Horse Racing at Turfontein. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS / FINANCIAL MAIL
Horse Racing at Turfontein. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS / FINANCIAL MAIL

Bookmaker’s reaction to Rainbow Bridge’s win in Saturday’s R1m Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge was to slash the six-year-old’s odds from 7-1 to 9-2 for the Vodacom Durban July.

This was Rainbow Bridge’s 11th career win and took his career earnings to more than R8m.

In the July trainer Eric Sands’ charge will be looking to make amends for his defeat in 2020 when — sent off 4-1 favourite — he could only manage sixth place behind Belgarion.

Luke Ferraris, who has now won three times on the son of Ideal World, kept his mount up to his work in Saturday’s race to beat the highveld raider Catch TwentyTwo, who has excelled this term for trainer Paul Peter.

“He’s got his quirks but pulled off a great win,” enthused Ferraris in the post-race interview.

The expected challenge from the favourite’s main rivals never materialised. Let’s look at their performances.

Belgarion: Easy in the market (25-3) and finished fifth, three lengths behind the winner. The five-year-old was having his first start since the Cape Met and bookies were impressed enough to trim his July odds from 8-1 to 7-1. The intriguing question is whether S’manga Khumalo, his pilot on Saturday, has been offered the ride or whether Richard Fourie will try to make it back-to-back July wins?

Cirillo: Led the field into the straight and a big run — similar to his third in last season's Champions Cup — looked on the cards. However, the five-year-old compounded quickly, finishing last, eight lengths behind the winner. On this performance — pushed out to 66-1 — he has no chance in the July if among final acceptors.

Nevertheless, Chris van Niekerk, who owns Cirillo, will be delighted with the performance of Chimichuri Run who ran third to earn a R100,000 cheque.

Jet Dark: The Trippi colt was making his first appearance since his victory over Rainbow Bridge in the Queen’s Plate. Several pundits expected him to again trouble the Sands inmate, but the colt never mounted a challenge (beaten more than three lengths) and must have been ring-rusty. Interesting to see if the three-year-old stays in KwaZulu-Natal for the Champions Cup or returns to the Cape.

Though Lucky Houdalakis had to settle for the runner-up berth with Wisteria Walk in the grade 2 Tibouchina Stakes, the Vaal trainer may have better luck with his two runners at Monday’s meeting at Turffontein.

Dark Tide has been a good money earner for the stable this season and the Captain Of All gelding has the chance of a fourth career win when he takes on Nordic Rebel, Ballon D’Or and The Contractor in the seventh race.

Despite being seven years of age, Nordic Rebel continues to pay his way and the gelding is weighted to turn the table’s on Warren Kennedy’s mount The Contractor. The latter is bidding to complete a four-timer.

Sean Tarry fits the blinkers to Ballon D’Or and — having just his third start this year — the four-year-old should take a hand in the finish with just 53.5kg on his back.

The fifth race will be contested over the marathon trip of 2,600m and Houdalakis’ three-year-old filly Twice The Act has already proved she has plenty of stamina. Bred at Gary Player’s Stud, the daughter of Twice Over is preferred to facile maiden winner White Fang.

Smiley River was noted staying on well in her latest outing and swingers with Phillip Labuschagne’s runner could pay a decent dividend.

Selections

1st Race: (1) Fort Commander (7) Talladega (2) Confessor (8) Earl Of Cardigan

2nd Race: No Selection

3rd Race: (10) Ultra Quick (1) Arkaan (2) Frontline Fighter (8) Spring Will Come

4th Race: (3) Pick A Lily (5) Lil Wahoo (11) Runaway Princess (1) Dancing Arabian

5th Race: (8) Twice The Act (2) White Fang (9) Smiley River (7) Chevron

6th Race: (2) Katzenthal (6) Laird Of Breedon (10) Mount Athos (7) La Sicaria

7th Race: (4) Dark Tide (8) Ballon D'Or (2) Nordic Rebel (1) The Contractor

8th Race: (1) Tight Five (9) Double Martini (7) Back To Black (11) Barneys Pride

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