Grand Master

Gavin Lerena Chats Grand Heritage

Gavin Lerena (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

Gavin Lerena (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

The Sporting Post caught up with the double Grand Heritage champion, Gavin Lerena, taking a well-earned mini break with his family after his Grand Heritage win aboard Forest Fox last Saturday.

Gavin won the inaugural Grand Heritage aboard Irish Pride for the Johan Janse van Vuuren yard in 2016 (one of a total of 5 wins on the day)  and last Saturday, he triumphed aboard the Paul Peter-trained Forest Fox for the Nassif brothers, Hassen Adams and Bernard Kantor.

Gavin said he’d studied hard to find the right ride, but his eyes kept falling on Forest Fox.  “We had a nice galloping race and just needed a bit of luck in running.”

Forest Fox wins the 2017 Grand Heritage (photo: JC Photos)

Gavin has won on Forest Fox before and knows him well.  “He’s not the biggest of horses and sometimes not always the bravest.  Often a race won’t work out because the pace is too slow, but I was lucky that the pace was really on and he was travelling beautifully and relaxed for me.  I was able to make a move at about the 700m and let him get 4 lengths closer without using him much and I think that’s what won us the race.  Next thing we were at the 300m and nicely placed and I didn’t have to do too much from there.  It all worked out really well.”

In terms of being a double Heritage hero, he says he really enjoyed both races.  Despite a 28 horse field looking imposing, Gavin says it’s not all that different to a normal sized field.  “Obviously you may need a bit more luck, and I think you’ve got to be in the right place at the right time and make your move at the right time, but other than that, it’s been a wonderful race to ride in both years.”

Lerena family

Family support (photo: Racing, It’s A Rush)

Were there big celebrations, “No,” says the dedicated family man.  “It was straight home with the family.  We’re all happy and over the moon and it was fantastic that my family were all there to support me.”

Gavin is celebrating with a few days off, but will be back again for the weekend’s racing.  With two Heritage trophies on his shelf, it’s worth noting that he’s also won the last two renewals of the Charity Mile and the Summer Handicap – will he be aiming for a trifecta?  “Obviously those are two races I love winning.  It’s going to be difficult this year, but we’re always aiming for it.  Let’s hope we can find the right horse again,” he smiles.

Having traded a log topping position last season for a stint in the UK, Gavin’s focus for this year will be to ride as many winner’s as possible.  His time in the UK, although brief, was rich in terms of experience.  “It definitely gave me some valuable tools.  Although the lifestyle was tough, the racing was great.  Riding at 18 different tracks in those few months was an amazing experience and I learnt a lot from it.  In this game you are always learning,” he notes.  One of the highlights was riding out for Sir Michael Stoute in Newmarket and getting to take a few race rides for him.

Will he be launching another assault on this year’s championship?  “The championship is in every jockey’s sights and if I’m in a position to do it, I’ll go for it, but I’m looking to enjoy myself and my racing and to ride as many winners as possible and of course the big ones are always a nice bonus.”

Have Your Say - *Please Use Your Name & Surname

Comments Policy
The Sporting Post encourages readers to comment in the spirit of enlightening the topic being discussed, to add opinions or correct errors. All posts are accepted on the condition that the Sporting Post can at any time alter, correct or remove comments, either partially or entirely.

All posters are required to post under their actual name and surname – no anonymous posts or use of pseudonyms will be accepted. You can adjust your display name on your account page or to send corrections privately to the EditorThe Sporting Post will not publish comments submitted anonymously or under pseudonyms.

Please note that the views that are published are not necessarily those of the Sporting Post.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



Popular Posts