Gavin Lerena on an April roll

Form: Lerena has the highest winning percentage of the month

Gavin Lerena has been in devastating form this month at the time of writing had already banked 13 winners.

Interestingly, log leader Richard Fourie has ridden 23 winners. However, while Fourie’s 23 successes have come off 110 rides, Lerena has taken just 40 rides to reach 13 wins. That is a percentage of 30.23 against 20.91 for Fourie.

Lerena’s hot run can continue at the Vaal on Tuesday when he has picked up six rides on the eight-race card. He can get straight out of the blocks in the opening event where he rides Far Reaching for trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren in Race 1, a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1000m for fillies on the Classic track.

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This daughter of Vercingetorix was well supported on debut to go off favourite at 5-4 but found one too good in Pinatubo. That has turned out to be a pretty strong form line in that two winners from two runs have already come out of it.

She does face some decent opposition, in particular Kindred Heart, who has two seconds and two thirds in her four runs.

Far Reaching should come off strongly from her debut performance and looks the runner to beat.

While Enchanting Lady has been costly to follow, Lerena could finally end a frustrating run of places in Race 3, a Maiden Plate over 1000m, aboard Fanie Bronkhorst’s runner. The daughter of William Longsword has raced 11 times for two seconds and four thirds, but she is not taking on the strongest of fields and is expected to contest the finish.

However, Lerena’s best ride on the day probably comes up on Race 8, a MR 70 Handicap over 1600m, where he rides Viva De Janeiro, once again for Bronkhorst. This four-year-old Oratorio gelding runs particularly well for Lerena who has ridden him four times for two wins and a second. That is particularly relevant as Viva De Janeiro has only win twice but of them with Lerena aboard.

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Lerena had not been aboard for quite a while when he again picked up the ride two runs back when he ran out a very comfortable 4.75-length winner. A work rider rode him last time when perhaps a slightly unlucky second behind Volte Face after losing ground at the start. But with Lerena back in the irons again Viva De Janeiro looks hot on the trail of his third career win.

One of the most interesting runners on the day is Taxhaven in Race 4, a Maiden Plate over 2000m. This three-year-old son of Erupt has raced 13 times with two seconds purportedly his best performances. On the surface most people will be shocked to see Paul Matchett’s charge priced up at 7-10 for this race, but when you start perusing his form more carefully one can understand why. After all, how many maidens can claim to have finished a three-length fifth behind one of the best three-year-olds in the country in a Grade 1 race? Well, Taxhaven can make that claim.

Last time out he contested the Grade 1 TAB SA Derby over 2450m and did superbly to have winner Purple Pitcher just three lengths ahead of him at level weights. Of course, you can’t come away from a performance like that without the handicappers axe falling upon you. So, Taxhaven went into the Derby with a merit rating of 78 and came out the other end with a rating of 96.

However, all that has done in this Maiden Plate, which is run at level weights, has made him the best weighted runner by at least 3kg. All he need do is run to his rating to win this with ease.

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