Half-brothers Golden Ducat and Rainbow Bridge provided racing enthusiasts with one of the finishes of the day at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday, when they ran first and second in the G1 World Sports Betting Champions Cup (1800m).
Both geldings are trained by Eric Sands for owners Mike and Norma Rattray, and both were bred by Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein.
Defending champion Rainbow Bridge was well fancied to win the Champions Cup for a second year running, despite coming into Saturday’s race off a sixth place finish in the G1 Vodacom Durban July.
Nontheless, punters stuck with the six-year-old who was sent out the 15-10 tote favourite, with dual July winner Do It Again easing out in the betting from 14-10 out to 18-10.
Do It Again’s stablemate Crown Towers (40-1) went off to make the running, and led early from Cirillo (20-1) and Tristful (16-1).
With Rainbow Bridge running on strongly down the inside, and Cirillo staying on gallantly down the centre, the Champions Cup finish looked poised to be a thriller.
However, jockey Donovan Dillon knew what he had under him, and he bought Golden Ducat with a strong late run, which saw the Philanthropist gelding get up in the shadow of the post to deny older half-brother Rainbow Bridge a second win in the Champions Cup by the shortest of short heads.
For a second year in a row, Cirillo took third in the Champions Cup, with the Sean Tarry trained entire beaten just a neck at the wire. Do It Again stayed on for fourth, beaten under a length by the winner.
Now a winner of three of his nine starts, Golden Ducat claimed his second G1 win (he was also victorious in the 2020 G1 ARF Commemorative Cape Derby) in a time of 108.09.