Carl Hewitson, operating out of Summerveld, will have his first runners as a licensed trainer on Sunday at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
He passed his trainer’s license examination eight months ago but his plans to go on his own had to be put on hold due to Covid-19.
Hewitson had been the assistant trainer to Yvette Bremner for 12 years.
His career in the industry began in his home country of England.
He was a football mad as a youngster but his father, who was a master thatcher, loved racing and was at one stage driving for a transport company which had associations with the racing industry so he one day suggested Carl go and spend some time working for trainer Henry Candy during his school holidays.
Candy’s stables at Kingston Warren in Oxfordshire were close to the famous racing town of Lambourn, which is in turn close to Hungerford where Hewitson was at school.
Carl said, “The bug bit that holiday as a thirteen-year-old.”
Hewitson was soon a stable lad and apprentice rider to Candy and later joined Mark Usher at Rowdown Stables at Upper Lambourn. He had his first rides at Lingfield racecourse.
However, his first winner came in Belgium at the age of 17.
He was offered a position over there riding for Tommy McGarrity and he later rode for the Marquis de Merga.
The latter’s stable jockey was Tommy Young but she had a big operation and Carl thus rode in many feature events.
After four years in Belgium he went on a working holiday to South Africa and initially rode in Port Elizabeth for Ian Passanah, whom he had met in Belgium.
He rode in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg too and later had six seasons in Mauritius and six seasons in Malaysia. His biggest success came when riding a Group 1 winner in Malaysia.
However, he always returned to Port Elizabeth and thus took up the position with Bremner sometime after 1his riding days were over.
Port Elizabeth was also the birth place of his son Lyle who was destined to become the South African Champion Jockey while still an apprentice in the 2017/2018 season and he retained the championship the following season.
Carl said, “I did not expect Lyle to ever become a jockey but he took to riding horses, first in polocrosse, and then used to ride work when he came to visit me in PE.”
Bremner gave up training recently in unfortunate and well documented circumstances but this unforeseen event inadvertently provided a boost to Carl’s new venture.
He was offered the opportunity to choose from 60 of Bremner’s string. He chose 35 and all of the relevant owners agreed they could travel to Carl’s Summerveld yard.
Carl will have a lot of experience to draw on and confirmed Bremner’s methods would have a lot of influence.
He added, “We had a good working relationship and would bounce things off each other.”
Hewitson said looking for a certain type of horse was a luxury few could afford in the game and elaborated, “You have to make do with what you are given and I am fortunate to have some owners who are very good at picking horses at the sales. I have a very nice bunch of owners and am very appreciative they have stuck with me.”
Fittingly Lyle will ride his father’s first ever runner, Love The View, owned by the International Racing Club. This first-timer three-year-old gelding must have a shout from a plum draw of two in the 1200m maiden considering his sire Global View was a miler who gets them to run early and his dam, an Irish-bred by the legendary Sadlers Wells, has produced six winners and her five multiple winners include Pacific Spirit, a five-time winning sprinter who is Listed placed.
Lyle also rides two of Carl’s other runners on the day, the imposing Mangrove, who runs over 1900m, and Brazil Nut who is on a hattrick and is stepped up to 1400m.
Carl’s sprinter Quinlan will be ridden by Rocky Agrella in a Pinnacle Stakes event over 1200m and although his recent form is not too inspiring he is the best weighted runner according to official merit ratings.
Picture credit Pauline Herman Photography