Last season’s champion workrider Lyle Hewitson has enjoyed his first couple of months at the South African Jockeys Academy (SAJA) and is awaiting a NHRA decision to fast forward his first professional race ride.
A South African Racing rule states no apprentice may ride in a race within a six month period of arriving at the Academy, but the Academy have made a request to the NHRA to relax the ruling in Hewitson’s case due to his prior achievements in the saddle.
The Kearsney College Old Boy is the son of former jockey Carl Hewitson and had 88 rides as a workrider for 23 winners, including a four-timer in February last year. His strike rate was over 26%
Hewitson was appreciating the advice being given to him by Academy riding masters. The latter work around a rider’s natural style and Hewiston likened it to a professional golfer having his swing tweaked by a swing analyst. He added the biggest step up would be “the thinking part” and the riding masters have consequently educated him plenty into the all important strategic side of raceriding.
Hewitson should have no problem adapting to the latter aspect of the profession as he came close to achieving an academic clean sweep when matriculating last year, achieving five distinctions and 79% for his two other subjects.
He will further his studies through a University Correspondence course during his three year indentures at the Academy. He will have time on his hands while his younger colleagues are attending school lessons.
Hewitson has already earned the respect of the senior jockeys, whom he revealed have been very helpful. He was always going to be sort after by the trainers so has been busy at track in the mornings.