Lyle Hewitson, centre. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/YOLANDA SAAYMAN
Lyle Hewitson, centre. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/YOLANDA SAAYMAN

Despite holding a commanding lead in the jockeys title race, Lyle Hewitson will have left last Saturday’s Guineas meeting at Turffontein a despondent man. His nine mounts failed to yield a winner and his main stable, that of Sean Tarry, is as out-of-form as Liverpool in the Premier League.

Hewitson did not even have a ride in the Gauteng Guineas and the horse most pundits expected him to win on — Zimbaba in the ninth race — had to settle for third place.

Though he has four rides for Tarry at the Vaal on Tuesday, it is Hewitson’s booking for four horses from St John Gray’s stable that catches the eye.

In the opening event Gray introduces a well-bred newcomer in the three-year-old Devilish Dancer. She is by Silvano out of his 2011 Summer Cup winner Dancewiththedevil.

The likely favourite is Candice Dawson’s Dynasty filly All Aglow to be ridden for the first time by S’manga Khumalo. Yet here is another worry, the stable is also not firing on all cylinders despite what some on-course TV presenters might say.

Last week, Dawson told Winning Form she was bullish over her three-year-old Eliud running a big race in the Guineas. The opposite happened, with the Futura gelding running about as well as a Grand Prix car with a flat tyre. He finished 16 lengths behind this column’s tip, Malmoos.

All Aglow does face a weak field and must go close, but punters need to monitor the betting on Devilish Dancer.

Perhaps the best of the quartet of runners which Hewitson rides for Gray is Soul Of Wit who runs in the ninth race. The mare was formerly trained by Romeo Francis who sadly passed away in November at the age of 58.

Francis and Gray were close friends, with the Randjesfontein trainer saying, “He was a man I’d go to war with”. A number of Francis’ horses has now joined Gray’s yard and Soul Of Wit looks worth an each-way punt.

Another Gray-Hewitson combination boasting win and place claims is Liverpool Legend, who runs in the fifth race. There are a number with chances in this 2,400m contest, including Gavin Lerena’s mount Kool Baikal. Lerena booted home three winners last Saturday.

Just eight runners face the starter in the first leg of the Pick 6 and the bottom-weight Smiley River makes plenty of appeal with just 53kg on his back. The Pomodoro filly is trained by Phillip Labuschagne who recently sent out his first winner.

Smiley River may have most to fear from Cash Time, who is weighted to turn the tables on the hat-trick-seeking Don’t Look Back. Brand New Cadillac is also worth including in exotic perms.

Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren will be happy with the way his horses ran at the Guineas meeting and Mohican has a shout of winning his second race when he takes on 10 rivals in the third race. Callan Murray retains the ride on the Argentinian-bred gelding.

Punters requiring back-up for the place accumulator should consider Piere Strydom’s mount Birdwatcher, who met a talented sort in Wisteria Walk last time out.

Selections

1st Race: No Selection

2nd Race: (1) Imperial Duke (2) Manterio (5) Nussply (3) Genie

3rd Race: (3) Mohican (7) Birdwatcher (2) Validus (5) Double Martini

4th Race: (8) Smiley River (4) Cash Time (6) Don’t Look Back (2) Brand New Cadillac

5th Race: (7) Kool Baikal (14) Liverpool Legend (1) Ideal Wolff (2) Passing Storm

6th Race: (11) Traveling Wilbury (3) Magical Flight (2) Jive Express (10) Curvation

7th Race: (7) Afraad (1) Have A Go Jo (3) Pamushana’s Pride (6) In For A Penny

8th Race: (1) Oscar Wilde (9) Midnight Caller (2) Prince Evlanoff (7) Shortstop

9th Race: (11) Soul Of Wit (6) Pecan Pie (3) So They Say (10) Royal Lily

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