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Hong Kong – Gavin Lerena wrote another chapter in the long history of successful South African jockeys in Hong Kong when he snatched the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship on an extraordinary night at Happy Valley.

Unseasonal rain saw the track downgraded to yielding – the first time since last century any race in Hong Kong has been run during December on a track that soft – and that may have paved the way to Lerena’s win.

The South African and his father Tex had made the 13-hour flight from Johannesburg on Tuesday, slept for 12 hours to freshen up and then grabbed what looked on paper a golden chance at the HK$500,000 first prize.

Lerena went scoreless in the first two legs of the four-race series, but hit back in the second half to land Peter Ho Leung-trained Mr Right and then Derek Cruz-trained Superoi to clinch the trophy.

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