Jockeys’ title race could go down to the wire at Greyville
Muzi Yeni now just two points behind Lyle Hewitson as the pair are neck-and-neck in title race
The jockeys’ championship, which looked done and dusted a fortnight ago, could go down to the final race of the season at Greyville on Wednesday.
With a lead of around 10 two weeks ago, reigning champion Lyle Hewitson was quoted at 1-50 to retain the title, but those odds have changed dramatically with Muzi Yeni having cut the lead to only two points.
“Of course, a lot depends on what happens at Kenilworth, but prior to that meeting we have Hewitson at 3-10 with 2-1 available about Yeni,” said bookmaker Lance Michael on Tuesday.
Similar to a golfer leading a Major for the first three rounds and battling to sink a putt in the final round, Hewitson has found the winner’s box as elusive as a winning lotto ticket. He had 10 mounts at last Saturday’s Gold Cup meeting at Greyville but drew a blank.
In contrast, 32-year-old Yeni won the 10th race on Paul Matchett’s filly Running Brave and booted home another winner at Fairview on Monday.
There are nine races scheduled for Greyville on Wednesday with Hewitson having a full book of rides and Yeni engaged in seven races.
Hewitson will fancy his chances of starting the meeting with a winner as his first race mount Wishful Girl Linn is likely to start favourite. The daughter of Linngari has finished second in three of her four starts.
Though Hewitson's second race mount Red Hot Night has been placed in his last three starts and now sports blinkers, Yeni is well drawn on Minister Without who represents the in-form stable of Tobie Spies.
Gary Alexander has sent his maiden Marula to KwaZulu-Natal for Wednesday’s third race and he will be hoping Hewitson can get the three-year-old out of the maiden ranks. Yeni does not have a ride in this 1,000m sprint.
Yeni’s seventh race mount African Apollo will be a rank outsider in the seventh race following four unplaced runs, but Hewitson has an each-way shout on three-year-old, Myrrh.
If the title race does go down to the final race over 1,400m, it is very much on the cards that the two contenders will fight out the finish in this maiden fillies event.
Yeni rode Highland Heather into fourth place at the Greyville track in June so he will know Jeff Freedman's filly — bred at Somerset Stud — has a winning chance from a favourable draw.
However, Hewitson’s ride, Royal Kitty, has an excellent pedigree as the youngster is a daughter of Duke Of Marmalade out of the mare Kapen Cat. This makes her a half-sister to Sean Tarry’s useful performer, Bulleting Home.
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