MIKE de Kock has landed his seventh South African National Trainers Title. Runners from the yard amassed R21, 540, 575 – winning 163 races from 889 outings during the 2011/12 season that drew to a close on Tuesday.
Mdk: Time to pop the corks again!
JACK MILNER writes that it could not have been closer as the race for the Klawervlei Stud South African Jockeys’ Championship came down to the last race of the last meeting of the last day of the season at Kenilworth on Tuesday.
Gavin Lerena started the meeting one win ahead of challenger Anton Marcus but after Marcus won Race 2 aboard Scaky Phane (14-10) and Race 4 on Pirates Flag (19-10) he moved one ahead and looked set to retain his title.
However, Lerena came exceedingly close to squaring it all up when Rivatoria came out of the pack to close down Bella Nero but MJ Byleveld kept the Mike Bass-trained runner in front to hold him off by 0.40 lengths.
It all came down to Race 10 with Marcus one ahead and Lerena needed to win in order to share the championship. However, neither jockey managed to place and the championship went to Marcus who retained the title for the third successive year. The difference is that this year Klawervlei Stud has put up a prize of R250,000 to the winning jockey.
Marcus thanked all those who had assisted him. “You know, in the end it comes down to the chap who gets the most opportunities and the person who gets the luck. I would like to thank all the jocks who have helped both Gavin and myself.”
One has to sympathise with Lerena who looked to have the title under control a few months back but broke a leg and had to give up his 16-win lead. To come back and get so close is a remarkable performance and although disappointed, he can be proud of his achievement.
His turn is not far off.