Cape town - Grassy Park local Ashwin Reynolds broke barriers by becoming the first horse-owner of colour to win the 2021 Vodacom Durban July Handicap, South Africa’s biggest horse race, with his horse Kommetdieding.
The race was held on Saturday at the Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse with only trainers, jockeys, core racing personnel and the media in attendance because of the Covid-19 regulations.
Reynolds works as a building contractor. His passion for horses and horse racing started when he was six years old, after he was told to track the results of the horse races for his grandfather.
“If you want to excel in this world, you need to have a dream. It doesn’t matter where you come from. I grew up very poor with six siblings. My father died when I was nine years old, and from then my grandfather took over as our father figure.
“I never completed school, as I had to leave school to work and help my mother at an early age. Through all of this, I had a dream of one day owning my own horse, and winning this year’s Durban July was just a bonus,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds said the support from his family and friends and the community has been overwhelming since the news of the big win.
“It’s not my horse anymore, it’s the people’s horse. There are many ways to go about buying a horse and the game is open to everyone, it's not exclusive to the rich and elite- it’s there for everybody,” said Reynolds.
Leading up to the big race, Kommetdieding was trained by father and daughter duo Harold Crawford and Michelle Rix and ridden by jockey Gavin Lerena.
“It was a wonderful training experience, and he’s a very easy horse to train, which made our jobs a lot easier. There’s normally quite a few hiccups when it comes to training horses, especially at this level, but there were no hiccups with Kommetdieding,” said the co-trainer.
Lerena congratulated Reynolds and said Kommetdieding was a fabulous horse with a big match temperament and talent to win, as proved over the weekend.