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.

Tex Lerena with jockeys Ryan Moore (left), Frankie Dettori and William Buick.
Tex Lerena with jockeys Ryan Moore (left), Frankie Dettori and William Buick.

“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 Lerena with a playful Frankel.
Gavin Lerena with a playful Frankel.

“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!

Back to business: Tex helps out at the family's restaurant.
Back to business: Tex helps out at the family’s restaurant.



  1. Really would Love to see Gavin In the UK, I Clue up all the Guys in the UK on How good a rider Gavin is for the past few years on my racing Groups in the UK, Dereck Thompson(Commentator) never misses a chance to get in on the action, the man is pretty average race caller but seemingly gets all the top gigs, Only Joking Of course, if you are sad Thommo will do his best to cheer you up with his non-stop Banter and Poor Jokes you just can’t help smiling at his energy