LYLE HEWITSON (Pic: Dean Sawarjith)
Danie Toerien: There’s an old joke about being glad you have ears, otherwise your smile would go all the way around your head.
On Sunday we said it twice at Kranji Racecourse in Singapore, first when Muzi Yeni and Eye Guy finished third in Race 6, the $125,000 Flax 2012 Stakes over 1200m, and a race later when Lyle Hewitson equalled that achievement on Dicton in the $150,000 El Dorado Classic over 2000m.
Not a bad performance by the two South African youngsters who are making their debut here in Singapore ahead of Tuesday’s Premier Gateway International Jockeys Challenge on Tuesday.
Hewitson’s performance in the El Dorado Classic was exceptional, considering it’s a Group 3 Race which drew a full field of 16 runners. In the process, he beat Australian Hugh Bowman and Vlad Duric from Team Asia – two heavyweight jockeys who will be in action in the Jockeys Challenge on Tuesday.
Describing the two young jockeys’ performance as outstanding, Larry Wainstein, CEO of the Racing Association, said: “They are absolutely making the most of the opportunity to get the feel of the track, to learn about the conditions here and of course to get used to the heat.
“These are all important factors. The fact that they have performed so well shows that they are tremendously talented and that they have heart.
“We are expecting great things from them come Tuesday.”
Both Yeni and Hewitson had rides in the day’s feature race, the Group 1 Raffles Cup over 1600m and the first leg of the Singapore Triple Crown. Their mounts – Nova Strike and Bahana respectively – were unfancied and didn’t bother the leaders at any stage.
South African-bred and owned Noah From Goa, who was quietly fancied, was slow away, losing several lengths to the pace. Jockey Nooresh Juglall chased him up to get in contention but the effort was costly and he faded right out in the closing stages.
The Raffles Cup was won for a second time by favourite Debt Collector, who flew up dramatically from last place at midway under jockey Michael Rodd to snatch victory from Circuit Land and visiting Australian jockey Hugh Bowman. Third was second-favourite Jupiter Gold and fourth long-time leader Countofmontecristo.