Industry Press

Hewitson Looking Forward To Vodacom Durban July Day

Reigning national champion jockey Lyle Hewitson confirmed that the exciting prospect Caralluma would be his best ride on Vodacom Durban July day and he also spoke about the three-year-old question mark surrounding the July, where he rides Dingaans winner Shango.

He rides Caralluma in the Grade 2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper over 1400m from pole position and said, “Look, they are two-year-olds, anything can happen, but I do think she’s quality and she is my best on the card.”

He moved on to Shango and the three-year-old question mark and said, “We missed three months of racing and I think we will know a lot more after Gold Cup day, that will be the three months we’ve missed out. So, yes there is a question mark but I think there is a question mark every season, people have some doubts and the three-year-olds seem to raise their hands, so let’s see what they can do this year.”

He continued, “Mr Tarry has made no secret about Shango being quite a lazy workhorse so it’s hard to gain confidence from his work, but he looks a picture, he’s a magnificent individual. His coat is really good at the moment, he’s moving well, his demeanor is good, so it’s all heading in the right direction, so I’m happy where he is. He has been lazy at track throughout his career but everything else is spot on and I’m looking forward to the race.”

Hewitson rode Shango in the latter’s first four career starts and recalled, “He was close up on debut at the Vaal and in his second start at Scottsville, both over 1200m. He then won a really nice race over a mile at Hollywoodbets Scottsville and he backed up to run second to Alibi Guy over 1900m on Gold Cup day and I thought he was very unlucky that day as he was green and all over the place here at Hollywoodbets Greyville.”

He added, “I have done all the work on him since he’s been here (at Summerveld) and I know him very well.”

Tarry said recently that Shango had thrived in KZN last season and he expected the same to happen this term. The Captain Of All colt arrived at Summerveld shortly before finishing fastest of all in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 under Gavin Lerena for a 3,05 length fourth and has been there ever since

Shango won the Dingaans last November in impressive style but the autumn classic season didn’t go according to plan, starting with him missing the Gauteng Guineas with a small setback.

Hewitson continued, “He wasn’t tuned up for the Classic, and I wouldn’t say he was disgraced, and he went into the Derby and looked a winner and just got run out of it. His form is there when he’s right and he’s deceiving too, a lot of people would consider him a one pacer but he’s always a finisher so I’m happy and I’m ready for the big day.”

Hewitson spoke about two other runners on the day.

He said, “I think Ecstatic Green will run a cheeky race against the boys (in the Grade 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe). It is tougher and she’s going 1400m for the first time, so a few question marks there, but I think she’s improved from her run and I expect her to hit the board.”

He rides In The Dance in the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes and said, “She ran a short head second to Oh Susanna last year in the Tibouchina coming from last after a slow start, so when she puts it together she’s a seriously decent individual. It looks a very tough race but if she hits the frame I will be happy. She’s doing well and her prep has been good, no excuses.”

Of the rest of his card he said, “My other rides are competitive and I’m just looking forward to some good runs.”

Those rides include SA Fillies Sprint third-placed Singforafa in the second, Shenanigans, who seems to love Greyville, in the Gold Vase, albeit from a wide draw, and the in form Golden Belle, who runs in the ninth if she does travel down after her win at the Vaal yesterday.

Copy: David Thiselton, Gold Circle Racing. Images: Candiese Lenferna Photography