Anton Marcus will ride second favourite Rainbow Bridge in the Sun Met at Kenilworth on Saturday fortnight. This follows a conversation between the four-time champion and the Milnerton trainer last month.
Michael Clower reports on www.goldcircle.co.za that the engagement was only confirmed on Monday afternoon.
Surprisingly in a game where rumours, counter-rumours and gossip spread faster than the Betty’s Bay fire not a word of this original conversation leaked out
Sands and Bernard Fayd’Herbe had an unwritten agreement that Fayd’Herbe would ride Rainbow Bridge in all his races this season, or at least until after the Met.
When Fayd’Herbe later informed Sands that he would be going to Dubai, primarily to partner Marinaresco on whom he won the 2017 Vodacom Durban July, the Milnerton trainer was not best pleased.
He felt Fayd’Herbe should be on hand to ride Rainbow Bridge in some of his work in the three weeks between the Queen’s Plate and the Met, and in effect he warned the jockey that he might have to end the agreement .
After the Green Point Stakes Sands spoke to Marcus, explained what had happened and offered him the ride. Marcus said he could not jump ship from Legal Eagle while he was still winning. He would come back to him after the Queen’s Plate.
When they spoke again Marcus told Sands that he wanted a commitment all the way through to the Durban July subject to Rainbow Bridge remaining sound and in good health. Sands and the gelding’s owners were happy to give that commitment. Although Sands made no mention of this on Tuesday, Fayd’Herbe was therefore freed to take the ride on Oh Susanna.
Marcus has won the Met twice – on Empress Club in 1993 and on Hill Fifty Four five years ago. In the last three seasons he has finished second twice and fourth on Legal Eagle. He is riding like a man inspired at the moment and the booking could well see Rainbow Bridge’s price shortening from its present 9-2.
Sands reported earlier this week that Rainbow Bridge has taken his Queen’s Plate run well and that early concerns about heat in the horse’s off-fore have proved groundless.
Sands explained: “In the race he went on to his off-fore too soon for my liking and he stayed on it too long before changing to his near-fore. Only when he did that did he start accelerating again and by that stage the race was as good as over.
“Afterwards he had a little bit of heat in his off-fore joint and knee, nothing bad but suggesting he took a little bit of a jar. However by Monday morning it was almost 100% again and I am happy with the horse once more. After all, when you finish with two Group 1 winners in front of you and three more behind you, you know you have a pretty decent horse! “