Cape Derby winner Golden Ducat has been given the go-ahead to travel to Durban for the KZN season and so the intriguing possibility of his coming up against elder half-brother Rainbow Bridge in the Vodacom Durban July could be on the cards. And indeed Hawwaam, the third Grade 1-winning half-brother, may be there too.
Eric Sands had serious reservations about sending Golden Ducat, explaining: “He had an issue with his hock as a baby and I was a little concerned about him on the hill at Summerveld. I thought I might be aggravating the situation but on the other hand I felt that I couldn’t leave him in his box and protect him for ever.
“So we had a discussion with all concerned (including the owners and Jehan Malherbe), and we decided he should go. The programme as of now is the Daisy Guineas (May 1), the Daily News (June 6) and maybe the July.”
The Cape Derby winner has gone on to take that season’s Durban July three times in the last 17 years with Dynasty (2003), Big City Life in 2009 and Legislate six years ago. Golden Ducat is a best-priced 33-1 in the pre-nomination July betting. Rainbow Bridge is second favourite at 11-2 and Hawwaam heads the market at 4-1.
Rainbow Bridge, beaten less than half a length in last season’s race, returned to Milnerton from his holiday home near Paarl last week and, according to his trainer, “is looking really well.”
He and Golden Ducat will travel to Summerveld at the beginning of next month as will WSB Cape Fillies Guineas runner-up Driving Miss Daisy. Sands has still to make a decision about Larentina who was fourth in that classic.
Rainbow Bridge will follow the same route as last year – the Independent On Saturday Drill Hall (May 1), the Rising Sun Gold Challenge on June 13 and then the July – but his trainer is concerned about the different timetable, largely caused by the way the calendar falls.
He explained: “Last year there were five weeks between the Drill Hall and the Gold Challenge with a further four weeks before the July. But this time the respective gaps are six weeks and three weeks. If something goes wrong in the Gold Challenge – a bruised foot or a bang on a joint for example – you have that much less time to get the horse right for the July.
“Furthermore you are expected to take the horse to the course for the gallops in those last three weeks, and I don’t see the point in going there just to give him a canter.”
Ex-jockey Jimmy Ting will train Viva Rio when the Cape Derby ante-post favourite reaches Hong Kong. Ting, a relative newcomer to the training ranks, is currently tenth on the log with 24 winners.
Those who backed the horse would have preferred him to have run in the February 22 classic – and so, apparently, would have Glen Kotzen but under the terms of the deal (brokered by Green Street Bloodstock) the horse was sold without the engagement.
“It would have been lovely to get the money and win the Derby – and I tried to get a deal with the engagement – but the purchasers didn’t want that,” Kotzen explained. “In fact I thought we were going to run which was why I didn’t scratch him until the Friday afternoon. I had to wait for the money to come through.”
sum has not been revealed but Kotzen says that, even if Viva Rio won the Derby,
the July and a whole lot more, he would not have earned what the new owners
were prepared to pay.
Anton Marcus is back at Durbanville on Saturday when he has four Ridgemont rides – Flame Tree, Yorktown and Private General for Brett Crawford and Still Tappin for Sands. His only other mount is Savea on whom he won at Kenilworth ten days ago for his old boss Paddy Kruyer.
By Michael Clower