Two months ago, most of us had never heard of an Ideal World gelding called Rainbow Bridge.
On 28 April he burst on to the scene with a cracking victory in the Gr3 Winter Guineas at only his second start. On Saturday he takes the next step up the ladder in the Highlands-Ridgemont sponsored Winter Series.
Eric Sands said he doesn’t often ‘get one this good’ and jockey Richard Fourie called him a ‘champion’. Rainbow Bridge came from the clouds in spectacular style to mow down Gr2 Selangor Cup winner Rocket Countdown and Snaith’s promising Love Happens in the Winter Guineas.
Richard Fourie takes the ride again on Saturday and it’s worth noting that the top rider has foregone four Gr1 opportunities at Scottsville to stay at home. And that’s not to go fishing! It’s to ride a horse that he has not been afraid to say he is very excited about.
The extra 200m should suit Rainbow Bridge down to the ground. And the last two winners of this race have done alright. The 2016 star Marinaresco, now exported, went on to win the July, while African Night Sky, last year’s Winter Triple Crown champion, is high in the Vodacom Durban July pecking order after a luckless, but impressive, prep on Saturday.
But there are nine opponents who will be keen to shatter the Sands-Gerber dream.
Selangor Cup winner Rocket Countdown is a Vodacom Durban July entry and stormed through late in the Winter Guineas to be beaten 1,25 lengths by Rainbow Bridge. He is a kilo better off with the Sands galloper, but will need to up his game further to turn the tables here.
Ancestry moved up dangerously in the Winter Guineas before fading out to fifth and under two lengths off Rainbow Bridge. The son of Oratorio would only need to recapture his best 2yo promise to have a say and looks likely to enjoy the 1800m.
Joey Ramsden’s Morning Catch had his first run in 9 months when running on behind Orakal at Durbanville. The son of Await The Dawn is difficult to assess and tries this trip for the first time.
Spring Man showed a return to form last time when staying on for third behind the accomplished senior galloper Star Express.
Love Happens has decent form and was just 1,55 lengths behind Rainbow Bridge in the Guineas. With a kilo swing at the weights, he may well be worth including as upset material in bigger perms.
The Gr3 Politician Stakes winner Doublemint ran on well following a rest when under two lengths off Rainbow Bridge in the Winter Guineas. The son of Twice Over enjoys a kilo swing at the weights and must improve further with fitness.
Pacific Chestnut has been placing in lower grade handicaps but this is tougher.
Ben-Hur was well beaten in the Guineas when appearing to have every chance.
Man About Town won his maiden at his penultimate start but stopped late when beaten just under 5 lengths in the Guineas.
Rainbow Bridge looks a ready made banker and is a confident selection to continue his sensational start to his career. Doublemint, Love Happens and Ancestry could be best of the balance – but they are playing for place cheques!