Derere seeks to conquer

HARARE – Kevin Derere hopes to become the first black-Zimbabwean jockey to win the OK Grand Challenge since Nkululelo Sibanda rode Century Star to victory in 2008.

Derere will lead Thriller In Manila into the starting gate for the 27th edition of the OK Grand Challenge that will be run over 1 800 metres at Borrowdale Race Park this afternoon.

Thriller In Manila enters the race on a merit rating of 80 in a main race were 14 horses will saddle up with Yer-maan, Lucky Sam and Warcraft starting as favourites.

Thriller In Manila, a four-year-old gelding has had 12 runs, four wins and six places. It will hope to win today’s race carrying a weight of 52kgs.

“I have a very good chance this time around, last time I had a cracking run in the Castle Tankard,” Derere said.

“It’s going to be pretty difficult to beat Yer-maan and Lucky Sam. They are the two top rated horses for this race, but over 1 800m we should be in for a win.”

The 31-year-old Derere comes into today’s Grade 2 race with 3340 runs, 242 wins 1141 places under his belt.

In the last race meeting on May 31, Derere produced two winners and two places.

“I have won some big races in Johannesburg, but here in Zimbabwe I haven’t had as much fortune.  So to win such a big race as the OK Grand Challenge will be huge,” he said.

“I will probably be the first black to win the OK in a long time which will be great for other upcoming black jockeys to look up.

“In my last four meetings I have seven winners and I’m seating third on the jockey table. So I’m quite hot at the moment,.”

Meanwhile, with four runners in today’s OK Grand Challenge trainer Gokhan Terzi is hoping for a good outing for his stable.

Super Trouper, Merhaba, Rock The Country and Got A Hold On Me will be representing Terzi’s yard in the big race with a purse of $40 000.

Yer-maan won the Castle Tankard after teaming up with jockey Quinton Riddle last month.

He will again team up with Riddle as they bid win the double and this time bookmakers have cast the pair amongst the favorites, opening betting on odds of 7-2.

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