THE 2022 season was one of the most successful yet for veteran Bathurst trainer-driver Bernie Hewitt.
Hewitt trained 126 winners last term that included an impressive six Group 1 victories, capped off by his two of his stable stars, two-year-old filly Jewel Melody and three-year-old gelding Ripp being named as leading juveniles for New South Wales in their respective age groups.
After mixing their form this campaign, both Jewel Melody and Ripp bounced back into the winner’s circle in impressive style at Tabcorp Menangle on Monday afternoon.
Jewel Melody proved too strong for her arch-nemesis Peaceful, defeating that filly by two and a half metres in a qualifying heat of the Australian Pacing Gold Bullion series for three-year-old fillies.
Her win was ultra-impressive as she was forced to race without cover outside Peaceful who had led but was overpowered by the Wayne and Julie Loader owned filly in the run to the line.
“She went super on Monday,” said Hewitt.
“That was the real Jewel Melody and fingers crossed she is back to her very best.”
Stablemate Ripp, driven by Bernie’s son Doug had little trouble accounting for his rivals to win his heat of the four-year-old entires and geldings division of APG Bullion series.
Ripp travelled at the rear of the small field for majority of the race, Doug allowing him ample time to find his feet.
But when asked to extend, the gelding sprinted quickly to finish over the top of Smaltese and Allstarzzz Frankie and progress to the next round of the series.
“Like the filly, Ripp looked sharp and is hopefully back to where he was last year,” said Hewitt.
“He picked his opposition up with ease and showed his class.
“Doug knows the horse so well and drives him to how he feels in running and again was spot-on, so I could not be happier.”
It has been a normal busy week for the Hewitt stable competing almost every day.
Yesterday the family were involved in the highly-successful Flood Relief day in Eugowra and he will back up tonight at Bathurst with 10 runners.
His best winning chance appears to be Always Thunder in Race 4.
The five-year-old is on a quick back-up from winning at Goulburn on Sunday and looks perfectly suited drawn in gate two.
– MICK DUMESNY