WHEN the 2017-18 season started Bernie Hewitt had an inkling it would be a good one for his Georges Plains stable, but as it has unfolded his team have performed even better than he’d hoped.
In March Hewitt won the Group 1 Bathurst Gold Crown Final – something he’d been trying to do for almost 20 years – when College Chapel saluted at his home track.
In July Hewitt’s stable won three Group 2 Breeders Challenge Blue finals on the same evening at the same Menangle meeting with Write About Lexy, Cobbity Chic and Lifes A Jungle all prevailing.
Later that month he eclipsed his record of most winning drives for a season – his previous mark being 68 – and last week Hewitt enjoyed another big milestone.
For the first time in his training career, Hewitt reached 100 winners for the season.
“We usually train around 70-80 winners a year, but we’ve had a real good year and trained a few more horses, so I’ve been pretty happy with it,” he said.
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“Even as far back as last year I thought we had a nice few coming along, they don’t just sort of happen, you build up to having a good team of horses. So I was always confident I’d have a good year, but a lot of things can go wrong.
“Luckily everything has gone pretty right and we’ve had a good season on the track. I thought all along if we got so many winners a month we’d go close to doing 100 and that’s the way it’s worked.
“All the team at home have worked hard at it, so it’s great. All my family at home and the staff have been terrific, it’s seven days a week – no days off basically – you’ve just got to keep working at it.”
Fittingly, win number 100 came at the Bathurst Paceway when Lady Swiss produced an impressive front-running display in the Two Year Old Fillies Pace (1,730 metres).
Hewitt’s son-in-law Mat Rue was in the gig behinds the $3.30 chance, beating home a field which included stable-mates Casurina Belmer (third) and Fantasy Blaster (galloped, seventh).
“Matty Rue drove the winner for me, I had a few runners in that race so to win it was great,” Hewitt said.
“It’s a horse that some clients from Crookwell, my home town, have bought and Cath’s [Hewitt’s wife] involved with the ownership as well.”
Going from barrier four in the last race of the Wednesday night meeting, Lady Swiss lined up for the 16th outing of her career.
While Fantasy Blaster began well on her inside to go straight to the lead, it was not long before Lady Swiss moved up to take front spot.
There she stayed, pinching a 32.5 seconds split for the second sectional to set up a sprint home.
Lady Swiss covered that last quarter mile in 26.9 seconds, kicking clear with around 50m remaining to take the spoils.
She finished 5.7m clear of her nearest rival, Amy Day’s Matamua.
“It was her first win by herself, she had a dead-heat win earlier in the year, but she won that one outright which was quite pleasing,” Hewitt said.
“She’s always shown a bit of ability that filly, she’s just taken a while to develop. We’re going to give her a blow now and then hopefully she comes back bigger and stronger, grows out a bit, and goes on with it.”
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