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Picture : Keagan de Melo showed astute pace judgement in his win in Hong Kong today (Wednesday) (HKJC)

Lyle Hewitson and Keagan de Melo both had winners at Happy Valley in Hong Kong today.

Hewitson was aboard the Tote favourite in the first but finished downfield.

However, he wasted no time in making amends by riding the Mark Newnham-trained outsider Happy Hero to victory in the second race over 1650m, a class 5 event.

The Australian-bred Pierro gelding paid HK$16.00 on the Tote.

Hewitson was not only on an outsider in the race, but also had a tough draw of 9 in the 12 horse field.

He allowed his mount to amble out of the pens and dropped on to the rail in last place.

Happy Hero was still last turning for home and after hooking out wide his in-running odds would likely have been bigger than his starting odds. 

However, this horse’s merit rating had dropped from an initial 52 down to 24 and he was carrying bottom weight of 119 pounds (54kg).

He ran on steadily and in the end won easing up by 1,5 lengths.

It was a first Hong Kong win for the Australian trainer Mark Newnham.

It was Hewitson’s fifth win of the season and he lies in 6th position on the log.

Reigning SA Champion jockey De Melo has not been given many good rides on the island and riding a horse in single figure odds has been unusual for him to date.

His ride in the third was the Douglas Whye-trained Irish-bred Galileo gelding Ivy League, who was paying HK$9.80 on the Tote as they jumped, which for him represented a fair opportunity.

He was also drawn fairly well in five in the 1650m class 3 event and he took the opportunity with both hands.

He left his mount alone in the early stages and ended up initially running in seventh place in a field that was strung out early as the pacemaker went clear.

However, De Melo alowed his horse to stride out down the back straight outisde of horses and he moved on to the leader’s quarters as they reached the final turn.

Ivy League battled courageously in the straight to just get the better of the pacemaker and the closers came too late.

It was a well judged ride and was just De Melo’s second win of the season.