As racing resumes at the Vaal on Tuesday so does the successful relationship between champion jockey Lyle Hewitson and champion trainer Sean Tarry.
Last season Tarry won 165 races with his horses earning more than R30m in stakes. Hewitson rode many of those winners and it resulted in him taking the jockey’s title with 219 victories.
Earlier in 2020 Hewitson, 22, had a short stint in Hong Kong, but he moved on to Japan where he was quickly among the winners riding a treble at Nakayama racecourse.
Now back in SA, Hewitson has been booked for four mounts for the powerful Tarry stable and he will be hoping to make an immediate impact after the enforced shutdown.
Chariot Of Gold holds an each-way chance for the Tarry-Hewitson combination in the fourth race in which — with Warren Kennedy confined to KwaZulu-Natal — Calvin Habib rides Heart Swings for trainer Paul Peter.
Geoff Woodruff, who will return to the Western Cape in the next few months, saddles two runners, Secret Potion and Morrocann Flame. Piere Strydom is an interesting booking for the latter.
Hewitson’s return is not good news for leading apprentice Luke Ferraris, who was getting most of the plum rides for the Tarry stable prior to Covid-19. The youngster has ridden 60 winners this term.
However, Ferraris looks to have a winning chance in the seventh race on Tarry’s four-year-old Cordillera. The filly is one of three runners from the stable with Hewitson booked for Sally Called and Gavin Lerena aboard top-weight Aurelia Cotta.
Eden Roc — unplaced in his last start — will be bidding to get his career back on track in the sixth race with Hewitson entrusted with the ride.
Trainer Peter — in fifth place on the national log with 91 winners this season — holds a strong hand in this race with Strydom teaming up with Riverstown and Lerena partnering Astrix. Candice Dawson’s runner Promiseofamaster could be the surprise package here.
One jockey who will be disappointed if he returns home empty-handed is Callan Murray, who rides principally for Mike de Kock. Al Ragnar, second in his last two outings, boasts the best form in the third race and Peaceontherocks makes plenty of appeal in the final event on the card.
A swinger bet coupling Al Ragnar and Hewitson’s mount Sacred Dawn could be rewarding as Michael and Adam Azzie’s runner can improve markedly in his third career start.
Ocean Forest did this column’s readers a favour in his latest outing and S’manga Khumalo will be hoping for another big effort from Alec Laird’s charge in the first leg of the jackpot.
The dangers to Ocean Forest include Bella Rosa, Rock You and St John Gray's consistent cheque-earner Sammi Moosa.
Khumalo — on the 70-winner mark for the season — could ride the first winner at this meeting as his mount Cairon will have plenty of supporters in the opening event.
1st Race: (11) Cairon (12) Shadow Creek (9) Barak (1) Eppagilia
2nd Race: (2) Stunning (1) Arabella Queen (10) Princess Zena (3) Fort Anne
3rd Race: (2) Al Ragnar (10) Sacred Dawn (3) G I Joe (9) Grey Street
4th Race: (4) Chariot Of Gold (5) Heart Swings (2) Secret Potion (9) Morroccan Flame
5th Race: (1) Ocean Forest (10) Bella Rosa (6) Sammi Moosa (8) Rock You
6th Race: (8) Riverstown (3) Astrix (2) Eden Roc (9) Promiseofamaster
7th Race: (4) Cordillera (3) Florida Quays (12) Sally Called (1) Aurelia Cotta
8th Race: (10) Thandekhile (7) Comet Crystal (1) Crime Scene (4) Little Rain
9th Race: (2) Peaceontherocks (3) Rose Dancer (5) Anatura (7) Pathtothestars