Jack Milner: Schoolboy Lyle Hewitson wrapped up the Work Riders’ Challenge at Turffontein on Saturday but it turned out to be a lot closer than expected.
Charles Ndlovu held a six-point lead over Hewitson going into the final leg but Hewitson had so many good rides the outcome looked to be a formality but that was not the case. “These big days are hard,” admitted Hewitson.
“Racing fitness is below par and things don’t always go your way. Last time I rode four winners and I thought I had chances to do it again but I ended up with just two winners and one fourth placing.”
That was, however, good enough to earn him the R20,000 first prize and with Ndlovu riding two third places and one fourth place, he could hold on to second spot and claim the R10,000 cheque.
Third place went to Francis Semela who is rarely far off the top group and he came away with R5,000.
However, the best performance on the day came from one of the stalwarts of the work riders’ programme, Sam Mosia who won R5,000 for his two victories in Races 2 and 8, one second and one third place.
“He’s a well-balanced rider and he doesn’t get worked up,” said James Maree, who runs the programme under the auspices of Phumelela, the Racing Association and the Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust.
Hewitson still has one more year of schooling to finish before he decides what to do with his life but he is a very pleasant and articulate young man who certainly has the desire to win. “I would like to thank all the trainers who have supported me. I am not here to ride work in the morning so I’m grateful they have let me ride their horses.”
He started off on fire with wins in Race 1 on 18-10 favourite Hot August and then the “good thing” in Race 4, Rascality, who drifted to 15-10 but won by 5.50 lengths.
His fourth place came in Race 2 aboard the recently blinkered Melliflora but after Race 4 perhaps the fitness issues he talked about may have kicked in a little.