Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IAN FORSYTH
Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IAN FORSYTH

Champion jockey Lyle Hewitson has been granted a part-season Jockey Club licence to ride in Hong Kong for the 2019/20 racing season.

Hewitson, 21, is the youngest SA jockey to be granted a licence in Hong Kong, an exclusive racing jurisdiction where the talented, and the lucky, can become millionaires overnight.

In an effort to retain his national title, Hewitson will see out the season in SA, which ends on  July 31. He told Turf Talk: “I’ve spoken to the chief stipendiary steward in Hong Kong. They only start their new racing season in September and we are expected to be there two weeks before the first meeting. I will be leaving early in August to ride in barrier trials and to make connections. I am excited for the opportunity.”

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Another South African, Grant van Niekerk, who has been riding successfully in Hong Kong for the past nine months, has received a full licence to ride on the island for another season.

The only change to the training roster is the addition of 13-time champion jockey Douglas Whyte. The Durban-born Whyte retired from race riding earlier in 2019.

Paul Matchett’s top-level performer Running Brave (Calvin Habib) will be all the rage at the Vaal on Tuesday. She has been entered for an Assessment Plate (race 8, 1,400m), in which the runner with the highest merit rating invariably wins.

Running Brave is rated 13 points (6.5kg) clear of her nearest rival Afrostar. If you apply the handicapper’s formula of 1kg equals one length, she should win this contest by 6.5-lengths. Racing theory does not always work in practice, but the bookmakers’ opening offer of 9-10 looks quite tempting.

Jockey Gavin Lerena will ride the day’s two other strongly fancied runners for Geoff Woodruff. Lemon Drop Shot (race 2, 1,800m), looks set to win her maiden following three successive seconds, while Moroccan Flame (race 3, 1,800m), finished just a length adrift on her 1,450m debut and could improve to win with her first racing experience behind her.

She is by proven long-distance stallion Ideal World and is bound to enjoy the extra ground.


Vaal selections

Race 1: (3) Doublethink (9) Loosen Your Tie (19) Sweptoffmyfeet (7) Keeping The Faith

Race 2: (1) Lemon Drop Shot (4) Byron Bay (3) The Sands (6) Turf Master

Race 3: (13) Moroccan Flame (2) Vijeta (1) Wild Thoughts (6) Flirty Girty

Race 4: (6) Big Blue Marble (3) Gimme A Wave (7) Royal Cavalier (2) Wild Curve

Race 5: (6) Billy Silver (2) Romi’s Boy (8) Carbon Atom (5) Angel’s Power

Race 6: (10) Eastern Healer (11) Brigtnumberten (2) Lazarus Tree (13) Sporting Monarch

Race 7: (16) Snow In Seattle (15) Seventh Son (5) Baahir (3) Moshav

Race 8: (1) Running Brave (2) Afrostar (3) Cordillera (7) Scent Of Evening

Race 9: (12) Genesis (1) Florida Quays (14) Supa Mufti (5) Manhattan Cocktail