Gavin Lerena strives to close gap in jockey race
The Gauteng-based rider will be keen to get among the winners with his seven mounts at the Vaal
Despite riding a double at Saturday’s Sun Met meeting at Kenilworth, Gavin Lerena remains in second spot behind Greg Cheyne in this season’s jockeys championship.
Consequently, the Gauteng-based rider will be keen to get among the winners with his seven mounts at the Vaal on Thursday.
Trainer Geoff Woodruff saddled a double at Tuesday’s Vaal meeting and Lerena’s best ride could be Red Ridge who represents the stable in the ninth race. A daughter of Silvano bred at Lammerskraal Stud, this filly came home a comfortable winner of her maiden outing over this course and distance a fortnight ago. This race is considerably tougher with several rivals — notably Wendish and Polly Wolly Doodle — likely to make Lerena’s mount pull out all the stops.
Wendish, three years older than Red Ridge, is a useful performer on her day and should go well in the hands of young Lyle Hewitson. Another promising youngster, Callan Murray, rides recent winner Polly Wolly Doodle for trainer Candice Dawson.
However, Lerena rode Polly Wolly Doodle in her recent success and — while he is sure to have been offered the ride
again — has opted instead for Red Ridge.
Randjesfontein trainer Roy Magner will be hoping that Lerena can get his three-year-old Shortstop home in a competitive eighth race. This son of Rebel King has paid his way this term with a number of places so a visit to the No1 box is overdue.
The opposition includes The Shredder from Paul Matchett’s yard and this gelding is also knocking on the door for a second win. Of the remainder, Mutakayyef and Dragon’s Breath make most appeal.
Don Christo won easily under JP van der Merwe in his last start, but trainer Scott Kenny has called up Randall Simons to partner the five-year-old in the seventh race.
The son of Kahal should go well once again with Dragoon, Sleepinseattle and Lerena’s mount, August Duke, likely to pose the main threats in this 1,200m contest.
Andrew Fortune, who rides Sleepinseattle, is still very much in contention for the jockey’s title and he is likely to fancy his chances of winning the fourth race on Grant Maroun’s runner King Of Mani.
Also a son of Kahal, King Of Mani has been placed in each of his past three races and Maroun will be hoping for some Fortune magic to get his three-year-old out of the maiden ranks.
Muzi Yeni has each-way claims on owner Peter White’s It’s A True Story, while King Of Mani’s stablemate Prince Of War could also finish in the money.
Another Woodruff inmate, Trip To Troy, looks on a handy mark of 52.5kg in the second race over 1,600m. This Trippi gelding boasts consistent form and his recent second — when ridden by Lerena — points to him going one better this time.
Analyse This has been expensive to follow so perhaps the right horse for the swinger could be Sean Tarry’s four-year-old, Smartifact.
Tora Tora, who represents Scott Kenny’s stable in the third race, is another possible winner for Fortune as his mount is set to receive 3kg from Lucky Houdalakis’ recent winner, Street Flyer. Another runner to consider is Aza Arrow.