Jockey Anton Marcus will not be able to take part in the Air Mauritius International Jockeys’ Challenge at Turffontein on Sunday 19 November due to family commitments and talented apprentice Lyle Hewitson has been chosen as a replacement.
Hewitson, who only started his apprenticeship in March last year after 23 wins in work riders’ races, has made an outstanding success to the start of his career as a jockey. His total tally of wins to date is 236. He is currently leading the South African jockeys’ log with 39 wins, the biggest coming in the Grade 2 Joburg Spring Challenge on Wonderwall.
According to a press release from the Racing Association, the panel that selected Hewitson to replace Marcus “feel, although he’s still an apprentice, he is able to make a great contribution to the team this year”.
The South African team now comprises Anthony Delpech, Greg Cheyne, Gavin Lerena, S’manga Khumalo, Craig Zackey and Hewitson. The internationals are Ireland’s Pat Smullen, PJ McDonald and Seamie Heffernan, Australia’s Corey Brown, England’s Martin Dwyer and France’s Thierry Thulliez.
The International Jockeys’ Challenge will comprise just one meeting this year but the jockeys will compete in six races rather than four, as has been the case previously.
The runners will be seeded beforehand and a ballot will be held for mounts in each of the races to try and ensure both teams have roughly the same calibre of rides overall.
Points are awarded as follows: first – 30; second – 15; third – 12; fourth – 10; fifth – 8; sixth – 7; seventh – 6; eighth – 5; ninth – 4; 10th – 3; 11th – 0; 12th – 0. If a jockey does not ride in a race, he gets seven points. The team that scores the most points wins the Challenge and there is an award for the top rider.