Kuda’s Hewitson goes past 150 season winners
Lyle Hewitson went through the 150-winners mark for the season to continue his relentless march to a third South African jockeys championship.
The Kuda-sponsored rider has been at the top of his game in recent weeks and booted home three winners for the Sean Tarry stable at Turffontein at the weekend, including the Listed Jacaranda Handicap and the Grade 3 Sycamore Sprint.
While the latter two wins came at a combined distance of seven lengths (a five-length win on Seehaam and two length win on Tropic Son), it was the short-head win aboard Pyromaniac in the opening race at Turffontein that was eye-catching.
Hewitson and Smanga Khumalo, riding Mitch Got His Wish, were involved in a thrilling battle over the last 250m with nothing separating the pair. But Hewitson got Pyromaniac’s nose down on the line where it mattered to win by a short head, with the third horse 19 lengths further back. The son of Silvano, bred by MainChance Farms and the Coolmore Partnership, is one for the notebook, but it was only Hewitson’s brilliance that got him into the winner’s box.
Going into Monday’s meeting on the Greyville polytrack Hewitson had recorded 151 wins for the season. He has a commanding lead at the head of the jockeys’ race – Greg Cheyne (103) and Warren Kennedy (101) are next best – and looks destined to pick up a third South African jockey’s championship.
In 2017/18 he was crowned champion for the first time with 184 winners and he followed up with his second title in 2018/19 when he had 219 winners.
However, possibly the statistic that says that Hewitson is riding better than ever comes in the percentage of wins he has had this 2020/21 season. He stands at 14.5 percent, which compares favourably to his previous two title-winning campaigns of 12.6 and 14.0 percent.
Also, his fitness and relentless pursuit of perfection has seen him ride all over the country and his dedication is shown by the fact that he has ridden nearly 400 more races than Kennedy this season and nearly 500 more than Cheyne. Hewitson has had over 1000 mounts, with Muzi Yeni (89 wins) the second most prolific with just over 800 rides.
Hewitson is also about to surpass 800 career winners in South Africa, where his career percentage stands at 12.92 – again showing that his current 14.5 winning rate for the season makes it his most successful since he became a jockey. Kuda is proud to sponsor him as he goes about his business of pushing back the boundaries.