Peruvian Gomez out to prove his worth in SA racing
In his home country, Carlos Herrera Gomez has won their equivalent of the Durban July — the Derby Nacional — three times
If you overheard someone saying “Carlos Herrera Gomez is in town”, it’s a fair assumption that a South American fighter is in Johannesburg for a boxing bout.
Not so. Senor Gomez is, in fact, a successful Peruvian jockey who — mainly due to the urgings of his uncle Guillermo Figueroa — has decided to try his luck in SA. In his home country, he has won their equivalent of the Durban July — the Derby Nacional — three times taking the race in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Figueroa, who retired from the saddle a few years ago, enjoyed a successful career here winning a number of big races and his services were often sought after by the top stables.
Carlos Gomez had his first mounts on the Highveld last Saturday and one could say he scored a second-round knockout when riding his first SA winner at Turffontein on Tuesday.
Trainer Paul Peter has given Gomez his break in this country and he was rewarded when the Peruvian scored on his four year-old filly, Angelic, in Tuesday’s fourth race beating Gavin Lerena on the favourite, Redberry Wood.
"It's exciting - he's done very well in Peru and we're very happy to get him," commented Peter after Angelic's win.
Gomez is back at the city track this afternoon where he has four rides for Peter - Rosario (third race), Royal Future (fourth), Rebel's Champ (eighth) and Quebec Queen in the tenth.
Of his quartet, possibly Royal Future has the best chance as the daughter of Mogok ran two promising races before finishing unplaced behind Press My Button at the Vaal in August. The four year-old was reported to be not striding out that day, but Peter will have fixed that problem for today's race.
Nevertheless, Royal Future certainly doesn't rate a Pick 6 banker and punters should also include Pink, Miss Patriot and Vega Fox in this exotic bet. Pink, trained by Lucky Houdalakis and the mount of Gavin Lerena, will be out to recoup recent Turffontein losses.
Gomez has an each-way shout on Quebec Queen in the final event on the card as the five year-old hasn't run badly all year and did finish second behind Gold Dawn at today's track in August. The top selection is Believe Me whose merit-rating has dropped following three unplaced runs.
Believe Me's stablemate, Keyboogie, could notch the second win of his career when he takes on nine rivals in the seventh race. Hennie Greyling partnered the well-bred four year-old into second place here last month and he'll be delighted that trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren has entrusted him with the ride again.
There are a number of runners who could make life tough for Keyboogie including Alpine Glacier, a good second last time out, Pillaroftheearth and Erico Verdonese's Jay Peg colt, Copper Jay.
It might be best not to mention New Zealand in the presence of Springbok rugby fans, but a horse of that name could also emerge victorious in today's sixth race. Trained by Sean Tarry and the mount of champion jockey Lyle Hewitson, this daughter of Trippi is bred to relish today's 2000m trip.
Trainer St John Gray won last Saturday's Joburg Spring Challenge with longshot Captain Aldo, but his runner in this race, Stunned, will be one of the leading fancies with Lerena booked for the ride.
Muzi Yeni has ridden Miyoshi twice this term and he'll be hoping it's third time lucky for trainer Gary Alexander's runner. The four year-old could start favourite following his good second behind Royal Utopia.
1st Race: (9) Myview (1) Corrido (6) Brave Detail (2) National Aim
2nd Race: (6) Monopolize (1) Chipofftheoldblok (8) Slay The Dragon (9) Vontreo
3rd Race: (12) Sea Venture (9) Seneca Falls (1) Rehaana Lass (7) Daring Damsel
4th Race: (1) Royal Future (14) Pink (9) Vega Fox (8) Miss Patriot
5th Race: (1) Aeronautical (2) Earth Sky (3) The Bosbok (5) Red Invader
6th Race: (6) New Zealand (2) Miyoshi (1) Stunned (8) Gift For The Gap
7th Race: (8) Keyboogie (4) Alpine Glacier (3) Pillaroftheearth (2) Copper Jay
8th Race: (1) Rocky Valley (6) Kissable (2) Rebel's Champ (5) Frederico's Dream
9th Race: (1) Redberry Lane (5) Running Brave (4) Green Top (3) Mazari
10th Race: (5) Believe Me (4) Quebec Queen (10) Diva Faustina (6) Oh Mercy Me