Ryan Moore on overseas mission after picking up plum Sun Met ride
Ryan Moore will fly to South Africa to partner Rainbow Bridge in the Sun Met at Kenilworth, the country's richest conditions race, after a controversial decision was made to jock off regular rider Gavin Lerena.
Moore has never ridden at Kenilworth and a major South African race is still missing from his CV. The 1m2f Grade 1, which has total prize-money of R3 million (£159,000/€187,591), takes place on February 1.
Rainbow Bridge, owned by octogenarian Mike Rattray and trained locally by Eric Sands, won last year's Met under four-time champion Anton Marcus.
However, Sands was not entirely happy with the way the horse had been ridden in his last two races and told Rattray he wanted a change.
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."
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