Anton Marcus will be aboard the Mike de Kock-trained Hawwaam in the 2019 Vodacom Durban July and Gavin Lerena will be riding the Eric Sands-trained Rainbow Bridge.
Sands and owner Mike Rattray had been under the impression Anton Marcus would be aboard their charge Rainbow Bridge.
However, Marcus made his intentions of riding Hawwaam clear even before he rode Rainbow Bridge in the Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge last Saturday.
Sands said he would not want somebody on his horse who did not want to be there and a replacement was sought.
Lerena had stated sometime ago he would jump at the opportunity to ride Rainbow Bridge in the July, although at the time of making that statement he was probably not reckoning with Hawwaam being in the big race.
Lerena was originally the regular rider of Hawwaam but as he is retained by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Studs he had to ride Cascapedia in the Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge in early May and thus lost the Hawwaam ride to Marcus.
Hawwaam duly won the Champions Challenge and De Kock stuck with Marcus for the Grade 1 Daily News 2000, which Hawwaam also won. – mikedekockracing.com