Au cours d’une journée dominée de la tête et des épaules par le nouveau Hall Of Famer qu’est Derreck David, Brandon Lerena a été l’un des rares jockeys à avoir pu tirer son épingle du jeu. En effet, la cravache de Ricky Maingard, qui regagnera bientôt l’Afrique du Sud, a signé son 20e succès de la présente campagne avec l’outsider Elusive Love qui dut cependant survivre à une objection, diversement commentée depuis.
Le cavalier sud-africain, que nous avons rencontré samedi dernier, a balayé d’un revers de la main toute allusion quant au fait que la victoire de son cheval constituait une réelle surprise. « Elusive Love was working well and I felt a bit more confident when I saw the weight sheet as  he was at the same weight at his last win. He’s had a few problems leading up to this race. He hurt himself and he was coughing. I was a bit concerned for his fitness but again he was working », nous a soutenu notre interlocuteur à son sujet.
Le fait de ne pas porter de tongue-tie, équipement avec lequel il avait enregistré ses deux victoires l’an dernier, faisait débat avant la course mais Brandon Lerena a tenu à apporter sa petite précision. « You simply can’t touch his mouth. We tried to put the tongue-tie on but he just threw his head at the back. He tends to cough during work so he does need a tongue-tie but he had the dropped noseband this time which I think also helped. He won his last two starts so I was very much confident in his ability. It’s true that he was up against horses who already had 2 or 3 runs under the belt but I’m always open-minded and I try my best everytime », devait-il poursuivre.
 Cettte troisième victoire d’Elusive Love mit toutefois du temps à se confirmer suite à l’objection logée par Rye Joorawon, le cavalier d’Al Capitano, pour interférence dans la ligne d’arrivée mais le verdict ne faisait aucun doute pour notre interlocuteur. « I was definitely confident of the outcome following the objection received against my horse. Elusive Love won with authority. There was probably a bit of intimidation when I decided to go in but for me there was enough space for one and a half horse. My first comment to the Racing Stewards was that I was ahead of the other horse. As such, I had every right to make that switch. If I didn’t make that decision, I’m probably not doing my job properly. My horse does shift a little bit around but he rolls around in very tight quarters. It’s not like he moved seven horses or squashed two horses on the rail in doing so. Elusive Love did shift but I corrected it ».
« Parceval does not try too hard »
Parceval, qui a couru en énorme progrès, est capable de bien mieux si l’on se fie aux dires de son cavalier. « It was a much better run from Parceval but he does not try too hard. He usually works far better. We thought about using blinkers on him but he doesn’t want anyone to touch his head, he just goes mad. You can only put the bridle on him. I still think he can build on this race because he’s got the potential. We should not forget that he won 8 races in South Africa ».
La déception était toutefois au rendez-vous pour Al Mahara et Sail To Paradise.   « Al Mahara was working so well. I think the draw probably killed him. If he had had a better draw, he would have got cover and been able to relax. Being in the open, he was trying to run off the turn and pulling. He just does too much and that’s why I think the 1000m are better for him. For a horse like him, the draw is crucial. Sail To Paradise was disappointing though. He was not striding too well after the race. He tends to have speedy cuts so maybe he picked up a knock somewhere. We were a bit confident with the first draw but we must also realise that he did not beat the best horses the last time », devait-il reconnaître.
Les rumeurs allaient bon train samedi matin quant au fait que Brandon Lerena prendrait bientôt congé du Champ de Mars. Tout en confirmant la nouvelle, notre interlocuteur a refusé de nous en dire plus, nous confiant simplement que son départ était motivé par des raisons personnelles. Il devrait en principe participer aux deux prochaines journées au cas où il fasse appel de la suspension qu’il a écopée pour sa monte sur Elusive Love. Affaire à suivre.