Aldo Domeyer, now one of the stars of Hong Kong, will be back in South African action at Kenilworth on Saturday when he has four rides for Justin Snaith, two for Andre Nel and one for Candice Bass-Robinson.
The Cape champion has made a huge impact in Hong Kong during his short spell there, getting off the mark with a double on his first day and finishing up his abbreviated season (less than three months) with 13 winners from just 116 rides.
Racegoers need to get there early on Saturday because race one has been brought forward to 11.15am so that the first four races can be included on the French tote betting menu. This is expected to generate substantially increased turnover and earn significant – and much needed – income for South African racing.
Eric Sands believes that he has taken the necessary steps to ensure that Rainbow Bridge does not fall victim to any adverse bounce factor when the Vodacom Durban July runner-up attempts to go one better in Saturday’s World Sports Betting Champions Cup.
Finishing second in the July can often take more out of a horse than it shows at home and, while Marinaresco went on to win the Champions Cup in 2016, the two previous July runners-up – Punta Arenas and Wylie Hall – finished second last and third last.
Sands said: “There is always that risk but we purposely went easy with Rainbow Bridge for ten days after the July and he just did light work. He did go off his manger for a little bit but he had had a hard race so that wasn’t unexpected.
“His work last Tuesday was good and on Thursday it was top class. He is fit, he is sound and he is well in himself. I don’t see the two furlong shorter trip worrying him and Richard Fourie is unbeaten in three rides on him.”
Gavin Lerena, who rode Rainbow Bridge in the July, is retained by Mary Slack and so rides Buffalo Bill Cody who continues to attract punter support and the sponsors now have him 17-10 joint favourite with Rainbow Bridge.
Made To Conquer, second in last year’s July but finishing with only two behind him this time, has been sold to Mauritius and will leave after running in the eLan Gold Cup.
Eyebrows were raised in some quarters when Snowdance was declared for Saturday’s Mercury Sprint. Although she ran a great race to take second in the SA Fillies Sprint, Justin Snaith said before her third in the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province that she was not a sprinter and never would be.
He explains: “This is potentially her last run, there is nothing else for her and it was either this race or come home. She is doing well so why not run?”
No more waiting up until after midnight, or sitting through those never-ending Hong Kong previews. The post-race interviews are now shown on the tabonline website and they are posted up quite soon after each race, complete with a clip of the final stages. It’s a marvellous innovation and should do wonders for customer relations. Apparently it was the brainchild of Phumelela racing analyst Germaine Maharaj. He is entitled to take a bow.
By Michael Clower