Mike Rattray’s long-standing ambition to win the Vodacom Durban July lies at the root of his decision to buy Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge, one of the favourites to win the great race on July 6.
He told Michael Clower: “I have had two seconds and a third and I have always wanted to have another crack at the race but I’m getting a bit old now. I am 86.
“Normally this sort of horse doesn’t come on the market and it was only the death of Chris Gerber that did so with this one. Chris was a good man for racing and his death was a sad loss. But when I heard that they were contemplating exporting Rainbow Bridge I said let’s put in an offer and see.”
Rattray declined to say how much he had to pay but said: “He was not cheap. This type of horse never is but the top-priced yearlings go for three, four and five million and you don’t know whether they can run whereas this horse has run eight times and won six.
“Someone said to me the other day ‘What are the details of his pedigree?’ I replied: ‘Let’s understand one thing – he is a gelding so he is not going to be used for breeding. What matters is has he got speed and can he win races?’ The answer to both questions is yes.”
The four-year-old stays with Eric Sands who has trained for Rattray before and the owner was tickled pink when the Milnerton trainer said to him: “What a pleasure to have the red and white colours back again.”
Rainbow Bridge has returned to his stable after his short holiday at Julia Pilbeam’s Soetendal Estate near Wellington and Sands said: “I want to see his coat stand up a bit before he leaves for Durban but he travels sometime next month. The Drill Hall (May 4) will probably be his first start there.”