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Jack Milner: This year’s Vodacom Durban July is probably the toughest he has seen, says trainer Mike de Kock.

“Barring Soqrat, all the best horses in the country are there,” he said yesterday.

De Kock saddles two runners – 2-1 favourite Hawwaam and 6-1 shot Barahin, both three-year-olds. Ask him which he sees as the possible winner, De Kock is reticent to give an answer.

The reason? “Hawwaam probably has a tad more class but it is a while since we’ve seen the best of Barahin.

The last time he raced at his best, he beat Soqrat at Greyville so he has to be right up there.”

Then he has to deal with the personality of the two horses. “Hawwaam is not straightforward. You don’t know what he’s going to do…whether he will jump slowly, or whether he will pull. This is also the first time he is running in an 18-horse field so we don’t know how he will cope.

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