Jockey Gavin Lerena Weighs in on the Gauteng Summer Cup 2019
He’s sitting out on this years’ event (as are many other jockeys due to low weights) but with three Gauteng Chris Gerber Grade 1 Summer Cup victories under his belt, jockey Gavin Lerena, is no stranger to Gauteng’s premier Grade 1 race.
What is the best part about this race for you, as a jockey?
The Gauteng Summer Cup is Johannesburg’s oldest premier Grade 1 race and it’s always special to ride in a race that holds such nostalgia and prestige. Having a good crowd on course adds to the excitement as there are few things better than bringing home a winner in front of a full grandstand.
What is the ideal draw for this race?
A good draw is a good draw – so being drawn anything from barrier number one to eight is ideal in my opinion. There is a 12m incline from the 1600m to the 800m mark at Turffontein Racecourse which makes it the most testing track in the country. It can be a rough race so to be able to place the horse where it’s comfortable racing is a bonus.
Can you describe the ideal horse for this race?
You need a horse that is tough as nails and has the stamina to match it. As it is a very testing 2000m, you need a horse with a good turn of foot to finish off his race.
Which is your most memorable Summer Cup victory?
Whilst winning on a filly is always special, having won on Dancewiththedevil for St. John Gray in 2011 (then called the Sansui Summer Cup hosted by Gauteng), the race is even more memorable after winning it two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016 aboard the then Geoff Woodruff trained, Master Sabina. The home-bred son of Jet Master, out of Sabina Park, suffered a tendon injury prior to his first victory and it was believed he’d never race again, but he recovered well and went on to win 9 races in his career.
Your thoughts on this years’ field?
I would have to go with my heart so I would choose Cascapedia who has had the perfect preparation and ran a brilliant 3rd last year beaten by just under a length.