The young South African continues his scintillating run of form with a double at Sha Tin on Sunday
(Sam Agerson) South China Morning Post
Just about everything Lyle Hewitson touches is turning to gold at the moment and he was handsomely rewarded for his decision to put in the hard yards to ride the victorious Nicholson Returns (Iffraaj) in Sunday’s Class Four Special Cargo Handicap (1,650m) at Sha Tin.
The David Hall-trained galloper dropped a point in the ratings after his last-start fourth, meaning the red-hot South African jockey had to dig a little bit deeper to make the weight of 116 pounds.
“I’m very happy, he won very well. I’m pretty much cut to 117 pounds on a general basis but when I got off last time I straight away went to Mr Hall and said ‘I’ll ride him at 116 next time, please I want to stick him with and I will make the weight’,” Hewitson said.
“I just love it when a plan comes together and it was worth taking weight off to have a win like this.”
Hewitson positioned Nicholson Returns outside the leader from gate 11 and the three-year-old put things to bed in fine style in the straight, saluting by four and a half lengths to break his maiden at start seven.
“He’s slowly made good progress and the blinkers have helped a bit. He was a little bit nervous when he first arrived and it took him a bit of time to get his confidence. His trials weren’t that good and race by race he’s got better,” Hall said.
“His form over his last two runs showed he was ready to win a race but he took it to another level today and probably the conditions [helped]. Being a New Zealand-bred by Iffraaj, I think he really liked getting his toe in the ground and that showed in the performance.”
The victory completed a double for Hewitson after his earlier win aboard the Douglas Whyte-trained Cheval Valiant and he now has seven winners from the past three meetings.
“It’s unbelievable. I’m just super, super blessed for all the support and I’m just enjoying how things are going, so long may it continue,” said Hewitson, who has 15 winners from 446 rides in Hong Kong but seven victories from his past 14 mounts.
Picture: Hewitson’s win aboard the David Hall-trained Nicholson Returns (HKJC Main picture and below).