Lerena Out To Give Profile A Boost With Promising Let’s Try

He may have just the one ride at Rosehill on Saturday but jockey Brandon Lerena hopes if he can guide up and coming sprinter Let’s Try to a city win it’ll spark some interest.

Jockey Brandon Lerena (Pic: Bradley Photos).

The multiple Group 1 winning jockey “took a chance” when he moved his family from South Africa to Sydney five years ago and he admits things have been a bit slower than he’d like since his Visa restrictions were lifted.

Those restrictions meant the 35-year-old could only ride for his sponsor Bjorn Baker for the first four years and his opportunities in the city have been limited so he’s keen to build his profile.

He’s working closely with Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou who provide him with the mount on Let’s Try in the Hot Rod & Custom Show Handicap (1200m).

“I was fortunate in South Africa, I built a pretty good name for myself and it was hard leaving,’’ Lerena said.

“I had support from a majority of the big stables. Hopefully I can build up something like that.

“We have four children (aged seven to 13) and we need to look out for their futures and Australia is probably the best place to bring them up and give them every chance.

“We took a chance purely because of being parents. We weren’t sure how it was going to work out and we just took a big leap of faith.

“Starting off again has been slow, quite character building to be honest. Hopefully we can get a few more opportunities in the future.”

Lerena has ridden in twice as many Group 1 races in his career than in metropolitan races in Sydney, and he’s won four at the top level in South Africa, an illustration that it’s not so easy to break into the Sydney jockey room.

He’s partnered Let’s Try to three wins and two seconds from his five rides on the gelding and on the back of an impressive first-up Benchmark 68 win at Newcastle he’s rapt to be riding him on the bigger stage.

“A lot of people aren’t familiar with me, I’ve had a little bit of success since I’ve been here but not enough for people to take note and put me on,’’ he said.

“I’ve got to take this opportunity with both hands, he’s definitely a chance on Saturday and he’s in terrific form.

“He’s very consistent, he puts himself in a good position and he always gives you his all in a race which is nice.”

Let’s Try, $3.90 with TAB on Wednesday, cruised to a 2-1/2 length win at Newcastle two weeks ago in a win that Lerena said was a lot better than it looks on paper.

He was forced to work harder than he’d have liked when he wasn’t able to cross to the fence in font but powered away in a performance the jockey says shows he’s come back better and that while he is an on pace horse he’s not a one-trick pony.

He says a favourable barrier will enable him to ride the four-year-old to his strengths but also give him options.

“The inside horse made him work for the majority but his race craft has improved so much since his last preparation,’’ he said.

“His work’s been particularly pleasing after that, he’s full of himself and working a treat.

“When he won before his spell he just sat off the pace with a bit of cover and came off the turn and quickened up really well.

“Last time he’d done a bit of work and was able to quicken. He’s the perfect horse to ride in a race, he gives you at both ends.

“So far it looks like there’s not a lot of pressure in the race which will suit him, it’d be nice if he can lead or land outside the lead without too much effort.”

– Racing NSW

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