GAVIN Lerena’s first seven rides in the United Kingdom have yielded a winner and two third places, a good start in any book considering that three of them were no-hopers. From what we’ve seen this week – like Howard Jones sang in his hit from way back when – “Things Can Only Get Better”.

Lerena’s winner came at Newmarket yesterday when he rode four-year-old Zzorro (7-2) to victory for Amanda Perrett in a contest on the straight mile. Perrett is the same trainer who provided him with a 25-1 winner at last year’s Ascot Shergar Cup.

Zzorro was in the leading line, briefly headed 200m out but fought back with a sterling effort to win going away.

Lerena rode Charlie Hills’ Thafeera, 2-1 favourite in Race 6 over 1600m, but she was found wanting over the last 200m after making the pace early, and finished third.

As things settle down, Lerena is likely to be offered more rides from stables outside of his Lambourne base, and perhaps in time he’ll get to sit on something decent trained by Hills.

Tomorrow, our man is on the bench.

Screenshot from Race 4 at Newmarket: Zzorro (inside left), starts fighting back at his outside rival.