SA Jockeys Association Chairman Tex Lerena accompanied his son Gavin to the recent Shergar Cup, at which the talented rider booted home a double.
Still basking in the glory of UK racing and his son’s achievements, Tex reflected on the trip and said: “This was another good experience for Gavin following his stint in Hong Kong and he was a hit with the UK racegoers, which was heartwarming.
“We also caught up with many friends, including jockeys we’ve met over the years, and after the Shergar Cup we decided to stay on to witness Frankie Dettori’s 3000th career winner, it was a joy to be on course at Newmarket when it happened. In between all of this, we went to see Frankel at stud.” (Scroll to bottom for Tex’s Frankie video).
Lerena shares Gavin’s future vision of an extended riding stint overseas and he commented: “As we all know it’s highly competitive between the leading riders overseas. You need a big stable, a retainer.
“Gavin can probably go across like a journeyman picking up rides here and there, but one has to remember there are two homes to look after when you base yourself overseas and it’s never easy. We know he has the talent and he’s proven himself in the best company, but we’ll wait for the right opportunity to come along.”
Lerena and his wife Avril run the family business, Grilled Cafe, off the Marlboro exit in Johannesburg and it’s a growing concern frequented by racing personalities – indeed Gavin and his wife Vicky came for breakfast at the same time we popped in for coffee on Wednesday.
“We’ve been trading here for two years, we pride ourselves on prawns and chicken, the best around,” said Lerena. And yes, everyone is welcome!