TOP JOCKEY Ryan Moore has been picked to ride Rainbow Bridge in South Africa’s richest conditions race, the Sun Met at Kenilworth, after a controversial decision was made to replace regular rider Gavin Lerena. Moore has never ridden at Kenilworth and is yet to win a major South African race, with the 1m2f Grade One contest, which carries a total prize purse of R3 million (Dh759,000, $206,000) on 1 February, an ideal name to paste on what is an already glowing resume. Rainbow Bridge is owned by octogenarian Mike Rattray and trained locally by Eric Sands. The 5yo Ideal World gelding won last year’s Met under four time champion Anton Marcus, but Sands was not entirely happy with the way the horse had been ridden by Lerena in his last two races, where he placed third, and told Rattray he wanted a change of rider.
Rattray said: “Whatever he decides it’s his business. As far as I’m concerned I employ a trainer and he must make the decisions. “We wanted Frankie Dettori but we couldn’t get hold of him. I knew bloodstock agent Jehan Malherbe had a link to Ryan so I spoke to Jehan about getting him. Gavin was more understanding than I expected.” Former champion Lerena said: “The Met was Rainbow Bridge’s mission and to be ‘jocked off’ when the horse is going over his right trip is a bitter pill to swallow. “I believe he goes very well for me. He doesn’t overrace and he runs as straight as an arrow, whereas he hangs with some of the other jockeys who have ridden him. “All the best to Ryan, he’s one of the greatest, but he doesn’t know Rainbow Bridge.”