South African jockey hopes to ride Russian Emperor to Group One success as he extends his winning run at the city circuit.
Face Smiling. It is not just the title of the first of Lyle Hewitson’s whole book of Happy Valley rides on Wednesday night, but it is also the term the South African rider uses whenever his recent successes on Hong Kong’s city circuit are mentioned.
Hewitson has rode at least one winner at each of the last 11 Happy Valley meetings in which he has competed, a “Purtonesque” or “Moreiraesque” run that started with his race-to-race-to-race triple on World Famous, Valiant Elegance, and Xponential on April 27 and has continued until the present.
Even though the three-time South African champion jockey missed the nine-race program in town on June 1, no rider has seen more joyful finishes to Happy Valley races over the previous twelve meetings at the city circuit than Hewitson.
The Happy Valley medallists throughout that time span are Hewitson (16 victories), Purton (12), and Moreira (10), with the 24-year-old rising star rightfully on the gold step of the dais.
Hewitson says “excellent horses” when asked to choose one aspect that his Happy Valley data most strongly correlates with, but statisticians who study betting odds and race outcomes contend that he is being too modest.
A statistical indicator called Actual against Predicted (A/E) contrasts a jockey’s actual and expected number of victories.
The actual number of wins for a jockey must match their predicted number of victories in order for their A/E base mark to be one. The A/E score should be more than one. A/E scores below one are undesirable.
Despite having a difficult time racing on the city circuit, Hewitson’s A/E grade for Happy Valley is 1.49, which is nothing short of amazing. Before celebrating his maiden win at the city circuit atop Kiram, Hewitson rode 70 Happy Valley losers.
Lyle Hewitson’s decisions
Hewitson is pushed to pump up his own tires, which is necessary in Hong Kong’s very competitive racing atmosphere but not natural to him. Hewitson claims that ever since his confidence-boosting triple last season, he has been making the right decisions in Happy Valley.
I am unable to relate Happy Valley to any song from my own South Africa. Few tracks in our system have such undulations and cambers, according to Hewitson.
But here is a course where a few easy choices may make all the difference. You don’t always need to ride the strongest animal. Just take the proper action at the appropriate moment.
During Tuesday’s heats at Sha Tin, Lyle Hewitson rides Group One winner Russian Emperor for the first time.
Lyle Hewitson’s confidence has increased as a result of making the correct decisions at the appropriate moments at Happy Valley, regardless of which Hong Kong track he is facing off against some of the top riders in the world.
“I think I’ll have a winner. It would be absurd to claim that any meeting was a failure if I left it without declaring a winner, according to Lyle Hewitson.
“I’ll have a winner sometimes, but my frustration is with the horses who didn’t win or who didn’t have every chance to win. That demonstrates how fiercely ambitious and competitive I am. Right now, having the ideal day is quite difficult.
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