where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2021-06-12 18:40:44  

The Eric Sands-trained Rainbow Bridge put himself in line for the Equus Horse Of The Year award when winning the Grade 1 weight-for-age Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge over 1600m at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday under Luke Ferraris.

Sands will be wondering how he will ever replace Ferraris when the latter leaves for his contract riding position in Hong Kong as the six-year-old Rainbow Bridge has never been in better form since being partnered by the 19-year-old. 

In five rides together they have now finished narrow seconds in both the Grade 2 WSB Greenpoint Stakes and Grade 1 WFA L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate and then rattled off wins in the Grade 2 IOS Drill Hall Stakes, the Grade 1 Cape Town Met and the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge.  

Seeking The Stars was expected to lead but started tardily. However, Grant van Niekerk surprisingly did not make more effort to keep Cirillo out. Instead he hung back and Seeking The Stars, not able to use his stride, raced too strongly in second.

The strapping Jet Dark, having his first run since winning the Queen’s Plate five months ago, found the box seat on the rail but was tending to over-race.

WSB Dingaans winner Catch Twentytwo managed to slot in front of him at the 900m mark, which posed a problem for Rainbow Bridge who was now left one wide without cover. 

However, Rainbow Bridge remained beautifully relaxed and sauntered up to Seeking The Stars, who had moved past Cirillo at the top of the straight.

Catch Twentytwo was posing a threat on the inside but Ferraris got to work at the 200m mark and Rainbow Bridge lengthened his stride to beat the former by a cosy 0,30 lengths.

Chimichuri Run, who had sat behind Rainbow Bridge in the running, ran on strongly to deny Seeking The Stars third place. Belgarion and Jet Dark both proved in need it, finishing fifth and sixth respectively. 

Rainbow Bridge, an Ideal World gelding owned by Mike and Norma Rattray and bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Stud, has now won eleven of his 23 starts, including five Grade 1s.

Hollywoodbets recognised their business partners in the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge meeting at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday and the supporting features provided some thrilling finishes.

In the Grade 3 Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial over 1800m the Justin Snaith-trained Crown Towers took up his favourite front-running role and in his normal courageous fashion kept going to narrowly defeat fellow VDJ entrants Tristful and Nexus.

In the Grade 2 East Coast Radio Tibouchina Stakes over 1400m, the Glen Kotzen-trained Caya Coco, the only horse to have ever beaten star filly Captain’s Ransom, burst through from a handy position to beat pacemaker Wisteria Walk by 1,50 lengths with the outsider Zimbaba running on well for third. 

In the Listed Cell C Sharks Gatecrasher Stakes the favourite, the Dean Kannemeyer-trained Cosmic Highway, produced a late surge under Keagan de Melo to get up by a long-head from long-time leader Party Time with Waterberry Lane in third. 

In the Listed Lighthouse Foundation Devon Air Stakes over 1400m the Sean Tarry-trained Twice The Trip ran on resolutely to keep the fast-finishing Kailene at bay and win by a quarter-of-a-length with Miss Putin staying on for third.

The Rising Sun Durban Dash was won by  the Kumaran Naidoo-trained outsider Ziva La Winter under Calvin Habib.

David Thiselton
Gold Circle

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