Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge was yesterday reported very much on song for Saturday’s Rising Sun Gold Challenge and by the time you read this he will have done a vital piece of pacework at Summerveld.
Eric Sands said: “He was in the position where I wanted him, from the point of view of wellbeing and fitness, when he ran second in the Drill Hall. As it was his first run back he would have been a little bit above himself and racing a bit on nervous energy.
“He has definitely come on since, he now knows Greyville and he strips fitter. Indeed the stepping stones towards the big one are going well. He does a bit of pacework in the morning and he will have a sprint-up on Thursday.”
Anton Marcus’s mount has seven opponents including last year’s Vodacom Durban July winner Do It Again who was three-quarters of a length second in the Met and has not raced since.
A bullish Justin Snaith said yesterday: “Do It Again is doing very well, he looks amazing and everything has gone to plan. His gallop was franked when Made To Conquer came out and ran third in the WSB 1900 so everything seems spot on and he will be ready come Saturday.”
Rainbow Bridge, with his race fitness advantage, is favourite at 22-10 with Track And Ball with Do It Again on 5-2 and Soqrat 9-2. Undercover Agent is a 5.25-1 chance to become the first dual winner since Variety Club in 2013 and then it’s 8-1 Cirillo, 12-1 Matador Man, 13-1 Lady In Black and 25-1 New Caledonia.
Favourites have had a poor record in recent seasons. Snowdance, second 12 months ago, was the first to even finish in the first three in five years.
Bunker Hunt, 40-1 for the July and the subject of some encouraging comments from his trainer after being forced to miss last Saturday’s Daily News – he was lame on his left hind – was due to be checked out by the vets yesterday.
Snaith said: “It would have been very hard to beat Hawwaam but I think he would have been a big runner and that he could have been in the first three. He kicked a wall and, although it’s not a train smash, I need to see the extent of the damage.”
And the all important question: will he make the July? “I think he should,” replied his trainer. “But I need to wait and make sure he is 100% right.”
Silvano’s Pride, Snaith’s fourth Woolavington winner in six years, looks like missing a clash with her elders in the Garden Province on July day. “She has already had three races in the Durban season and they have all been tough races,” reasoned her trainer. “In the Garden Province she would be taking on older fillies, tough nuts to crack, so I might put her away and bring her back in the Gold Bracelet at the end of the season.”
By Michael Clower