Bad Aomen for Whyte's record bid
Douglas Whyte's rapidly vanishing hope of breaking his own record for wins in a season was the furthest thing from his mind at the end of yesterday's racing after the champion jockey parted company with his final mount after the jump and Aomen promptly stepped on him.
'He just stumbled when he took the first stride out of the gates and I was thrown forward of the horse, then as he scrambled to get himself back upright, he put his foot on my right arm and one of his other feet clipped the back of my skull cap,' said Whyte, who returned to the jockeys' room holding his arm stiffly against his side and was experiencing some numbness in the arm.
'I don't have a lot of feeling there right now but I just need to get the blood flowing there again and I'll get some ice on the haematoma. They make us tough in South Africa.'
The Durban Demon needs another seven wins in two meetings to equal his season record of 114 win, and it looks a forlorn hope now, even if he is fit to ride on Wednesday night. The stewards have asked trainers who have booked Whyte for Wednesday to also name a reserve rider at declaration time this morning.
It was a tragic and spectacular end to the 11-race card, with Chater Mikado suffering a heart attack and dying in the starting gates before the 10th race and the champion jockey coming to grief in the last.
He had added two more to his tally for the term earlier in the day, winning the Class Four cup race for Tony Cruz on Let's Goal and piloting lightly raced Dragimova for Manfred Man Ka-leung in the second.
In recent seasons, Whyte's (pictured) riding for Cruz has been on a very limited basis but he has maintained a good strike rate as a pinch hitter and his first ride on Let's Goal in the Kowloon Cricket Club Centenary Cup saw the horse in the winner's circle for just the second time in 27 starts.
'He's actually a lovely individual, quite big and I've watched a few of his races and I thought the key to him is keeping his momentum going,' Whyte said. 'If you check him or things don't quite work out his way, he struggles to pick himself up again. So I just wanted to keep him rolling and I was able to do that - the race worked out beautifully for him and the feel he gave me when he came into the race makes me think he should definitely be able to win in Class Three. But, there again, he needs it all to go his way or he looks ordinary when it doesn't.'
Whyte also climbed aboard Dragimova for the first time and the three-year-old had been out of luck from the wrong draws at his first two runs, but the champion jockey said the addition of blinkers was what made the winning difference.
'I'd galloped him a couple of times with the blinkers on and they transformed him. He didn't fire up in them, he was just more focussed,' Whyte said.
'He drew out but I had Time Runner on my inside, who has been showing plenty of speed, and I expected to follow him across and let him do all the dirty work but Dragimova was too quick for him. So I took him to the front, he had a good look around and a breather and then he kicked.
'He was empty on the line but entitled to be after spending that energy early to get over and I think he'll make a nice bread and butter horse next season.'