'Nervous' Whyte reaches milestone thanks to a good Aomen
Douglas Whyte was like a cricketer stuck in the nervous nineties as he endured a frustrating wait, including being rolled on the shortest-priced favourite of the day, before bringing up a century of winners for the season on Aomen in the last event.
The 11-time premiership winner started the day on 99 wins, and bringing up a ton for the fourth time seemed a formality as long odds-on Jockey Challenge favourite, with 10 strong rides on the programme.
'It is something I think about,' Whyte said of the amazing milestone. 'It's not an easy achievement, especially in Hong Kong being such a competitive environment.'
Surely making it seem a longer wait was twice being nailed in close finishes by arch-rival Brett Prebble, who had already denied Whyte 100 wins for the term in similar fashion two weeks ago in the last at Happy Valley, leaving the South African stranded one short as he served a two-meeting suspension.
Getting caught in a pocket on 1.6 favourite Holyangelholy and being beaten by a short-head by Prebble on Joyful Winner II was particularly hard to take for the South African.
'It was like pulling teeth ... especially for me, being so competitive,' he said. 'On a fair ride when you get beat I can take it, getting beat like that is like swallowing half a brick.'
Whyte was thrilled to finally bring up triple figures for good friend John Size, with whom he has combined for 46 wins this season.
'It was appropriate, and what an appropriate name, it was like an omen,' Whyte said.
Aomen won easily at his second try on the dirt, the jockey calling the four-year-old 'an ideal late season horse.'
'He is always going to be impressive when there's some give in the track, once he gets his toe in, he lets down and stretches out,' said Whyte, who admitted a recent two-meeting suspension and trip to Japan may have dashed his chances of breaking his own record for wins in a season (114).
'It's going to be tough from here. If it happens great, but if it doesn't then I've got another century under my belt,' he said.