Mike Moon
Horse racing correspondent
2 minute read
8 Jun 2021
2:45 pm

Rainbow Bridge goes for Gold No 2

Mike Moon

Bookmakers are taking no chances and have quoted trainer Eric Sands’s runner at 8-10 – horrendously short odds in a race packed with quality.

Rainbow Bridge, seen here with jockey Luke Ferraris in the saddle at the Cape Met, is the favourite for the Grade 1 Gold Challenge. Picture: Peter Heeger/Gallo Images

South Africa’s top-rated horse, Rainbow Bridge, stood his ground for Saturday’s 50th anniversary running of the Grade 1 Gold Challenge over 1600m at Greyville – a race he won in 2020 before going on to claim his second Cape Met title.

Bookmakers are taking no chances and have quoted trainer Eric Sands’s runner at 8-10 – horrendously short odds in a race packed with quality. Also included in the nine-horse Gold Challenge line-up are 2020 Durban July champion Belgarion and 2021 Queen’s Plate winner Jet Dark – alongside other notables like Seeking The Stars, Sovereign Spirit and Catch Twentytwo.

This is the final “gold ticket” qualifier for the July and horses who might be needing a good performance are Cirillo, Sovereign Spirit and Trip To Africa.

The Gold Challenge has had a stakes boost to R1 million, making it one of the richest events on the racing calendar in the wake of the game’s financial meltdown last year.

Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge (R1-million) Grade 1, 1600m:

(draw/no, name, weight, MR, jockey, trainer)

1 Jet Dark 58.5 130 (Richard Fourie) Justin Snaith

2 Seeking The Stars 58.5 121 (Grant van Niekerk) Vaughan Marshall

3 Rainbow Bridge 60 134 (Luke Ferraris) Eric Sands

4 Chimichuri Run 60 125 (……) Sean Tarry

5 Cirillo 60 120 (……) Sean Tarry

6 Trip To Africa 60 114 (*Thabiso Gumede) Duncan Howells

7 Belgarion 60 130 (S’manga Khumalo) Justin Snaith

8 Sovereign Spirit 60 124 (Keagan de Melo) Candice Bass-Robinson

9 Catch Twentytwo 58.5 123 (Gavin Lerena) Paul Peter

  • Final supplementary entries for the Vodacom Durban July close at 11h00 on Tuesday 15 June.
  • Weights will be published on the same day.
  • Final declarations close at 11h00 on Monday 21 June.
  • Announcement of the final field of 18 plus two reserves, and their barrier draws, will take place on Tuesday 22 June.

BETTING:

8-10 Rainbow Bridge

9-2 Jet Dark, Belgarion

11-1 Seeking The Stars

12-1 Catch Twentytwo

16-1 Cirillo

28-1 Sovereign Spirit

33-1 Chimichuri Run

55-1 Trip To Africa