THERE was a period during Saturday afternoon’s proceedings where The Grand Heritage, sponsored by World Sports Betting, managed to do the unthinkable and trend on Twitter.

All this on a day when the historic occasion, which saw 27 horses charge down the straight at the Vaal Racecourse, was competing with a Springbok fixture, a major domestic football final and the usual fare from the international soccer leagues.

What can be read into this achievement? Well the fact that so many people felt the need to share their experience at the inaugural running of this event is a sign that the majority felt that this day, which saw the Johan Janse van Vuuren trained Irish Pride emerge as the victor, was a resounding success.

One person who would definitely say they had the greatest of times is jockey Gavin Lerena as he claimed five winners, including the main event, on the 10 race programme. His first win of the afternoon was in the third race aboard the well-fancied Doosra before taking the fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth races.

In The Grand Heritage, sponsored by World Sports Betting, itself Lerena managed to put a little over a length between his mount and the chasing pack at the line, after a gap had opened up at the right time aboard the four-year-old with a preference for coming from off the pace.

Lerena would also go on to ride the winner of the supporting feature, The Grand Heritage Consolation aboard five-year-old Prince of Orange for the Candice Dawson stable in one of the most exciting finishes on the day, beating off challenges from Counterstroke and Forest Fox.

The racing was supplemented by the entertainment on offer with the beer garden providing those in attendance with respite from a glorious summer afternoon while the children’s play area proved to be a hit once again.

This event also kickstarted the “Summer In The City” as part of the Highveld feature season and would have provided plenty of momentum with the next event, the Joburg Spring Challenge (Gr 2) taking place at Turffontein Racecourse on Saturday, 8 October.

Other events to look forward to are the Peermont Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile on 5 November, The International Jockeys Challenge on Sunday 20 November and the Gauteng SANSUI Summer Cup on 26 November.

For more information about these events visit: or call 011 681 1589.

Photo: Irish Pride – a host friends and connections welcomed Gavin Lerena into the winner’s box.