Rainbow Bridge will have a different early campaign this season as Eric Sands gears the Sun Met and WSB Champions Cup winner towards achieving owner Mike Rattray’ lifetime ambition of winning the Vodacom Durban July.
Sands said: “Last season he wasn’t guaranteed to get a run in some of the big races so I had to put him in things like the Matchem and the Cape Mile. This time I would like to go 1 200, 1 600m and 2 000m although there is no obvious 1 200m race for him – he would have a very big weight in the Cape Merchants.”
Rainbow Bridge’s performance in beating Soqrat just under half a length in the Champions Cup was apparently better than it looked as Sands reported: “Richard Fourie’s saddle slipped over the side of the horse’s withers and as a result he couldn’t ride him out properly.”
Now Rainbow Bridge is back with Julia Pilbeam enjoying a working holiday on the Soetendal Estate near Wellington. “He enjoys three meals a day, trots in the mornings and spends the rest of each day in a paddock where he gallops around giving himself a fair workout. He will be there for at least a month.”
“What am I going to do with him? Maybe the handicappers can help,” was Justin Snaith’s reply when asked when General Franco is going to run.
This is the Frankel colt who looked a potential superstar when winning on debut in mid-April only to finish plumb last when odds-on for his only subsequent start the following month; slightly sore shins was the only plausible reason to emerge.
The root of Snaith’s present quandary is that the handicappers have given the colt a rating of 102 (97 under the old system plus the August 1 all-round five point increase), a mark which he considers far too high.
“Just have a look at what he beat (only two of the ten that finished behind him have won since) – they have handicapped him on reputation and on what appeared in the papers. I can’t run him in a handicap off that mark – it would break his spirit.”
By Michael Clower