where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2023-09-08 10:32:13  
De Melo opens with 3 rides in Hong Kong Start

In the competitive world of horse racing, Keagan de Melo is gearing up for a new challenge as he makes his debut in Hong Kong at Sha Tin on Sunday. While this transition may seem daunting to some, de Melo has received invaluable advice from none other than Lyle Hewitson, a three-time champion jockey from South Africa who has made a name for himself in the bustling Hong Kong racing scene.

Lyle Hewitson's journey in Hong Kong has been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. He knows firsthand the trials and tribulations that come with competing in this thrilling racing environment. Hewitson's message to de Melo is clear: stay the course, even when the going gets tough.

Hewitson's remarkable rise in Hong Kong began with a challenging start. He initially lost his first 140 races in the city before finally achieving victory with Last Kingdom in December 2019. This perseverance and determination are the qualities that Hewitson believes are essential for success in Hong Kong.

"Keagan's outlook is he's got to make it work," Hewitson told the SMCP. "It's the same for a lot of us South Africans when we come here. We've got to make it work because we can't backtrack to South Africa. It's not feasible once you see what you can achieve here."

Hewitson's advice to de Melo is grounded in his own experience. He emphasizes that success in Hong Kong may not come overnight. It's a journey that requires dedication, hard work, and resilience. "I said [to Keagan], I don't feel sorry for anybody because I managed to get through it, and I'm not mentally special in that I'm the only person who could get through that situation. Anybody can if they apply themselves and really want to achieve it."

The camaraderie between South African riders in Hong Kong is evident, with De Melo, Hewitson, and Luke Ferraris being friends off the track. However, when they're in the saddle, they are fierce rivals. De Melo acknowledges the guidance he has received from his fellow riders: "They're good mates of mine. Obviously, they've pointed me in the right direction. There's only so much they can do for me. I've got to go out there and make a name for myself, but they've given me some good pointers."

De Melo's debut assignments at Sha Tin are no easy feat, but he's prepared to face the challenge head-on. With the support and wisdom of experienced riders like Hewitson and Ferraris, he steps onto the international racing stage with determination and the belief that success is within reach.

As the sun sets on Sunday's race day, all eyes will be on Keagan de Melo as he takes his first strides in the electrifying world of Hong Kong horse racing, armed with the astute advice of Lyle Hewitson echoing in his mind: stay the course, keep chipping away, and seize every opportunity that comes your way. 

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