Rainbow Bridge is up for the Challenge

PUBLISHED: 07 May 2019

Undercover Agent (Candiese Marnewick)

The Eric Sands-trained Rainbow Bridge was looking a picture at Summerveld yesterday morning having made an exceptional KZN debut in the Grade 2 Drill Hall Stakes on Friday night. Drill Hall winner Undercover Agent has also come through his race well.

There was plenty of feedback from trainers of other horses too.

Rainbow Bridge appeared to be battling to quicken after coming from a handy position over the too sharp 1400m trip on Friday night.

However, at the 200m mark he suddenly got going and his powerful finish under Anton Marcus carried him within a longhead of Undercover Agent.

He split two of the best 1400m horses in the country, as the three-year-old Cirillo finished third.

Undercover Agent (Candiese Marnewick)
Undercover Agent (Candiese Marnewick)

This eyecatching run will have been just what Rainbow Bridge’s new owner Mike Rattray had hoped for ahead of his two big targets, the Grade 1 wfa Rising Sun Gold Challenge and the Vodacom Durban July. Rattray watched Friday night’s race from his grandstand suite.  

Rainbow Bridge is staying at Brett Crawford’s Summerveld yard. The latter’s assistant trainer Peter Muscutt said the most pleasing aspect of the temperamental gelding’s preparation was that he had settled in well at Summerveld, as not all Cape horses do. 

Undercover Agent has also come through his race “without any issue” and will head for the Gold Challenge and Grade 1 Champions Cup over 1800m.

Lady In Black ran on well for fourth in the Drill Hall over a trip too sharp and the Dennis Drier yard said she would next run in the Gold Challenge and then the July.

Drier’s two-year-olds must always be watched at this time of the year due to his incredible record in the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion at the Scottsville Festival Of Speed meeting. He had an eyecatching two-year-old debut winner recently, Cartel Captain, but Drier’s assistant trainer Stuart Ferrie said Master Of illusion, who finished a short-head second on Friday night in the Grade 3 Godolphin Barb Stakes over 1100m, is just as good. Both horses will line up in the Gold Medallion.

The winner of the Godolphin Barb, the Dean Kannemeyer-trained African Warrior by Vercingetorix, provided a first ever feature race winner for long-time owner and former Gold Circle director Bruce Armstrong. His D K Kannemeyer Syndicate partner, former Gold Circle chairman John Bescoby, was happy so see the colt had come out of the race well but was not sure of his next step yet. African Warrior will certainly appreciate further than sprints.

Gareth van Zyl hopes his promising filly Yessiricanboogie had just needed the run on Friday night when fading to a disappointing 5,05 length sixth in the Grade 3 Strelitzia Stakes over 1100m. He admitted the feature races can sort out the pecking order but jockey Warren Kennedy felt she had needed the run badly and believed she could bounce back.

Kennedy rode the Paul Lafferty-trained Dark Moon Rising to fifth place in the Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge on Saturday at Turffontein and was a touch disappointed, saying he had not quickened as well as he normally did. Kennedy had expected to finish in the first three and put it down, perhaps, to the travel and altitude.

Candice Bass-Robinson’s assistant Robert Fayd’Herbe was expecting Clouds Unfold to arrive at Summerveld sometime this week after her impressive win in a 1000m sprint at Kenilworth on Sunday. She is being targeted at the Tibouchina and the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes over 1600m. Her stablemate Santa Clara quickened exceptionally well under Bernard Fayd’Herbe to easily win the Grade 2 KRA Fillies Guineas at Greyville on Friday night. The latter win did not surpise Robert Fayd’Herbe, despite her 11/1 odds. Her pedigree, Duke Of Marmalade out of a full-sister to Champion stallion Silvano, suggests she will continually improve. Her next target is the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000.

The Alyson Wright yard said Flichity By Farr would run in a 2000m event on WSB 1900 day and then go the staying route, the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup, the Track and Ball Oaks, the Gold Vase and the eLan Gold Cup.

The Tony Rivalland-trained Tristful was found to be coughing after his disappointing run in the KRA Guineas and mucus was found in his trachea.

The Glen Kotzen yard were happy with Temple Grafin’s third place finish in the KRA Fillies Guineas but reckon she might not quite get the mile. Her next target is undecided. They said Eyes Wide Open would come on a lot from his fourth place finish in the Sledgehammer.

By David Thiselton