Drill Hall rivals face off

PUBLISHED: 07 May 2019

Rainbow Bridge (Liesl King)

Met winner Rainbow Bridge will renew rivalry with his Drill Hall conqueror Undercover Agent in the Rising Sun Gold Challenge at Greyville on June 8 and last year’s Vodacom Durban July hero Do It Again will also be in the line-up.

The way Rainbow Bridge flew home to be beaten little more than a head in his first race for more than three months was a revelation even though trainer Eric Sands had predicted that he would be competitive.

Sands said yesterday: “He has matured physically and hopefully that maturity is coming through because he travelled to the course the best he has ever done. He was very well in himself but I was concerned about his going right-handed for the first time, that it was his first night meeting and he was dropping back to seven furlongs.

Rainbow Bridge (Liesl King)
Rainbow Bridge (Liesl King)

“Anton said they were getting away from him going through the 700m and when he turned for home the horse was last. He said he could have given him a smack but he didn’t see the point until he found his legs and, when the horse did, he didn’t have to give him a smack.”

Brett Crawford confirms that Undercover Agent will go for a second successive Gold Challenge and that there will be no July run. Instead the four-year-old will wait for the Champions Cup in which he was second to stable companion Captain America last season.

Do It Again will have just three races in KZN, all Grade 1s and starting with the Gold Challenge – nothing to do with avoiding an increase in ratings prior to the July apparently. “He is a horse that is quite light and doesn’t take a lot of racing so we decided only three races,” Jono Snaith explained. “It will be tough first time back in the Gold Challenge but he will be at his best on July day, and then he goes for the Champions Cup. His gallop on the course last Friday was outstanding – he came from off the pace of Made To Conquer.”

Snaith confirmed that Snowdance will take on the female speedsters in the SA Fillies Sprint at Scottsville on May 25 “and then Drakenstein will decide whether or not she runs in the Garden Province. Oh Susanna is in full work at Summerveld but the trip to Jo’burg for the Empress Club took a lot out of her. We will discuss with Drakenstein what she will do.”

Saturday’s Computaform Sprint winner Pacific Trader did not do well in Durban last year and so he will now have a well-earned break. “He will come back to Cape Town and wait for the summer season here,” said Crawford who adds that Cape Fillies Guineas winner Front And Centre will bid to make amends for being beaten in last Friday’s KRA version in the Tibouchina on June 8 and the Garden Province on July day.

He said: “It was very tough for her from her outside draw but I also think she was a bit green under the lights for the first time.”

Santa Clara, who beat Front And Centre by nearly three lengths, will step to 2 000m for the Woolavington on June 1 while Poinsettia-winning stable companion Freedom Charter goes for the SA Fillies Sprint. Candice Bass-Robinson will also run both Strelitzia third Vandah’s Spirit and Miss Honey (fifth) in the Allan Robertson that day.

Glen Kotzen is toying with alternative options for KRA Fillies Guineas third Temple Grafin, saying: “She ran well on Friday but I might freshen her up for the SA Fillies Sprint. Otherwise it will be the Tibouchina and the Garden Province.”

BLOB Grant Behr has been suspended for a fortnight (May 9-22) after traces of Furosemide were found in his system when he was tested at Kenilworth on February 26. Furosemide is a diuretic but it is also used to treat high blood pressure and is banned by the NHA. Behr took it as a pee pill three days earlier under the impression that it would have cleared his system by raceday.

By Michael Clower