THERE are bettors who enjoy playing with combinations of numbers, instead of focusing on form. They will be watching Race 2 over 1200m at Scottsville on Sunday with their eyes peeled.

Here’s the story: Apprentice Dylan Lerena will be having his first ever ride in a race. It’s an exciting day for the 17-year-old from the SA Jockeys Academy who will throw a leg over Number One, Chicago Beat, a lightly-raced four-year-old colt with patchy form from the Duncan Howells stable. They are drawn in stall number 15.

An open-faced, friendly young man like this needs protection before all those wily old dogs get a hold of him! Dylan Lerena (17), rides in his first race, Sunday.
An open-faced, friendly young man like this needs protection from the wily older dogs who will be waiting to pounce! Dylan Lerena (17), rides in his first race, Sunday.

Believe it or not, on Dylan’s left side will be jumping Number 14 Scent of The Tiger, drawn 16 and to be ridden by his cousin, Brandon Lerena.

Just one more stall away, in box 17, we find another Duncan Howells runner, Number 12 Gunpowder Plot, a first-timer to be ridden by Dylan’s other cousin, Gavin Lerena.

So we have a Lerena trio, Numbers 1,12 and 14, and they’re drawn 15-16-17 in a Maiden Plate – there are punters who will take box swingers and trifectas and the like, hoping that they could have a strike of betting lightning with the six numbers in question, or with the all-Lerena combinations that will certainly yield handsome dividends.

Interestingly neither Gavin nor Brandon won on their first ever rides. Can Dylan break the mould? Some will argue that Howells has put the Champion Gavin Lerena on the ”wrong one” for a coup on the young Lerena’s mount.

Or perhaps Brandon will beat them both?

Others will be watching out of common interest: How will Dylan’s top class cousins guide and protect him in the race? Can they do that?  Or, simply, how will young Dylan shape in his first race alongside his fully licensed colleagues?

Dylan’s Grandfather, Spike, rode successfully and became one of the country’s leading trainers. His uncle, Juan Carlos “Tex” Lerena, was a successful jockey and is today still the Chairman of the SA Jockeys Association. Tex’s son Gavin has become a world-class rider, while cousin Brandon is an up-and-coming talent in his own right.

We wish young Dylan well. He hails from generations of top horsemen and things are bound to work out for him!

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