Lyle Hewitson, Muzi Yeni and Aldo Domeyer – the three young guns who will represent South Africa at the inaugural Premier Gateway International Jockeys Challenge – might not be the most experienced.
But what they lack in experience, they will make up for in grit, determination and guile far beyond their tender years.
The South African threesome, who will go up against teams from the UK, Australia and Asia in four races, is the youngest team by far.
Hewitson will only turn 21 later this year while Yeni and Domeyer are 31-years- old. That is an average age of 27.3 years.
Team Asia – consisting of Joao Moreira, Vlad Duric and Troy See – have an average age of 35.3 years while the Australian team has an average age of 36.6 years and is loaded with experience in Hugh Bowman, Kerrin McEvoy and Mark Zahra.
Team UK’s Hayley Turner, Rab Havlin and Fran Berry are – at an average age of 38.6 years – the old-timers.
While the fledgling South African unit might appear to be lacking in experience, they continue to raise the bar in local racing.
Hewitson has been quite a sensation, this year becoming the first apprentice to win the SA Jockeys’ title since Muis Roberts in 1973. He has broken the record for the number of winners ridden by an apprentice while still having nine months to go before becoming a jockey.
Both he and Domeyer have fathers who were jockeys and have been brought up around horseracing. With 137 winners last season and a win strike rate of close on 20%, Domeyer is expected to excel at his second Jockeys Challenge. He was part of the SA team which participated in the Air Mauritius International Jockeys’ Challenge in 2016.
Yeni has ridden a number of Grade 1 winners and impressed pundits when he rode in Greece last year. He rode 1448 times last season, earning over R18-million in stakes, and is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down this season. He has been riding almost daily since the new season has started, and this dedication has landed him atop the National Jockeys’ log.
The PGI Jockeys Challenge, presented by Phumelela Gaming & Leisure and Tabcorp, will be hosted by the Singapore Turf Club on 25 September.