Hewitson fires up the New Year with a treble
HIGH-FLYING apprentice Lyle Hewitson has made merry over the festive season and his win on the Greyville turf on New Year’s Day aboard the Paul Peter-trained Gauteng raider Fort Ember in the Flamboyant Stakes was the third Gr 3 winner in the space of a calendar week.
On Old Year’s Day Hewitson won the Gr 3 Lebelo Sprint over 1 000m at Turffontein on the Mike Azzie-trained Rivarine and on “Boxing Day” he won the Gr 3 Christmas Handicap over 1 600m on the Greyville turf aboard the Sean Tarry-trained Rikitikitana.
Furthermore, Hewitson rode a treble at the New Year Day’s meeting.
The Flamboyant Stakes saw another Graded race success for the increasingly prominent sire Elusive Fort.
The four-year-old Fort Ember was off the track for a year due to a racing rule relating to a legal wrangle.
She had finished sixth in the Gr 1 Thekwini as a two-year-old in her third career start.
She came back at the beginning of this season to win three on the trot between 1 400m and 1 600m before running a 1,7 length fourth in the Gr 2 Ipi Tombe Stakes over 1 600 and a close second in a Conditions Plate over 1 800m. The connections, KG Bakos, GM Bakos, I Levitan and Peter himself, were confident of success in the Flamboyant and she shortened into 3-1 second favourite.
The robust filly has a lovely, elasticlike action and Hewitson took her up into second place from a tricky draw of nine in the 13 horse field.
In the running she sat one wide behind a slow pace set by Littleblacknumber.
She was a bit green throughout the turn, but was nice and relaxed and turned for home full of running.
She shot into the lead and the 18-10 favourite Heaps Of Fun, who had sat in the box seat inside of her, couldn’t go with her.
It was left to Impala Lily, Dawn Calling and last year’s winner Olma to chase her home.
Impala Lily got within two lengths to finish second.
Dawn Calling was a further 3,3 lengths back in third, touching off Olma by a head.
Olma was a bit keen early from a wide draw and her good turn of foot was also blunted by the slow pace. However, she confirmed form virtually exactly with Lala from last year’s race, the latter finishing a two length runner up last year and fifth this year, 2,25 lengths behind Olma.
The race was marred by Miss Minver breaking a leg and she had to be euthanized. Jockey Morne Winnaar stood up after the incident, but was booked off his remaining rides.
Hewitson thus picked up the ride on the Dean Kanemeyer-trained threeyear-old Mambo In Seattle gelding Mr O’Neill, who at last displayed some of the ability he has always been known to possess by winning a MR 70 Handicap over 1 600m in good fashion.
Peter and Hewitson had earlier combined to win from a wide draw in fluent style on the Gauteng raider Blue Berry Pie in a 1 400m maiden for fillies and mares on the turf.
There was an eye-catching win at the meeting for the Gareth van Zyltrained and Brian Burnard-owned Onsie, who is a typically progressive daughter of Ideal World.
In a MR 66 Handicap for fillies and mares over 2 000m on the turf, she jumped from a wide draw of 15 under Muzi Yeni and had to be content to run three wide the whole way. However, this did not stop her finding plenty in the straight and she won going away by 5,5 lengths from Fashion Talk and Good Grace.
She was only running off a 75 merit rating, so still has a lot to prove before the SA Champions Season, but is well regarded by the yard and is going the right way.
Yeni also scored on the Lowen Denysschen-trained Pure Valor in a MR 86 Handicap over 2 000m, a race which had a thrilling finish.
On Saturday Rivarine had looked a sitter in the Lebelo Sprint, a handicap, as he had just been touched off by Green Pepper over this trip in his previous start when giving the latter 7,5kg.
He was running off a 98 merit rating in Saturday’s race, while Green Pepper had meanwhile risen to a 106 rating. Rivarine, who is by Var out of the J&B Met-winning filly River Jetez, “ricocheted” away from the pack in the closing stages, ducking from the outside all the way to the inside, but he was so well clear it did not matter. He finished 2,25 lengths ahead of the runner up, the progressive three-yearold Great Britain filly Queen Laurie. The latter will pay to follow as she was 3kg under sufferance on official merit ratings.
Her Grant Maroun-trained stablemate Wrecking Ball made it a one-twothree for three-year-olds.