Lyle Hewitson’s speedy ride to national jockey title contender
Less than three years ago Lyle Hewitson was studying for his matric — now the 20-year-old has a real chance of being crowned champion jockey for the 2017-18 season.
An unfortunate injury to champion jockey Anthony Delpech, who was hurt in a fall at Turffontein last Saturday, means the title race could be fought out between Hewitson and Muzi Yeni.
Delpech, who held a lead of 35 points going into last weekend’s racing, is likely to be sidelined for several weeks.
It has already been a memorable season for Hewitson. In March he rode his 285th winner as an apprentice to better the record set by Gavin Lerena in 2007. Lerena is also injured.
Hewitson booted home three winners at the Vaal on Tuesday and now with his services in demand by top trainers, he looks poised to have an outstanding last four months of the season.
Nevertheless, "have-saddle-will-travel" Yeni will not go down without a fight.
He is in third place on the national log, only nine winners behind Hewitson.
At Turffontein last Saturday, Yeni was in sparkling form winning the SA Classic on Lobo’s Legend and being beaten by a short head on Alec Laird’s filly Green Top in the Fillies Classic.
Hewitson and Yeni will be in action at the Vaal on Thursday and the former looks to have the better book of rides.
He has a bright chance of winning the third race on Sean Tarry’s filly Silvez as the three-year-old made a pleasing debut at Turffontein in March.
In the seventh race, trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren has booked Hewitson to partner his three-year-old Var filly Mademoiselle. She won her maiden in good style and then finished fourth behind Cals Crush.
Hewitson can expect a strong challenge from Yeni on Shifting Shadows as trainer Grant Maroun’s filly also ran well behind Cals Crush last time out. Others with chances in this 1,000m sprint are Modjadji and the Mike de Kock inmate Rajasthani Queen.
Yeni’s fifth race mount Rose Water rates an each-way chance as Roy Magner’s mare has more than paid her way this time. However, she will have to be at her best to get the better of Itsmydarlin and Dianne Stenger’s filly Hot Talent.
Meanwhile, two world-class auctioneers John O’Kelly and Andrew Miller will be on the rostrum for Thursday’s Select session of the CTS April Yearling Sale at the Durbanville racecourse. The sale starts at 5.30pm and there is a minimum bid of R50,000 for the 117 lots due to go through the ring.
O’Kelly will not have to worry about a minimum bid for one of his early lots which is a Dynasty filly out of the Galileo mare, Rain Gal. She won six races including the grade3 Final Fling Stakes at Kenilworth.
Miller is first on the rostrum and the day’s third lot — a son of Soft Falling Rain — should attract plenty of interest.
The yearling, consigned by Winterbach Stud (as agent), is a half-brother to Exquisite Touch who has won five races for champion trainer Tarry.
Klawervlei are offering a daughter of Trippi out of the five-time winner Mana Mou. Interestingly, like Exquisite Touch, she won the grade3 Man-O-War Sprint at Turffontein.
Durban July winner Pomodoro is well represented at the sale and — later in the first session — a colt out of the nine-time winner Jackodore could prove popular. This is her second foal since retiring to stud.
Normandy Stud are also offering a Pomodoro colt who is a half-brother to Tarry’s grade2 winner Wonderwall. Later the same stud has a Philanthropist colt who is a half-brother to four-time winner Crowd Pleaser. The second session on Friday at 11am features lots 118-322 with a R20,000 minimum bid.