Day At The Track

Hewitt has 'the touch' with the fairer sex

11:53 AM 22 Sep 2015 NZST
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David Hewitt - Has a good record with fillies and mares
David Hewitt - Has a good record with fillies and mares

David Hewitt doesn’t claim to have any preference for racing females, or to have any special knack with them, but a double with two five-year-old mares at last Wednesday’s Bathurst harness racing meeting might give him cause to reconsider.

Village Jasper daughter Verdot ($10.30) used the increasingly-popular Bathurst sprint lane to edge out a very bunched field in the second race, a C4 sprint, and two races later, Keilor Kimberly ($2.60 favourite), by Browning Blue Chip, came from the one-one to narrowly take out  a C2 Tabcorp Park Country Series heat.

Hewitt was pleased with the efforts of both mares, which have held their form very well over the winter, and was especially pleased to see Verdot bounce back from an unlucky run, when she locked wheels, at her previous start.

Keilor Kimberly likes the speed on in her races, so a fast lead time and three sub-30 second quarters, as she peeled from her one-one sit, had her backers feeling rather smug as they turned for home.

The mare ran to a clear lead early in the straight, and the result looked a formality, but someone forgot to tell Ashlee Siejka and the death-seating Hi Its Only Me NZ, which fought right to the wire, to go down by just a head, in a 1:56.5 rate.

“She travelled so well in the run, I turned her loose as soon as we straightened, but I think I probably went a bit early on her – she’d had enough on the line,” said a relieved Hewitt after the result came down.

The Goulburn-based trainer currently has about 20 horses in work and he’s a popular figure at Bathurst, where he and son Brad have a very good strike-rate.

Emma Turnbull also drove a double at the meeting, to continue her excellent start to the new season.

She drove 14 winners at her home track last season, and seems certain to exceed that figure very early this time around.

Shes The Real Deal ($1.30 favourite, for Lester Hewitt) dominated from the lead in the opening race, a C1-C2 mares sprint, reeling off a slick 28.2 final quarter to gap her rivals by almost 10 metres, with seemingly plenty in hand.

“I’m pleased to be able to take these drives for Lester, while J.T. (O’Shea) is away"

"I’m having a very good run at the moment, and I guess I’m a good fill-in,” was Emma’s modest self-appraisal.

Racecaller Kevin Thompson clearly agreed, by applying the winner’s name to the driver herself.

After Dave Hewitt’s double, and winners to Ash Siejka (Our Leonardo), Mat Rue (Izzy Watt) and Chris Geary (Smiling Cullen), Emma completed her double with one of her mother’s team in the 2260 metres C0- class seventh race.

Soldier Of Fortune NZ ($9.70) occupied the one-one position for most of the race, and held on in a desperately close finish from Lap Dancer, which raced inside it on the markers.

 A dawdling pace accounted for the 2:03.5 mile rate, easily the slowest on a night of otherwise quick times.

Steve Turnbull rounded out the meeting with an all-the-way win in 3YO class with Iownaturbo ($3.30), the third win in just eight starts for the filly, who improves with every run.

After the earlier win of stable runner Smiling Cullen, his was the third double for the meeting.

It attracted a good crowd, and with five favourites successful, they headed home pretty pleased with themselves.

Terry Neil

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