Gavin Lerena has landed the plum mount on Rainbow Bridge in the Vodacom Durban July. The Sun Met winner will be the former champion’s ninth July ride and the closest he has come so far is fourth on Tellina in 2014 when Legislate got the race in the boardroom.
Eric Sands has had calls from as far afield as Hong Kong since it became known that Anton Marcus had opted for Hawwaam but Lerena was already in pole position, not least because he had asked for the ride in the Met. Intriguingly he used to be the regular rider of the big race favourite, partnering him four times on the trot to win the Dingaans, Tony Ruffel and the SA Classic plus finishing second in the Gauteng Guineas.
Sands reported yesterday that the horse “took his race well” after finishing a possibly unlucky third to Do It Again in last Saturday’s Rising Sun Gold Challenge. The Milnerton trainer did not claim that he would have won had Anton Marcus not been forced to switch inside the final furlong “but maybe it would have been a tighter finish.”
Nooresh Juglall will fly in from Mauritius to partner Daily News runner-up Twist Of Fate for the River Palace Racing Syndicate who are based in Mauritius and have been keen to have “their man” in the irons for the big one.
Juglall, 27, was twice South African champion apprentice and this will be his third July ride. He finished down the field on Wagner in 2013 and again on Safe Harbour two years ago. He has spent much of the last five years in Singapore but earlier this year he decided to return home as his wife could not get a visa to stay in the country.
Joey Ramsden said yesterday that 16-1 shot Twist Of Fate has continued to thrive since the Daily News – “He is a hardy so-and-so and he is doing fabulously well.”
Ramsden, successful with The Conglomerate in the 2016 July, was speaking from Singapore where is he doing some serious bureaucracy work as he and partner Steph decide whether to go ahead with their talked-of move to that country.
He said: “We are over here seeing how easy, or how hard, it is to set up and get things like residence permits. It is not like Hong Kong where they do it all for you. Here you do everything yourself. Nothing will be set in concrete until we can get all our ducks in a row.”
By Michael Clower