Former champion jockey Gavin Lerena has an excellent book of rides at Turffontein on Tuesday but gives himself only a 50-50 chance of competing at the meeting.                          

The 35-year-old missed Saturday’s meeting at the Vaal and will only make a decision whether he can ride on the morning of the meeting.

“I’ve been suffering from a gastro problem but I’m hoping to be well enough as I’ve got some good rides,” said Lerena.

Five of Lerena’s six booked rides are for trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren and it is possible he could boot home three winners for the stable.

“I consider Celestial Love [second race] and Say When [fourth] as my best mounts,” said Lerena.

Celestial Love, a daughter of What A Winter, has finished runner-up in her two starts and looks ready to leave the maiden ranks. Her chief dangers are likely to be Eskimo Pie and Sonny Quinn.

In the first leg of the jackpot, Lerena teams up with the Silvano filly Say When, who is owned and bred by Maine Chance Farms. The three-year-old started at 20-1 when second on debut, which suggests she may have surprised her trainer, but she looks the one to beat from her pole position draw.

Sean Tarry’s representative Aryaam, a daughter of Dynasty, also has a favourable barrier and looks the right horse for the exacta.

Many punters will consider Lerena’s sixth race mount, Manterio, as a banker bet and he states “he’s a nice horse with a favourite’s chance”.

However, the worry for Manterio’s supporters is the presence of an expensive Tarry runner, Track Commander, who cost owner Chris van Niekerk R2.4m when bought at the 2019 CTS Ready-To-Run Sale.

Track Commander is out of the Horse Chestnut mare Cherry Orchard, who is a half-sister to five-time winner Red Dor. The colt finished midfield on his recent debut and is sure to step up on that effort over this longer trip.

Top trainer Mike de Kock has booked Lerena for the ride on his three-year-old Bold Resolve in the seventh race. This R600,000 yearling failed to justify his favourite status when ridden by S’manga Khumalo at the Vaal in November.

De Kock takes the blinkers off the son of Master Of My Fate this time and he will be hoping the gelding can open his account by beating another Tarry inmate, Earl.

The Mike and Adam Azzie stable saddled a double at the Vaal on Saturday and the booking of leading rider Lyle Hewitson for Wonderous in the eighth race catches the eye.

The daughter of Querari has a wide draw to overcome, but this race is over 2,000m so Hewitson has plenty of time to overcome this disadvantage. Watching Closely, Super Duper and Immaculate all need considering for exotic perms.

There are a number of newcomers in the first race, including Aussie-bred Masaaken and daughters of Dynasty, Pomodoro, Master Of My Fate, Vercingetorix and Futura.

Interestingly, Lerena rides the daughter of Dynasty, Bold Decision, and trainer Janse van Vuuren appears confident of a good run, stating in Winning Form that “she’s a good-actioned filly and could possibly earn on work shown at home”.

Tarry says Dark Cloud, a daughter of Pomodoro, “may need the experience”, while Fatalistic, a daughter of Master Of My Fate, “may need further”.


1st Race: No Selection

2nd Race: (16) Celestial Love (1) Sonny Quinn (8) Eskimo Pie (9) Imitation Game

3rd Race: (12) Mynage (5) Euro Cent (10) Joe Harman (11) Ushuaia

4th Race: (11) Say When (5) Aryaam (6) Chloris (9) Offsides

5th Race: (2) Magical Flight (11) Mauby (4) Fort Snow (3) Keepingthepeace

6th Race: (5) Manterio (12) Track Commander (8) Wolffs World (2) Waltzing Al

7th Race: (9) Bold Resolve (13) Earl (1) Great Esteem (10) Passing Storm

8th Race: (11) Wonderous (9) Watching Closely (1) Super Duper (16) Immaculate


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