When Methane was denied a fair start before running on strongly two weeks ago, it was easy to wonder if it just isn’t meant to be for jockey Lyle Hewitson in Hong Kong this time around.
The 22-year-old South African prodigy arrived at the start of the season carrying genuine expectation after a prolific run in his home country, but so far the touch of luck that can come in so handy in the Hong Kong furnace has evaded the likeable youngster.
He’s yet to notch his first winner and it was clear a recent second aboard Monica tested Hewitson’s patience, but he remains as determined to establish himself in the jockeys’ room as the day he landed.
“The mindset is to stay and I just hope I can get the ball rolling in the near future,” he said. “It’s all about waiting for that first winner to come and when it does I think we’ll get on the right path and things will start looking positive.
“It’s obviously tough but I always maintain a positive mindset and I know how much I’m improving each and every day.
“The main thing is sticking with rides, it’s very tough if a horse improves and you don’t get on it again.”
Hewitson gets his wish at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, retaining the ride on a pair of David Ferraris-trained gallopers who look to be edging closer to a win in Electric Lightning and Methane.
As is his wont, Hewitson is quick to extract the positives out of Methane’s recent misfortune, where the starter opened the gates when the horse had his head down and he missed the start by about four lengths before being declared a non-runner.
“It was very frustrating, you see the way he finished off and you think he could have just about won,” Hewitson said.
“I’ve tried not to ponder on that too much and on the positive side the horse has got a second run out of the way and he would have matured from that. He will take it under his belt and he has come on well in his work.”
Methane finished third on debut at the course and distance and Hewitson has confidence in the horse despite drawing gate 10 in the Class Four Dandelion Handicap (1,200m).
“We’re in a sticky predicament with the draw but he definitely has got the ability to win this sort of race,” he said. “I just hope things go really well for him because he deserves to win and he’s got the ability to do it.”
Electric Lightning heads into the Class Four Hibiscus Handicap (1,650m) off a last-start third but has also drawn barrier 10, however at a mark of 50, he is rated seven points below a win last season.
“He’s obviously off a really good mark at the moment, his last run was impressive and I thought he hit the line nice and strong,” Hewitson said.
“His work’s been really great coming out of that run so I expect another bold showing.”
Hewitson’s other two rides on Wednesday night come on the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Forever Bright and Francis Lui Kin-wai’s Interstellar.