Confidence is a major weapon in any jockey’s arsenal. That was the fine line between all and nothing in a thrilling climax to Saturday’s R250 000 Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes run over the Turffontein 1400m.
Superlatives elude us!
It may not be the biggest race the talented Gavin Lerena has ever won, but the former SA champion rider will remember this as one of his most memorable, rounding off, as it did, his booting home the jackpot.
The Turffontein track is one of the fairest in the country but that straight goes on forever and when you are out front, you are a sitting duck! But after tracking the bold striding Tendre all the way, Lerena took Doosra to lead with Singapore Sling and the fancied Heavenly Blue snapping at his heels.
Heavenly Blue had come from 5 lengths behind Doosra at the 700m, and was grinding away at the Lerena Jackpot dream with 100m to go.
In one of the great finishes on a terrific day of racing, the photo showed that Weichong Marwing had arrived a split second too late on the Mike de Kock trained Aussie-bred colt.
Lerena had pulled off the rare feat and the official win margin was recorded as a short head in a time of 84,78 secs – the slowest of the three 1400m features on the day.
Heavenly Blue took his time to get there and the son of Snitzel suffered his first defeat in three runs. He looks special and will pay to follow.
Another promising Philanthropist to feature after She’s A Giver earlier, Singapore Sling confirmed the Woodruff-Maujean story of a day of near places, holding on well for third.
KZN raider Secret Captain ran a good race from the widest draw to bank the fourth cheque.
The winner was bred by Varsfontein Stud and is a son of the prolific Captain Al out of the high quality five-time winning daughter of Caesour, Caughtintheslips.
The ‘horse of the sale’ in the words of trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren, Doosra is a R900 000 Val De Vie Yearling Sale graduate, and has won 2 from 3 after a narrow defeat on debut.
He took his basic stake earnings to R236 750 and also banked the BSA Added Vale Stakes Bonus of R87 500.
The winner completed an unforgettable day for the white, red and black silks of the Wernars family. Word has it that they may be getting more directly involved in the industry. Great news!
Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes (SAf-Gr3)
Turffontein, South Africa, November 5, R250k, 1400m, turf, good, 1.24.78
1 – DOOSRA (SAF), 58.0, b c 3, Captain Al (SAF) – Caughtintheslips (SAF) by Caesour (USA). Owner Messrs J F & L M F Wernars & Mrs T J Wernars; Breeder Varsfontein Stud; trainer JJ v Vuuren; jockey G Lerena
2 – Heavenly Blue (AUS), 58.0, gr c 3, Snitzel (AUS) – Simply Carina (USA) by El Prado (IRE)
3 – Singapore Sling (SAF), 58.0, b g 3, Philanthropist (USA) – Sing Dixie Sing (SAF) by Western Winter (USA)
Margins: 0.10, 0.30, 1.60