Happy Birthday Tex – Gavin Grabs Four

Chipping away at Muzi's second spot

Our 2014/15 SA Champion jockey Gavin Lerena is enjoying a purple patch and booted home a four-timer at the Vaal on Tuesday to take himself ever closer to the season century marker, and provide his thrilled Dad Tex with an early birthday present.

Lerena has made a flying start to 2024, with 26 winners in the bag since 1 January and the 38 year old is clearly riding with great purpose and confidence.

His four winners on Tuesday were a double for Roy Magner in the 8-10 Princess Lola and 18-10 Alessian Love, a smart win on the 6-10 Great Barrier for Candice Dawson, and the 7-1 Celtic Rumours for Sean Tarry.

Gavin Lerena makes it 3 of 4 winners as Celtic Rumours beats Good Queen Bess (Muzi Yeni) to win the eighth (Pic – JC Photos)

Lerena’s tally is 91 winners and he is in third spot on the national log, 24 winners behind Muzi Yeni, who booted home a double at Hollywoodbets Greyville today. Lerena is chipping away at Yeni’s second spot, with his current 18,4 % win strike-rate looking healthier than the 13% of the hardworking Yeni.

Interestingly, log-leader Richard Fourie (182) has ridden double the amount of Lerena’s total winners, and grabbed his own scorching four-timer at Hollywoodbets Greyville this afternoon.

Former jockey and birthday boy Tex Lerena’s son, Gavin earned widespread admiration for winning the South African Jockeys Championships a decade ago.

That was mainly due to the resolve he showed in burying the albatross of the 2011/2012 season.

In the 2011/2012 season he saw a big lead being diminished to virtually nothing in the final month.

He was still one winner clear of Anton Marcus entering the final meeting at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth but rode a blank to the latter’s double.

He later sat in the jockey’s room shell-shocked and heartbroken.

He admitted, “Every morning after waking up or whatever I was doing in the day it was always in the back of my mind. I thought what could I have done differently, I had it in the bag and I just needed to follow through, but the cards didn’t fall that way. I didn’t have the support he had and it was very hard for me, it took me a long time to overcome it.”

But things turned and four months after winning his first national title in 2015, he picked up the career bragging rights and a HK$500,000 prize in the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship in Hong Kong.

The following year he was a member of the Rest Of The World Team who won the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot. Gavin rode two winners.

Father and son

Tex keeps his age under wraps, but we’d like to wish him a very happy birthday for today, Wednesday 21st. The 21 is a misleading number, and it’s probably closer to three times that! But much health and happiness, Tex.

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