HALFWAY TO HEAVEN SET TO DOMINATE VODACOM DURBAN JULY
The Wilgerbosdrift based Halfway To Heaven, who appears a shoe-in for this season’s title of South African Broodmare Of The Year, is set to be doubly represented in the 2019 G1 Vodacom Durban July –South Africa’s most famous horse-race.
The mare’s four-year-old son Rainbow Bridge pulled a draw of four for the July, while his year younger half-brother Hawwaam, remarkably enough, will jump from barrier three.
The Eric Sands trained Rainbow Bridge (Ideal World) gets the services of jockey Gavin Lerena (who ironically used to partner Hawwaam), while the once beaten Hawwaam (by Silvano) will, once again, be ridden by Anton Marcus.
Between them, the half-brothers, both bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein, have won 12 of their combined 17 starts and have amassed in total of more than R9.4 million in prize money between them.
Rainbow Bridge’s six wins from ten starts include the 2019 G1 Sun Met, 2018 G3 Matchem Stakes, 2018 G3 Winter Guineas and 2018 G3 Winter Classic, while his three-year-old half-brother Hawwaam’s six wins, from just seven starts include all of the 2019 G1 The Premier’s Champions Challenge, G1 Daily News 2000, G1 SA Classic, 2018 G2 Dingaans and 2019 G3 Tony Ruffel Stakes.
While Rainbow Bridge was a R300 000 buy from the 2016 National Yearling Sale, his half-brother made R700 000 more than that when knocked down to Shadwell South Africa at the 2017 National Sale.
Remarkably, Rainbow Bridge and Hawwaam are Halfway To Heaven’s only two runners to date!
Her two-year-old son Golden Ducat (by Philanthropist) is yet to race, while Halfway To Heaven’s yearling is a full-sister to Hawwaam.
Currently in foal to Maine Chance Farms’ Oasis Dream horse Querari, Halfway To Heaven (Jet Master-Pas De Basque) was a high-class racemare in her own right. Trained, like Rainbow Bridge, by Eric Sands, the temperamental filly won seven times from 1200-1800m, with her wins including the G3 Prix du Cap and Listed Off To Stud Handicap.
Halfway To Heaven is the only stakes winner produced by her eight time winning dam Pas De Basque, a daughter of Rambo Dancer and the stakes placed, 3 time winning Our Casey’s Boy Our Elegant Girl.
Her fourth dam is the New Zealand bred mare Spes Royale, a daughter of the Never Say Die son Kazakstaan. Spes Royale herself was descended from the Phalaris mare Firecrest –whose son Enfield sired Melbourne Cup winner Rimfire.
High-class Australian galloper Gold Brick (whose wins included the now G1 AJC Australian Derby) is another descended from Firecrest (whose granddam Hair Trigger II won the Park Hill Stakes).
This is also the family of 2000 Guineas winner The Wizard.
Image of Halfway to Heaven, courtesy of Wilgerbosdrift