Rainbow Bridge has been retired from racing after jarring a knee while finishing third in the recent Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth.
A modern-day champion of the South African turf, Rainbow Bridge won the Cape Met twice – in 2019 and 2021 – among 11 victories and 13 places in 26 starts. He won five Grade 1 races – the Gold Challenge twice and the Champions Cup in addition to the Met double – and his stake aggregate was R8.3 million.
Bred by Mauritzfontein & Wilgerbosdrift, the son of Ideal World (by Kingmambo) was bought for R300,000 on the National Yearling Sale. He is out of multiple Champion Broodmare Halfway To Heaven (by Jet Master). First owned by the late Chris Gerber, the gelding was later acquired and raced by Mike and Norma Rattray.
Trainer Eric Sands released a stement on Thursday, which read: “I was very pleased with his effort in the L’Ormarins Queens Plate on Saturday. A perfect run in preparation for the upcoming Met. But it is not to be.
“He jarred his near fore knee in the race and it has got progressively worse throughout the week. After consultation with Mr and Mrs Rattray, we have decided it is in the best interest of Rainbow to retire him. He has done us proud and his well-being is first and foremost. A tough decision for many, but not so in the case of the Rattrays. They would never risk their Horse of the Year being seriously injured. It is an honour and a privilege to train for such owners.
“After them, I spoke to Mary Slack, who bred RB at Wilgebosdrift Stud. Sad, yes, but the decision was unanimous. Rainbow deserves the best. He will stay in my yard until he is ready to travel back to his ‘nirvana’ at Wilgebosdrift. In the yard we will embrace his well-deserved retirement. I ‘found’ him on the farm, as I did with my previous Horse of the Year Flobayou, and I must go searching again. A big thank you to all his supporters. Please feel welcome to come say goodbye to The Champ.”