Lerena’s Grand Heritage

Thriller as Paul Peter runner holds off PE raider

Past SA champion jockey Gavin Lerena maintained his stranglehold on the R750 000 Grand Heritage when he won the Vaal cavalry charge for the second year running on Saturday.

A determined Gavin Lerena drives Forest Fox up to get the better of Fransie Herholdt on the PE raider Classify (Pic – JC Photographics)

Africa’s busiest horserace saw 27 runners charging down the 1475m  straight, and it was Lerena who produced a finely judged ride to follow up on his win on Irish Pride in the inaugural running last year. This time he partnered the Paul Peter-trained Dupont 6yo Forest Fox to a thrilling victory over gallant PE challenger, Classify.

A juice detox diet was the recipe that saw the 32 year old in the right shape for the 56,5kgs allotted to Forest Fox in the well endowed handicap and things worked out according to plan.

Joey Piper, Vulcan and the KZN visitor Secret Captain led the early charge down the middle inside, with Piere Strydom and Arctica trying their luck alone on the outside.

Flashback to Lerena’s 2016 win

Gavin Lerena had Forest Fox beautifully relaxed about six lengths back down the inside.

At the 800m he started moving his charge up slowly and with Collen Storey throwing a curved ball at his opponents by bursting clear at the 400m on Starret City, things looked desperate for some.

With Starret City shortening his stride and Classify finding his, Lerena wasn’t panicking and he got Forest Fox into top flight into the 200m.

Forest Fox got the better of a brief duel with Classify and went on to win by a head in a time of 88,03 secs.

Dorrie Sham’s Classify ran a cracker and looks on track for a possible tilt at the Summer Cup on 25 November,

SP Digest 28 Sept 2017

Click on image – read what Gavin told us last week

Starret City moved up dangerously late in the race, and has proven consistent – the Geoff Woodruff runner banked R65 000 for his efforts in third.

Morpheus finished in fourth and with Saftote paying 6 places, Social Order and Zouaves were the others that mattered as they ran fifth and sixth respectively.

Stakes of R10 000 was paid all the way down from sixth to  fifteenth finisher – Tandava being the fortunate last recipient of that bonus.

Gavin Lerena, who had the pick of a few runners, said that Forest Fox was well weighted and had came well at the same time last year. He thanked the Peter team and the owners as well as his family for the support.

“I had him switched off and in a rhythm following Classify the whole way through until the 700m. Classify came right back to challenge us, but Forest Fox was not throwing this one away and he dug deep,” said Lerena.

Trainer Paul Peter, who enjoyed a great day with four winners, told how his son son Tony had suggested that they prep their horses for this meeting.


Gavin Lerena – 7 days

“I am so pleased for my special owners, the Nassif brothers, Hassen Adams and Bernard Kantor. This horse hasn’t got the biggest heart. He needs a specific type of ride – Gavin gave him that today!” he added.

Forest Fox was bred by Peter de Beyer and is a son of Dupont (Zafonic) out of two-time winner Fort Vixen (Fort Wood).

He cost R210 000 at Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 2.

Stakes placed as a 3yo and third in the Heritage Consolation at the corresponding meeting in 2016, Forest Fox is now a winner of 5 races with 14 places from his 35 starts. This was his best pay day and he took his earnings to R1 019 250.

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