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McQuaid pays tribute to Ray Hewinson

Chris McQuaid, national secretary of the New Zealand Jumping Association yesterday paid a warm tribute on Race Cafe to jockey Ray Hewinson, who died after falling from Hilton Jewel in the Taieri Hurdle at Ashburton on Sunday:

"I got a terrible shock when I first saw this news. I first met Hewi over 20 years ago, and we became pretty good friends during my commentating days. His cheery smile and that gap-toothed grin were enough to brighten even the most miserable Southern raceday - even better during the summer!"

"Although I hadn't seen him for a long time, we talked on the phone every so often, and in fact I rang him just the other week, trying to track down some information for my records. I also ragged him over the length of time he was taking to lose his jumping allowance - after all, his first jumping ride was 23 years ago!"

"A lot of people will remember that his first jumping winner, Heart Of The Desert at the 1982 Grand National meeting, paid way over $100. The shock was obviously too much, because it took him 17 years to jump into first place again. His biggest win over fences was last year's Otago Hurdles on Just Becoss, and it was the same horse which provided his final success when scoring at Timaru last month."

"Hewi's final jumping record was 165 rides for 9 wins, 11 seconds and 15 thirds. It may not seem like a great record, but Hewi was one of the unsung heroes of the jumping game, prepared to ride anything, anywhere. Without those people the racing industry would not survive, and the world will be a lot poorer for his passing."

"On behalf of the NZ Jumping Association I wish to extend sincere condolences to his family and to all his other friends."


- Published here with Chris McQuaid's permission