JOCKEY Gavin Lerena has not come out of the starting blocks in the new season like a Usain Bolt. But the 35-year-old still looks the rider to follow at Turffontein on Saturday, writes DAVID MOLLETT.
Winning Form statistics to September 21 put Lerena 16 winners behind national log leader S’Manga Khumalo with Lyle Hewitson and Greg Cheyne following close.
Of Lerena’s seven mounts at the city track, the pick could be the Azzie stable inmate Java House in the final leg of the Pick Six. It is a worry that she is a three-year-old taking on older rivals, but the wellbred daughter of Pathfork may be up to the task.
Java House’s form figures make impressive reading. It includes a third behind Stuart Pettigrew’s Equus winner Anything Goes and more recently a fourth behind Tahitian Orana in which she received a bump 500m out.
Hewitson rode the Azzie stable filly that day, but he now switches to the hat-trick-seeking Ululate. She hails from the stable of St John Gray, who is riding the crest of a wave. Trainer statistics — to September 21 — put the Randjiesfontein conditioner in third place in the national log behind Paul Peter and Justin Snaith.
Peter could get Lerena off to a good start on Saturday as he has booked him to partner Global Ransom in the first race. The colt put in a promising performance on his recent debut in a Work Riders event.
Nevertheless, Thumbs Up — placed in each of her six starts — looks the right horse in
this race as she finished a creditable fourth behind Ecstatic Green in the grade 2 Debutante Stakes.
Peter and Lerena also team up in the eighth race with Way Of The World who is chasing a hat-trick. Perhaps the filly has more on her plate this time against Leading Fast, but she
has got pole position and should run another big race.
Though Lerena’s mount Glowtoria will have her supporters in the seventh race, the runner who appeals the most is Ashley Fortune’s filly Afternoon Tea. Like Java House she is a daughter of Pathfork and her sixth behind Vernichey in the Allan Roberston
was a good effort.
Mike de Kock’s Flower Alley filly, Southern Charm, warrants inclusion in exotic bets as
she is lightly raced and is better drawn than Afternoon Tea.
De Kock will be pleased that Gin Fizz got her act together last time out and the enigmatic daughter of Soft Falling Rain could follow up in the first leg of the jackpot. Thequestion here is whether the four-year-old can concede 11kg to Ring Of Fire.
Young apprentice Philasande Mxoli has been among the winners recently and his claim will reduce Ring Of Fire’s weight to just 48kg. It is also worth noting that the gelding suffered a slipped saddle in his most recent outing.
Gimme A Wave is returning from a 32-week break, so may need the run, which brings Roy Magner’s six-year-old Valbonne very much into the picture.
The sixth race might produce the best finish of the afternoon with the climax likely to be
fought out by the Fortune duo of Captain Morisco and Gold Season, Johan Janse van Vuuren’s duo of Copper Mountain and Second Base and Sean Tarry’s three-year-old, Bowie.
While Captain Morisco gets the nod, all five warrant inclusion in this leg of the Pick Six
with Java House a banker in the ninth.
—from Business Day.