Entrenched in the top five of the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship after a bumper season, Lyle Hewitson hopes to close out the campaign with a strong showing at the 2022/23 season finale at Sha Tin on Sunday (16 July).
Armed with ten rides across 11 races, Hewitson is optimistic he can add to an impressive tally of 50 wins and 105 minor placings from 620 rides this season, a haul which has the South African occupying fifth place in the standings behind Zac Purton (176), Vincent Ho (94), Hugh Bowman (60) and Karis Teetan (55).
With 80 wins overall in Hong Kong, 25-year-old Hewitson continues to consolidate his position as one of the jurisdiction’s most sought jockeys after identifying the need at the start of the season to ride for more stables after forging strong relationships with Douglas Whyte and David Hayes.
“My target at the start of the year was to extend that support base. Of course, Dougie is a good friend to me but also my main supporter and I cannot thank him enough for putting me on the map,” Hewitson said.
“But to succeed, you need more than one guy to support you and I think this season that was my goal – to build more relationships and strengthen others – and that could lead to more winners and I think we have seen just that.
“I’ve had a lot more outside support and when you can repay them with the winners, that’s the most important thing. Having started to ride more winners, then it was more attainable to be setting goals and as I soon as I started getting closer to figures I could achieve, I started putting them out in front of me and 50 wins for the season was the target – and it was good to get there.”
Wednesday night’s (12 July) double for Me Tsui (Telecom Fighters) and Francis Lui (Joy Coming) was evidence of Hewitson’s widening appeal and this weekend he teams with five different trainers – Whyte, Hayes, Chris So, Francis Lui and Benno Yung.
Capable of riding at 117lb, Hewitson believes he has an even spread of mounts on Sunday, including Whyte-trained Flaming Rabbit in the HK$3.8 million Class 1 Hong Kong Racehorse Owners Association Trophy Handicap (1600m).
“I actually think my rides will be competitive. I think Flaming Rabbit could have a hard task and being the last day, everyone is throwing their last bullets out there and I don’t have anything that stands out on paper but maybe if I can give one or two a good ride, you never know,” he said.
Sunday’s (16 July) 11-race season finale kicks off with the Class 5 Mr Award Handicap (1200m) at 4pm (AEST 18:00).
– News from Hong Kong Jockey Club