A shrewd tactical move by Anton Marcus on the 3yo Soqrat almost proved the undoing of Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge – but Richard Fourie was having none of it as he steered the temperamental gelding to a deserved end of season fairytale success in the R1 million Gr1 WSB Champions Cup.
Billed as the potential race of the season, the much anticipated showdown between Rainbow Bridge and the unexposed De Kock runner Buffalo Bill Cody failed to materialise – but it was the latter’s classy proven younger stablemate Soqrat, who almost proved the joker in the pack for the boat race merchants.
The subject of jockey musical chairs over time, the Eric Sands-trained Rainbow Bridge has been a newsmaker since reeling off his first three victories under Richard Fourie, who labelled him a champion early on.
And back aboard for the first time since May 2018, Fourie showed his deft skills as he was required to call on all of his experience to avert what would have been an unhappy ending to the term.
With Nooresh Juglall dictating matters up front on Twist Of Fate, Anton Marcus grabbed what looked to be a match winning initiative as they turned for home by taking Soqrat round his field to expedite matters and go for glory.
Fourie had seen the danger but as he got Rainbow Bridge to challenge, the Sands runner hung in badly and looked for Soqrat , who had moved to the inside.
While the two came close together, Rainbow Bridge always appeared to be going the stronger and Fourie’s steering kept him clean – despite an apparent slipped saddle to complicate matters.
At the line he had 0,40 lengths to spare over Soqrat and registered a time of 111,20 secs.
It was Fourie’s second Gr1 of the afternoon and his fifth of a memorable Champions Season.
Cirillo stayed on best of the rest a further 1,75 lengths back in third.
Buffalo Bill Cody never quickened and ran out of the money.
A R300 000 National Yearling Sale graduate, Rainbow Bridge was bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein.
He has won 7 races with 5 places from 12 starts for stakes of R5 257 500.
The 4yo gelding – purchased after the Met by Mike Rattray – is by Ideal World (Kingmambo) out of the versatile seven-time winner Halfway To Heaven (Jet Master).
There is a very sentimental connection to this family for Eric Sands, who trained the dam for Gavin Walker. That until she was sold to Mauritzfontein, in whose silks she raced for Mike de Kock until the end of her career.
Sands thanked Peter Muscutt for his assistance with Rainbow Bridge during the season.
Gr1 Champions Cup (SAf-Gr1)
Greyville, South Africa, July 27, R1 million, 1800m, turf, good, 1.51.02
1 – RAINBOW BRIDGE (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Ideal World (USA) – Halfway To Heaven (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF). Owner Mr & Mrs M L P Rattray; Breeder Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein; trainer AE Sands; jockey R Fourie
2 – Soqrat (AUS), 58.5, b c 3, Epaulette (AUS) – Elzeeza (AUS) by Hussonet (USA)
3 – Cirillo (SAF), 58.5, b c 3, Pomodoro (SAF) – Miss Wordsworth (SAF) by Lake Coniston (IRE)
Margins: 0.40, 1.75, 0.15