Whyte all clear after fall, but Rispoli not so lucky
Champion jockey Douglas Whyte remarkably escaped unscathed from one of the nastiest moments of the season when odds-on chance Can Do shattered a foreleg mid-race, but visiting Italian Umberto Rispoli was not as lucky after he collected the favourite on the way through.
With no warning, Can Do's left foreleg simply snapped after the 650m of the ninth race and he hurtled back through field, skittling runners around as Whyte tried to cling on, and landing directly in the path of Rispoli and Lucky Record. At that point, Whyte crashed to the ground and Rispoli followed, instinctively flinging out his right hand to break the fall.
The two riders were rushed to nearby Prince Of Wales hospital where, incredibly, Whyte was found to have only bruising and he returned to the racecourse two hours later to pick up his riding gear. Rispoli, however, sustained a suspected fracture to the pisiform bone in his right wrist.
It was an extraordinary end to a day when the two jockeys were expected to go head to head in the feature race, where Rispoli replaced Whyte on Ambitious Dragon, but both were beaten, then beaten and bruised a little over half-an-hour later.
Whyte's aches and pains may have been slightly worse after Tye Angland replaced him in the final race to win on the John Size-trained Real Specialist, giving the top trainer a double after Red Courage (Whyte) had won the opener.
Real Specialist has put together a record of eight starts for the season with three wins and three seconds and it was the return to 1,800m that heralded his return to winning form at surprising odds when many felt he had gone off the boil.
'The only two times he has looked ordinary were the Derby at 2000m and then 2,400m last time and it looks like he just doesn't stay those distances,' said Size. 'But he's had a terrific season otherwise. He never showed me anything to suggest he had trained off. He's progressed all campaign and has thrown off that greenness earlier in the season.'
Size's griffin winner, Red Courage, was far from impressive with his narrow win as a hot favourite, but the trainer was unconcerned: 'You would hope from his pedigree that this early racing over sprints isn't going to necessarily be his best. Over the seasons, the griffin form holds up against the older horses when they meet them, even if they seem ordinary now and he did show some character to fight on and win.'