The injury jinx that has hit South Africa’s top jockeys has also been a blow to punters, who rely on accomplished and in-form riders to give their fancies the best possible chance.
Now Lyle Hewitson has been sidelined by a fall. The superstar apprentice will be crowned Champion Jockey next week and will want to celebrate his rare achievement with a flourish of victories in the final week of his fairytale season.
He might still do so, but a return to the saddle after Friday’s cropper at Fairview hangs on a doctor’s decision today on a troublesome knee.
Hewitson is booked to ride some fancied runners on the Vaal Inside course tomorrow – notably Arte for trainer Grant Maroun in Race 5 and Psychic for Sean Tarry in Race 7 .
Replacement riders will be announced, if necessary, after the medical pronouncement, but it is worth noting that some top-notch jockeys engaged at the meeting are available.
Hewitson is due to start work in Race 4, a Maiden Plate for fillies, aboard Mike and Adam Azzie-trained Readysetglo.
This grey two-year-old made her racing debut a month ago at the Vaal over 1200m and ran on encouragingly after a slow start. In her second outing she goes over 1400m and expected improvement puts her in with a chance in a competitive event.
Josie, Brave Zndaya, A Little Luck, Elangeni and Get Your Grove On should all be considered for exotic bets and Quartets.
Arte in the fifth race bids for a winning hat-trick in a 2400m Middle Stakes.
She has very consistent form over this type of trip and is a must – and possibly a banker – for Bi-Pots and Place Accumulators.
Inn A Million is a challenger, while seekers of value should look at Hirohito and feather-weighted Sabastian.
Hewitson’s outstanding engagement of the day is Psychic, who will start as favourite and is a banker candidate in Race 7.
Aldo Domeyer raiding on the Highveld has warning lights flashing. This season the Cape Town ace has ridden 10 horses for mother-in-law Ashley Fortune, for four wins and several places. He travels north again tomorrow and the likely payoff is in Race 9 with Horace. Evolver in Race 8 also looks a handy runner for the Fortune Domeyer team.