Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge heads the ten declared for the Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes at Greyville on Friday evening and, while Eric Sands reports him in good order, he points out that there are several factors not in the horse’s favour.
Sands said: “I had planned for him to see the course last week and I wanted him to have an easy gallop there but it was flooded. He is doing well but it’s a night meeting (his first), a right hand turn and a new course. He will be competitive, unless he is completely off the bit because of the strange surroundings. It is his first run back and he must come through it and enjoy it.”
It will also be the four-year-old’s first run in the distinctive red and white quartered colours of new owner Mike Rattray who is a former chairman of Greyville. Anton Marcus’s mount is 15-4 second favourite with World Sports Betting which makes the Brett Crawford-trained Undercover Agent – just over two lengths back fourth in the Met – the market leader at 5-2. Sean Tarry’s CTS 1200 winner Cirillo is on 9-2 while 8-1 shots Matador Man and Lady In Black are the only others in single figures.
The no whip race experiment returns this week with the Eden Rock Estate Maiden at Greyville on Friday and the Hands ‘N Heels Handicap at Turffontein the following day. There is a subtle difference in the two race conditions as stated on the sahorseracing website. Whereas those for the Greyville event stipulate that ‘riders will not be permitted to use crops’ the corresponding wording for the Turffontein race says ‘no crops will be allowed.’ This would suggest that the jockeys at Greyville, unlike those at Turffontein, will be allowed to carry their whips but not wave them or hit their mounts.
However senior racing control executive Arnold Hyde, when this was put to him yesterday, was unequivocal, saying: “The riders will not be permitted to carry crops in both races.”
The initial no whip race at Turffontein in November was well received by some of the leading trainers – notably Mike de Kock and Justin Snaith – and made headlines around the world with South Africa seen as setting the standard for other major racing countries. It is good that the experiment is being continued.
Candice Bass-Robinson, bidding for her third successive Perfect Promise win, runs three in the two-year-old fillies Listed race at Kenilworth on Sunday with Keagan de Melo retaining the ride on last time’s convincing Durbanville winner Sanskrift. Justin Snaith also runs three but Greg Ennion (Hidden Strings) is the only other trainer represented.
Vaughan Marshall has the biggest hand in the Somerset 1200 with three while Joey Ramsden, who has won five of the last six runnings, relies on Minnesota Dream and has also gone for De Melo.
By Michael Clower