Former SA champion Gavin Lerena is riding with his old confidence and booted home a good double at Turffontein on Saturday to take the riding honours at the stand-alone meeting.
With 16 winners on the board, Lerena is at 7th position on the national log and has some ground to make up after his eye operation set him back during the month of August.
His aggressive riding style is well suited to the Turffontein inside track and his well-judged pick-up ride aboard the Alec Laird-trained Amazing Strike in the day’s topliner, was top drawer stuff.
The R130 000 Pinnacle Stakes run over the tricky 1450m attracted a field of thirteen runners and Lerena had Amazing Strike tracking the pacesetter Chili Con Carne all the way around.
Into the home straight, Amazing Strike was given his head and he poached a lead that he never relinquished.
The 6yo gelding kept on strongly to win by 1,60 lengths in a time of 89,16 secs.
The Ormond Ferraris-trained 4yo Shukamisa maintained his smart formline, flying up from lengths back for second.
The Scott Kenny 6yo Hidden Agenda ran a cracker from his wide draw in a strong field over a distance short of his best, to bank third cheque.
Donny G shaded Toro Rosso for fourth – the latter fading out late. Under 3 lengths covered the top five home.
While he was expected to need the outing, the money came for the Azzie’s Argentinian import Hat Puntano, but it proved something of an inauspicious debut for the son of Hat Trick. The dual Gr1 winner was in touch but faded badly late to run stone last – 11,75 lengths back and 5 lengths behind the second last finisher.
Amazing Strike has won 7 races with 11 places from 36 starts and took his stakes tally to R664 675.
Bred by Mauritzfontein, in whose famous yellow and black silks he races, Amazing Strike is by Ideal World (Kingmambo) out of the twice winning Bayard Crown (Strike Smartly).
Despite being bred on staying lines, the gelding has plenty of speed and is very effective up to 1450m.