RAINBOW BRIDGE WINS CAPE TOWN MET
Rainbow Bridge continued his excellent record in the race when he captured the Grade 1 Cape Town Met for the second time in three years.
Under a superb and patient ride from Luke Ferraris, Eric Sands-trained Rainbow Bridge came from last to get the better of favourite Belgarion close home and won going away by 1.75 lengths.
Third place went to outsider Sovereign Spirit, another 2.25 lengths back, with Do It Again in fourth, another 0.50 lengths back in fourth.
Rainbow Bridge started at 6-1 while Belgarion went off favourite at 19-10.
The six-year-old son of Ideal World out of that brilliant broodmare Halfway to Heaven, won this race in 2019 and was runner-up last year to One World. He is owned by Mike and Norma Rattray.
There was a fight on for the lead after they broke but eventually it was Gavin Lerena on Cirillo who got to the front from Running Brave and Silver Operator, while the back three were Do It Again, Belgarion and Rainbow Bridge.
Once the field came for home, three-year-old Princess Calla moved in for the kill while Sovereign Spirit, the biggest outsider in the field, started to make up ground on the fence. With 250m to run Richard Fourie brought Belgarion on the scene and he raced into the lead, looking the likely winner. But once Ferraris got his mount in the clear towards the outside, Rainbow Bridge took off and easily caught Belgarion.
Ferraris has only just completed his apprenticeship and admitted winning this race “feels surreal”.
“It’s fantastic!” he exclaimed. “This is the highlight of my career so far. I don’t think you can beat the Met. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”
Explaining why he opted to come to the outside of the track, Ferraris explained. “Everybody knows Rainbow Bridge hangs to the outside and I didn’t want to put him between horses where he was going to hang and would cause him a problem.
“I wanted him on the outside so if he was going to hang he would be too far away from horses and could do it freely. That sort of worked out well. He made his way to the outside but then, at the back of your mind you think if there are no other horses near him that could have been a problem.
“He did run into some problems in the straight but good horses get you out of it.”
Discussing tactics, Ferraris added: “Mr Sands left it up to me and from my side I just wanted him nice and relaxed. I wasn’t too fazed where I was.
“We found ourselves at the back but that’s just how it happened. My main concern was that he was relaxed, which I was happy about, and when he switched off I knew that a soon as I asked him in the straight there was going to be something there.
“He gives you three lengths so fast and after that he starts to idle a little bit, and because I pulled the trigger so late the three lengths took us all the way to the line.”
Sands knows what it’s like to win the Met and said he felt comfortable having Ferraris on board.
“I sent Luke a SMS last night to say I’m happy to have him on board and that he had convinced me he was the right man for the horse.
“If I must be honest when they turned for home I was watching Golden Ducat because I thought Rainbow Bridge was a little far out of his ground. And when Luke switched him out it looked like the inside horses had the upper hand.”
Fourie commented that he had the run of the race on Belgarion and everything went his way. “I was just beaten by the better horse on the day,” he said.