Rainbow Bridge to show his colours
ALL EYES will be on Rainbow Bridge at Kenilworth today when the exciting four-yearold bids to make it five in a row in the Cape Mile in what could well prove to be emotional circumstances.
This gelding could turn out to be the best horse the late Chris Gerber ever had and the noted ownerbreeder’s tragic death from malaria adds a sad poignancy to the occasion.
The betting – he had shortened still further to 9-20 with World Sports Betting yesterday morning – suggests Rainbow Bridge is a good thing despite merit ratings indicating the complete opposite.
No less than six of the ten up against Bernard Fayd’Herbe’s mount should beat him according to the handicappers’ assessments.
But his preparation has gone smoothly in marked contrast to that of the Matchem whose build-up turned into a trainer’s nightmare.
“I had gallops planned and then there were all those cancellations,” Eric Sands recalls.
“We ended up with a month when we couldn’t gallop at all. I had to force him on the sand tracks at home - and he went into the race with only half a gallop, and needing another.”
Yet the gelding was able to produce a truly devastating final burst, the like of which is not seen that often on a racecourse.
“Afterwards he was off for a week with a snotty nose,” relates his trainer.
“However he has done very well since and, while I don’t want him at his peak yet, he has come on.”
Asked about what he sees as the dangers, Sands singles out not a horse but “traffic.”
Adjusted merit ratings put the Cape Derby winner Eyes Wide Open (8-1) and 9-1 shot Fifty Cents on top, six points clear of the favourite.
But the former has been off for three and a half months and Craig Zackey’s mount was beaten over two lengths in the Matchem and is half a kilo worse.
So is 15-1 chance Copper Force who has three and a half lengths to find on that last run.
Horizon (25-1) was beaten seven lengths (admittedly he was slowly away) and needs further.
A New Dawn (33-1) has been off since May but watch out for Silver Maple. This ex-Mayfair horse came to Justin Snaith from Geoff Woodruff and has won three out of four. The 9-1 chance gets in with a feather weight and could prove the biggest threat. That leaves only the four that the handicappers say should not beat the favourite.
Rocket Countdown, The Slade and Platinum Prince are all having their first race of the season while Man About Town is the 50-1 outsider of the party.
In the Laisserfaire 5-2 favourite Magical Wonderland has been off since May and has been given a steeplechasing burden.
Forget about the race’s grandsounding name and its Listed status - this is a glorified handicap – and better value can be found further down the field.
The Boston Rose may be 1.5kg under sufferance but she keeps winning.
She has proved profitable for this column and she can do it again although it is hard to believe that the present 45-1 will still be available on Sunday.
Ryan Munger is riding out of his skin and he may take the Woolavington on Settlers runnerup Ballad Of The Sea. Stable companion Ollivander looks the main danger.