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Rainbow Bridge – The Unheralded Equus Champ

Did the Equus panel miss this one - or have we?

While the smashing Twice Over gelding Do It Again deservedly swept the boards at the Equus Awards on Tuesday evening, there has been some debate about the expert panel’s preference for him over the Eric Sands star, Rainbow Bridge, in the Champion Middle Distance Horse category.

The distance range applicable to this category is 1800m to 2200m, and while we would like to believe the panel use their judgement and experience ahead of pure mathematics – as they did in the case of Got The Greenlight over Eden Roc in the Champion 2yo category – it is difficult to understand how they found Do It Again over Rainbow Bridge here.

July winner Doi It Again – won his two other Gr1’s over a mile (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

The Snaith runner won exactly one race – the 2200m Gr1 Durban July – a handicap/ conditions event in the season in this distance range, where he beat Rainbow Bridge. His other two Gr1 successes were over a mile.

In contrast, Rainbow Bridge won the 2000m Gr1 Sun Met – a weight for age contest – where he beat Do It Again, as well the Gr1 Champions Cup, run over 1800m, again at weight-for-age, at season’s end.

The third nominee Hawwaam won three Gr1 races from 1800m to 2000m. But two of those were against his own age group.

We hardly expect the voting panel of Matthew Lips, Alistair Cohen, Lennon Maharaj, David Thiselton and RA chairman, and the panel’s non-voting chairperson, Larry Wainstein, to justify their call.

They don’t have to. But they certainly seem to have messed up here.

They also told us the awards are based on graded races, and in particular Gr1 races.

Rainbow Bridge – would have been a deserving award winner (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

Interestingly, our usually well-informed and sharp SP readers actually sided with the panel in this category in our Equus poll.

They went with Do It Again (58.54%), ahead of Rainbow Bridge (28.05%) and Hawwaam (13.41%).

While it’s water under the bridge – excuse the pun – this anomaly may be a good reason to get next year’s Equus panel to physically meet and sit around a table to discuss the pro’s and cons and share opinions before a final decision is made.

It’s in forums like these where a glaring ‘error’ like this may well have showed its cards.

That has to be better than merely submitting selections via email like a secret ballot and waiting for a final decision. That’s not professionally transparent.

The industry at large, and stars like Rainbow Bridge and his connections, deserve much better.

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26 comments on “Rainbow Bridge – The Unheralded Equus Champ

  1. Andrew Bon says:

    It’s not rocket science. There needs to be an investigation because the voting does not add up. Other than that it was in my humble opinion the best Equus function in @least the past 15 years if not ever.

    1. karel says:

      Best ever? You probably didn’t have to watch the Tellytrack broadcast.

  2. wesnaude1999 says:

    The best solution is to have a points system for horses throughout the season for each division. Boost stallion credentials for breeders and have champions racing each other for the purists and thegeneral public. Also publish a top 10 for each division so we can follow horses chasing equus championship status. Should resemble what they did for the Kentucky Derby .Please don’t have these awards resemble boxing scoring.

    1. karel says:

      Sporting Post has had such a system for years. You should check the website.
      https://www.sportingpost.co.za/score-card/

  3. wesnaude1999 says:

    Thanks, but what I’m saying is that there needs to be an official points system that actually gets horses the equus awards for their respective divisions. like I mentioned, the Kentucky derby has a points system for derby entry. we can have one to determine champions at the end of the season. A
    transparent path to the title would create interest and have the horses aim for something greater than winning just a group 1 race or any other group/black type race. Imagine watching tellytrack and every week during feature racing season, the updated top 10 for each equus divisions is displayed providing a trail for the rest of the season. For owner breeders it would be a great initiative as they would know the position a stallion prospect finished in the season and if the stallion is an equus champion, they are real champions that are decided objectively through points.

  4. Brendon says:

    Hi Karel,

    Feedbak I received on Equus function from friends that attended was that it was the worst in the last 16 years. The atmosphere was anything but jovial (except for the cape contingent who cleaned up). It was quite polarised with the Phumelela keeping their distance from all and sundry.

    Maybe, Bonski was recovering from the shock of the Scotty’s comment to assault Bob in the Kenilworth Parade Ring.

    Also the entertainer took a bashing on social media. I agree that the Tellytrack broadcast projected a lack luster gathering of those that love the sport and those that dreaded being there for their sins. Needless to say that the atmosphere of the Equus function was dampened by Phumelela’s presence and some of their henchmen from the RA and NHA. Their facial expression did little to hide their discomfort on an off stage. It just seemed that the organisers we not comfortable with any of the winners delivering a speech for fear of people speaking their minds regarding the crisis that Phumelela has inflicted on them.

    Apparently the speech that Mary Slack delivered at the Cape Racing & Breeding awards was passionate, moving and a fitting tribute to the achievement of a lifetime dream. At the Equus function it seemed like the MC was reluctant to call Mary to the podium.

  5. Steve Reid says:

    So if I understand this correctly, four “judges” send Larry their votes in secret and the non-voting chairman gives the green light after tallying up the results? What happens in the case of a 2-2 split? This is so funny, talk about letting the fox look after the chickens.

    Are the judges bound by some sort of confidentiality agreement? I would love to get a truly independant count on some of the categories, no guesses for where I suspect the non-voter became the kingmaker.

  6. Lou Syfer says:

    Where was Bernard Kantor???

    1. Editor says:

      Ill in London

  7. Jacob says:

    Hi Steve you seem to have hit the nail on the head! The joke is Basel spoke about the 2yo colt category that this “took forever-almost a deadlock” If the members never met, then this was absolute nonsense ?

  8. Michael Jacobs says:

    Andrew Bon has to “sing for his supper”, so he will always be sucking up to the establishment. One would expect him to spin the dreary and boring Equus award ceremony in glowing terms, he has to he invited to all the big events after all.

  9. Brett Maselle says:

    On 16 May 2019 I sent the following message to Mr Moodley.

    “I see on Sporting Post that the NHA handicapper Mr Maharaj is involved in the RA awards.

    The NHA is supposed to be an independent organisation. It should not be involved in third party affairs.

    By its involvement in these awards, the NHA is basically recognising the awards as legitimate.

    I remind you of past difficulties raised on the web and the media of the awards having been manipulated and/or being unfair

    The NHA needs to distance itself from this. When govt holds its enquiries into the NHA becoming a statutory body, this will no doubt raise its ugly head. The NHA management has to show that there is no fear or favour for anyone.

    I know this has happened in years gone by. However, this does not make it right.

    My suggestion is that the NHA pulls out of the awards faster than an objection hooter being sounded after a race.

    The RA can get a retired handicapper or NHA official to do the deed.”

    Mr Moodley called me and informed me that he agreed that the NHA handicappers should not be involved in awards. To this end, he said to me thst the decision had already been made for the NHA handicappers because they had already handicapped a horse. Should the handicappers choose a horse that they or the NHA had rated lower than another horse on the official NHA ratings, difficulties could arise. Mr Moodley said he would consider the issue.

    I never heard from him but I see not only was Lennon Maharaj involved as a judge, so was Matthew Lipps.

    Tut tut.

  10. HAROLD says:

    I agree with the the above article. DIA has proven to be superior to RB mainly over the mile. Even Eden Roc has proven his superiority over the 2 year olds. Regarding that age catogory, the awards seem to favor the winner of the end of season races when most of the contenders are tired after a long season.

  11. Graeme Hawkins says:

    While the VDJ is indeed a handicap, the fact remains that Do It Again carried top weight and conceded weight to Rainbow Bridge confirmiing perhaps that, as many rave readers believe, he was desperately unlucky not to win the SunMet. They only met on these two occasions in the “Middle Distance Category” and on the balance of probabilities the judges appear to have got it right?? While winning 3 Grade.1’s, Hawwaam scored 2 of these against his own age group and never came up against either Do It Again or Rainbow Bridge but on a line through Twist of Fate it would seem that he clearly ran 3rd in this Equus Category.

  12. Graeme Hawkins says:

    All that being said, we were blessed with a tremendous Season of high quality performances in a vintage year!! Apart from the aforementioned Champions, Celtic Sea was exceptional; Kasimir brilliant and, while not matching her previous season’s record, Oh Susanna was a joy to watch!!

  13. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Graham why are you letting facts get in the way of a good story.

    Met on precisely 2 occasions during the season with 1 win a piece, the tie breaker was Do It Again winning giving weight

  14. Brian says:

    Ed, this is great! Andre Bon singing for his supper, Hawkind getting in the road of a good story.

    Great to have Mr Maselle restoring sanity to it all! And jolly good to hear from him again in this forum

    A super topic! Kind of a freeze frame of the picture of horse racing at the moment.

    Divided and a mess!

  15. Wayne says:

    I honestly hope Hawwaam stays in SA and proves to this panel how wrong they’ve got it.. I see that someone makes reference to how a line through twist of fate has shown that Hawwaam is third to Rainbow bridge and do it again. If we are considering collateral form then we must consider all collateral form and I can categorically say that Hawwaam has these 2 horses beaten on a line through legal eagle on the met Run..

    1. karel says:

      Legal Eagle as a line horse for the season? Seriously?

  16. Rod Mattheyse says:

    And if you use legal Eagles July run as the line where do you put DIA and RB then? Taking appearance money to race Crystal Ocean?

  17. Tony Mincione says:

    What a scandalously crap article!

    You say they “have messed up” and that it’s “a glaring ‘error’ “. You could have said that it’s a close call. But Mr Mattheyse nails it when he says (they) “Met on precisely 2 occasions during the season with 1 win a piece, the tie breaker was Do It Again winning giving weight”. (Over the trip).

    And while Do It Again beat Rainbow Bridge 4 out of 5 times, and 3 of those were over a mile, Do It Again’s back-to-back July wins and runner up in the Met show he is not just a champion miler with regard to Rainbow Bridge.

    Awards are always a touch subjective. Thank goodness we do not use points or rands, because as convenient a guide as that may be sometimes, the truth is more than counting arbitrary points.

    As amazing and courageous as Rainbow Bridge was this year, even his most faithful fans will acknowledge that he met one just a bit better and we do nothing by discrediting a champion once we suffered the process of having had to pick. In almost any other year he probably would’ve got it.

    As for the jury we selected to pick, they should stand together however they deliberated, and we should just say “thank you”.

    There is a time and place to challenge the process, but right now is just a bit crass.

  18. wesnaude1999 says:

    I still believe that a non-arbitrary points system can be used to create exciting clashes and determine champions objectively. If the middle distance category is 1800-2200 then Rainbow Bridge should have won that category.He is not as good as Do It Again and would probably be beat in middle distance races by him based on this years July run, but Rainbow Bridge won more WFA races at this particular distance category during this past season than Do It Again.

    Herein lies the problem. I think people have differing views on what the awards should be based on. Some think it should be based on collateral form and others, including myself believe it should be based on
    -a combination of number wins/places at group level(Gr 1,Gr 2,Gr 3) with more points for higher graded wins/places
    – Types of races( WFA, Level Weight, Handicap, Conditions) as not all our group races are WFA and WFA+penalties like it is in the UK.
    – Types of company( Open, F&M, 3yr olds, 2yr olds) as more competition is found against open company than in your own age group.
    – Bonus points for winning top races at different distance categories and in different provinces and in Do It Again’s case, winning a group 1 handicap at top weight, giving weight to the some of the best horses in the country.

    In conclusion, There is always a time to improve the process as the racing industry needs to be innovative with its product especially in difficult times like these. Instead of adding more after parties and hype to the event, we can add more functionality to the competition model.The Racing industry needs to get people interested in horse racing and not partying and getting wasted.

    1. karel says:

      you haven’t read the rules of the Scorecard. have you?
      https://www.sportingpost.co.za/score-card

  19. wesnaude1999 says:

    I have, It’s not what I’m looking for. What I’m saying is that there needs to be an official points system that determines championships. Your points system won’t actually affect the outcome of awards. They are just the Sporting Posts idea of who is the best and not the official clarification of who is the best. Kind of like your Sporting post ability rating compared to the official merit rating of a horse. Whether they use my guidelines or use your guidelines of scoring feature race wins/places or something else, I’m using this platform as a fan to suggest that we push for an official points system.

    This would allow us to follow horses throughout the season as trainers strategically place their horses in big races to score as many points as possible. This also allows us the fans and connections to scrutinize and improve the scoring system so as to create better and more fair competition for the equus titles.

    Right now the awards resemble boxing scoring. I’m also a boxing fan and what I constantly see is that if there was a dodgy scorecard or decision, fans and fighters cry robbery but aren’t able to do anything because the decision is subjective and an opinion which means they can’t be proven wrong or challenged in any way.

    I hope you see where I’m getting at.

  20. bren5604 says:

    Graeme Hawkins hit the nail on the head. It couldn’t have been hard to give it to Do It Again after conceding weight to win the July. It’s not rocket science.

  21. Graham Martin says:

    Wayne the correct line horse and Collateral form horse was Undercover Agent, not Legal Eagle. Undercover Agent is in the same age group as Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge and also ran against them in the Greenpoint, Queens plate and Met. Legal Eagle was 7, now 8 yrs and clearly started losing his form from the time the Queens plate was run and his form has continued on a downward trend. Do It Again beat Rainbow Bridge in the Rising Sun by 1,75 lengths and gave him 0.50 Kilo’s in the July. Do It Again should have beaten Rainbow Bridge by 1,25 lengths in the July taking 1kg = 1 length but beat him by 0,40 lengths which makes Rainbow Bridge’s run full of merit! I repeat COLLATERAL form always has been and always will be an undeniable fact, knowing how to use it is wherein the secret lies!!!
    I rest my case!

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