A New Year it may be, but it’s more of the same for Kuda-sponsored jockey Lyle Hewitson, who has opened up a commanding lead at the top of the National Jockeys’ Championship.
While many South Africans allowed themselves to sleep in for a few late morning hours on New Year’s Day, the 23-year-old travelled to Port Elizabeth where he had a double on the day, including a winner in the main race on the programme, the Lady’s Bracelet (Listed) aboard the Justin Snaith-trained Sovereign Secret.
As if to highlight his commitment to the cause, he had a further three winners at Greyville on 3 January and a winner at the Vaal two days after that on Magical Flight.
Among Hewitson’s many strengths is his energy and fitness and by 6 January he had already totalled 762 rides for the season which opened last August, which means he has been averaging some 150 mounts per month.
His winners have come from all parts of the country – although the latest lockdown rules mean that he is again restricted to Gauteng – and his winners have come at a healthy rate of over 15%. This is better than last year when his winning percentage was 12% in a shortened campaign.
Hewitson had finished 2020 with a flurry of winners, including two feature race successes aboard Paisley Park (the Listed Secretariat Stakes over 1400m) and the nine-year-old Mombela in the Grade 3 Lebelo Sprint over 1000m, both at Turffontein. The jockey misses out on the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate double-header at Kenilworth because of Covid-19 restrictions as he has elected to base himself in Gauteng for the duration of the latest lockdown.
Starting 2021 in the manner that he has shows that the only thing that has changed is the year on the calendar.
With the latest lockdown regulations requiring jockeys to remain in one province, the door of opportunity has been pushed open for another Kuda-sponsored rider, Sandile Mbhele, who is staying in the Western Cape. He has picked up three rides for the Friday card on the opening day of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate weekend and four more rides on the Saturday card.
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