Racing tips: Gavin Lerena is the jockey to follow

Rodeo Drive stands out as bets bet at Turffontein.


There look to be some good bets at Turffontein on Sunday and Gavin Lerena has picked up the rides on most of them, so he is the man to follow.

While nobody could stop Richard Fourie’s runaway train, both Lerena and Muzi Yeni have had a good season.

Yeni, at the time of writing, is on 175 winners for the season while Lerena is on 151.

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In fourth spot with 147 wins lies Craig Zackey, and it is he who could get bettors off to an excellent start in Race 2, a Juvenile Plate for fillies over 1160m, where he rides Rodeo Drive for Sean Tarry.

The United States filly was outrun late in the closing stages when finishing second behind Quid Pro Quo in the Grade 1 Allan Robertson Championship at Hollywoodbets Scottsville over 1200m last time.

Tarry’s charge need only repeat that performance to resume winning ways. After that it could be all about Lerena.

In Race 5, a Maiden Plate for fillies and mares over 1400m, he has picked up the ride on Key Worker for Stuart Pettigrew.

This two-year-old daughter of Gimmethegreenlight has only raced twice, running fourth on debut over 1450m and then finishing a 3.75-length second to Olivia’s Way over 1600m, both on the Inside track.

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Lerena rode her in both of those starts and clearly knows her well. Pettigrew seems to have found the right race for his charge as this is not the most potent of fields.

In addition, the move to the Standside track could very well suit and she also has the benefit of No 5 draw.

Lerena continues his association with Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained runners in the last two races and should win both.

He rides progressive last-start winner Chasing Happiness in Race 7, a Middle Stakes over 1000m.

The three-year-old daughter of Rafeef produced a career-best effort to win over 1200m on the Inside track under Lerena earlier this month.

She has been racing over further but she impressed on debut in her only appearance over 1000m, running out a facile 4.10-length winner, so she’ll have little trouble continuing her form and momentum reverting to the shorter trip.

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She will be taking on the boys in this event but should have the speed to deal with them, especially with Lerena and 56.5kg on her back.

Van Vuuren has two strings to his bow in Race 8 over 1000m and riding arrangements suggest highly rated two-year-old Master Casper is the stable elect, with Lerena engaged to ride.

He has only raced four times but looks to have improved markedly since having been gelded.

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While this well-related Querari gelding, who cost R900,000 as a yearling, is expected to be competitive on his handicap debut, he will be tested by older hard-knockers to whom he must concede weight.

But he does have the most room for improvement and there could still be a lot more to come from him.

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