Whyte injury is costly for Jockey Club
Champion jockey Douglas Whyte will ride at Sunday's Sha Tin season finale despite pulling out of last night's Happy Valley meeting - but his withdrawal proved a major embarrassment for the Hong Kong Jockey Club after it was forced to cancel last night's Jockey Challenge.
Whyte's right shoulder was injured last Sunday after he was unseated from Aomen at the start of the last race and the horse trod on his shoulder while the jockey lay on the ground.
He was subsequently passed fit to ride at Happy Valley, but reinjured the shoulder at trackwork yesterday morning.
'I was on one warming up before his work and he took fright at another horse and took off and he jerked on the shoulder,' Whyte said yesterday.
'I've had it checked out and I could have ridden at Happy Valley, but I'm not the sort of guy who wants to turn up for two rides then have to pull the pin if something else happens.
'If I'm not totally fit to ride I'd rather not start.
'And if something else had happened, it might have jeopardised me riding on Sunday and I don't want that.
'The right thing was to rest for the night to ensure I'm riding at Sha Tin.'
But while Whyte will keep for another day, the Happy Valley Jockey Challenge betting had to be cancelled by the club with around HK$8 million in turnover lost, even though his withdrawal from riding happened more than seven hours before the first race.
Under Betting Rule 5.2 (b) (iv) the club must refund all bets already made and abandon the Jockey Challenge betting if a jockey being offered at odds of 5.0 or less does not have a ride at the race meeting, and Whyte was the 2.5 favourite at lunchtime yesterday.
'It's an IT issue, a software issue, so not really my field,' executive director of racing Bill Nader said.
'But, as I understand it, we don't have the ability to make deductions from winning bets to compensate for the loss of one of the main favourites in betting.
'And, even with the big gap before the race meeting starts, the system doesn't allow us to close the existing Jockey Challenge market, refund those bets and start again.
'We just have to have a meeting without the Jockey Challenge.'