Yeni calls foul
Two strikes and you’re out! In a ruthless display of riding, Lyle Hewitson put the jockey championship to bed within the first three races at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday and the championship was done and dusted after the sixth with Yeni three behind and out of ammunition.
To seal it, Hewitson added one more to his tally as the Dennis Bosch-trained Padre Pio stretch his lead to four in the eighth.
However, an upset Yeni, who is already facing an inquiry into his conduct in the steward’s room last Saturday, claimed foul and made his views clear after winning on Coldhardcash.
Speaking post-race; “Yes, I was giving it my all. I just find it very much injustice in the whole system in the jockey’s championship. Lyle was served a two-week suspension in April and they prolonged it until the end of the season when he can take it and I thought that is was very unfair to me.
They call it the rainbow nation but there is no fairness. I was forced to stand down when I was 12 winners ahead while Lyle was riding so to call it a fair contest? Everyone is coming here to support the championship but then they must make it clear. How come he can ride?
Interviewer Sheldon Peters tried to defuse the situation but Yeni was adamant in his views although he would have been well advised to check the suspension rules before sounding off.
“I can’t talk anymore because obviously I’m not allowed the playing field to talk, but I’m saying this is all in the media why someone is in front and why someone is not so. Obviously if I am not allowed to voice my concerns. Why some people are allowed to ride and some people are not allowed to ride. If I was good enough to serve out my suspension why not be allowed to ride out the season.”
In what must have been one of the most exhausting championship battles ever, Yeni fought all the way to the line. 1819 rides is no mean feat in itself and Hewitson’s 1554 had him chasing hard after starting 40 behind after a two-month injury break at the start of the season.
Hewitson, Hong Kong-bound in the next fortnight, is confident in his abilities which will stand him in good stead in one of the world’s toughest racing jurisdictions.
“Ten days ago (when he was six winners clear on the log) I did not have the best book of rides but I realised that I was riding well. But Muzi did a fantastic job coming back.”
Hewitson started the last day of the season two winners ahead of Yeni but had stretched that to four by the third race with wins on Wishful Girl Linn in the first for a former champion jockey Garth Puller, and Marula in the third for visiting trainer Gary Alexander.
Yeni picked up a ride on Cersei for Kom Naidoo in the first but had to be content with a well-beaten second as Wishful Girl Linn skated home three lengths clear.
Yeni made a fist of it in the second as he gave his all aboard on the Tobie Spies runner Minister Without but favourite Wolfgang proved more than a match. Spies has been one of Yeni’s biggest supporters this season and a win would not have been out of turn.
Duncan Howells is another Yeni supporter and Hewitson’s lead was cut to three after Coldhardcash made all the running under Yeni to hold off Louis Goosen’s runner Bravo Zulu with the balance in another race. It was a fine training feat by Howells as Coldhardcash is not clean winded and races with a cornel collar.
It pays to follow in form stables and yards that tend to come to form at certain times of the year. Richmond-based Doug Campbell is always one to keep an eye on once Champions Season has run its course. With few runners that can compete with Champion Season raiders, Campbell keeps his powder dry for this time of the year and although Jamaica Bay did have two races during the season, she was primed for the fifth yesterday as she and Craig Zackey out-gunned Such A Rush and luckless apprentice Xola Jacobs.
Lowan Denysschen had a hard taskmaster in his father Paul who was a supreme horseman and although winner’s have been hard to come by this term, Denysschen came within an ace of a double yesterday. Such A Rush had to bend her knee to a faster finishing Jamaica Bay but Thru’ The Trees did the business for the stable as Mark Khan got him going to get the better of pacemaker Roy’s Pony in the sixth.
Hewitson ended the season on 219 winners, Yeni on 215 and Anton Marcus third on 189.
By Andrew Harrison