Former champion jockey Gavin Lerena is bullish that his mount Copper Mountain has a solid each-way chance in Saturday's R750,000 Daily News 2000 at Hollywoodbets Greyville.

Copper Mountain is a 10-1 chance in ante-post betting for the grade 1 race with his stablemate Second Base, the mount of Warren Kennedy, much shorter at 5-1.

In an interview with Business Day, Lerena said: “I’m not saying we can beat Linebacker and Kommet, but what I do know is that we’ll be finishing at them at the end of the race.

“Both Copper Mountain and Second Base are in a very good space — both have been working well at home. You just have to love Copper Mountain’s run behind Got The Greenlight in the Horse Chestnut.”

Asked whether he had the choice of mounts of the Johan Janse van Vuuren duo, Lerena said: “No, I wouldn’t say so. Johan has a mile feature race in KwaZulu-Natal in mind for Copper Mountain and — if Second Base runs well on Saturday — I’m sure they’d offer Warren the ride in the July.”

As it stands, the champion jockey’s name has been linked with four horses: War Of Athena, favourite for Saturday’s Woolavington 2000; Second Base; Netta (also a Woolavington runner); and facile WSB 1900 winner She’s A Keeper.

With big pools expected at Saturday’s meeting, Lerena’s optimism suggests a quartet bet could be the way to go. A wager double floating Linebacker and Copper Mountain with Kommetdieding, Second Base, Rascallion and The Gatekeeper would cost R144.

Lerena, who celebrates his 36th birthday three days before the July, has six booked mounts at Thursday’s meeting at the Vaal. He has each-way chances on Grace From Above (fourth race) and Hey Bennie (sixth).

Because the race is a maiden handicap, Hey Bennie gets 2.5kg from stablemate Curfew, who boasts the better form. The Mogok gelding should be in tip-top shape in his third outing following a break.

Jumeriah Gold, who showed signs of life in his latest start, and Mister Blue Sky warrant inclusion in jackpot and Pick 6 perms.

Grace From Above faces no easy task in the first leg of the jackpot as his rivals include Castle Corner, long overdue for a maiden win, and Sean Tarry’s lightly raced three-year-old Successful Ruler.

After the no-show of Good Queen Bess at Turffontein last Saturday, punters are unlikely to fall over themselves to back another Mike de Kock import, Sybaris, in the third race.

Nevertheless, the daughter of Fastnet Rock doesn’t have to be anything special to make a winning debut as she’s opposed by some moderate opponents. Lerena’s mount, Bold Decision, may be her toughest rival.

De Kock’s three-year-old Nartjie returns from a 10-week break in the seventh race, but it is no surprise that bookmakers have chalked up Lyle Hewitson’s mount Willow Express as the early favourite.

This Tarry inmate — a son of Willow Magic — is chasing a hat-trick after two wins at Turffontein during March. Fit and well, the grey will be hard to beat and is preferred to his more exposed stable companion Tree Tumbo.


1st Race: (5) Abalus (8) Silvery Blue (1) Smelting (3) Frosted Ice

2nd Race: (1) Imitation Game (11) Miss Magician (7) Hurricane Lomu (2) Promise To Dream

3rd Race: (11) Sybaris (1) Bold Decision (2) Oceans Pride (4) Sky View

4th Race: (2) Successful Ruler (1) Castle Corner (3) Grace From Above (10) Laird Of Breedon

5th Race: (3) Sophia’s First (1) Wedding Bliss (2) Siren Of Greece (4) Super Duper

6th Race: (6) Hey Bennie (1) Curfew (4) Jumeirah Gold (2) Mister Blue Sky

7th Race: (2) Willow Express (1) Tree Tumbo (4) Nartjie (5) Bold Jazz

8th Race: (2) Belle Of Belize (6) Magic Choice (8) Alex The Great (1) Love Lies


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