommetdieding despite its asking price that is in the millions.
“He said to me, ‘Can you remember those days when we were youngsters and we were standing downstairs and the other people were all standing on the balcony in the apartheid era? Gone are those days, it’s our time now. So I’ll never sell my horse, it is our time to stand here and for the people to look at us here,’” he said.