Intelligent | Horseman | Charismatic | X-Factor..
When I first met Lyle back in early 2016 it was at Summerveld where I was running proprietary bone density and soft tissue conditioning field trials at the time. Lyle is different to the rest of us.. and I got the strong feeling from him within the first few sentences that something was about to happen to racing we hadn’t seen in a long time. I had no idea about his horsemanship level at that stage, he had been winning some amateur races in JHB (which I hadn’t seen) and was on his way to getting an apprentice license and stepping out for his first pro ride. This was about charisma, intelligence, communication, magnetism and x-factor. This was about a potential future poster boy for our game. I walked away from that short first meeting thinking.. if this boy can ride half as good as his presentation package, we have a champion in the making.
For a short while I had the privilege of using Lyle as a work rider but once he got his license he was gone. Within weeks his star had risen so astronomically quickly that he was in demand around the country on a daily basis and no longer a regular in the mornings at Summerveld. I had this horse that was pulling like a train in work and no one could hold him he was a bitch. He was up next and there was no one around to take him and then Lyle happened to pass by and offered to jump on. I gave him the heads-up about the pulling and with no specific instructions other than try and keep him from tearing away, and off they went.. and came back at a relaxed soft rein canter! That people, is Lyle Hewitson for you. A rare blend of everything needed to go all the way.
As of today, Lyle Hewitson’s apprenticeship has ended and he is now a fully fledged jockey. And by the way, he’s also the current standing SA champion jockey 2017/2018, which he achieved as an apprentice.. something that hasn’t been done in decades if memory serves correctly. Congrats Lyle, and remember – with great talent comes great responsibility.
by Leon Setaro (ZAR Bloodstock)