• Thu
  • Jul 10, 2014
  • Updated: 11:51pm

Whyte responds with turbo boost as protagonists go tit-for-tat

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 May, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 May, 2002, 12:00am

Champion jockey Douglas Whyte and this season's major contender, Shane Dye, looked set to play a big hand yesterday, but each had to settle for a single victory. Dye pulled back one win when Snippetyiyea won the all-weather seventh and took his tally to 59, but Whyte went seven clear again in winning the last with Turbojet for Tony Cruz.


While Whyte has had more fruitful days at the office, his win was important as Dye has just six meetings to cut back the margin. 'It took me all day to get a winner but I got one,' he said. 'And if the championship does end up coming down to just one win difference, I'll have to look back on this win as being the one. There's not much doubt that the runner-up Cellini should have beaten me easily.'


Dye's win on Snippetyiyea helped John Size move three clear of Ivan Allan in a trainers' championship which has become a slugging war of attrition in recent weeks. A far cry from the doubles and trebles which had been pouring from the stable in March, Size is now squeezing out only single winners at longer intervals, but so is his rival.


Snippetyiyea was having his first all-weather run and was always expected to cope, although one wag suggested it was tough to tell the all-weather from the turf with so much green-dyed sand on the latter.


'Actually, in his work he has been very efficient on the dirt,' Size said. 'I had this race in mind for a little while if he hadn't already won by now. And the inside draw was a huge plus, too. In his three starts he has had 11, 12 and 11, but barrier one today made the difference.' Size's expanded lead was shortlived - Allan cut it back to two again an hour later with Firebolt.


French rider Eric Legrix will get an early holiday break after incurring a five-day ban in the opening event. Stewards found Legrix to have dropped his hands in the final stages on King Of Fish, who was beaten for third only after a photo-finish. Legrix pleaded guilty and will start the ban after Wednesday's Sha Tin card, effectively ending his season this week.


Wendyll Woods teamed up with two old mates again to snare a double and escaped without the suspensions which seem to have been rolling his way lately. Woods has just returned from two five-day bans. 'Nice to walk out with two wins and still riding,' Woods laughed.


He won the griffin event on Champ Dragon for his boss, Lawrie Fownes, then linked with a former Fownes success story, Smiling Forest, in the sixth. Now trained by Peter Ng Bik-kuen, Smiling Forest had a good record for Fownes and Woods until moved earlier in the season. 'I'm still amazed that he left Lawrie's yard because he'd won four races and you can't do much more than that,' Woods said. 'Still, it's great for Peter and I'm happy for him. He is a very under-rated trainer and has had some really topline horses down through the years.'


Ng has had a wretched season this term but has now moved to 11 wins, just one short of the Jockey Club's performance criteria number.


Woods has ridden for 15 seasons as Fownes' stable rider in Hong Kong but that arrangement finishes on June 16. However, they were back in the winner's circle together when Champ Dragon withstood a protest from third-placed Wise Choice (Eric Saint-Martin) in the second race to give Fownes his second griffin winner in a week.


'This guy and The Duke have both done a good job,' Fownes said. 'I haven't decided yet whether they'll run again this year, but they are going to be decent horses next season. As far as the protest was concerned, well, they were babies racing tight and he did drift a bit. But with a length margin, I always thought he was entitled to keep the race and the decision was the right one. Wise Choice was never going to beat my fellow.'


Like the opening griffin winner, Little Elephant, Champ Dragon was wearing blinkers for the first time. 'The blinkers got him concentrating. He was just lacking a bit of focus in the finish before,' Fownes said.


South African Bernard Fayd'herbe was the beneficiary of a mix-up between Douglas Whyte and trainer John Moore when he scored at his first ride for the stable on Waialae Win.


Moore had found himself without a rider at declaration time and bounced the idea of booking Fayd'herbe off Anton Marcus, who does most of his riding.


'Anton said he'd be ideal, and it has worked out as well as you could hope for,' Moore said. Waialae Win was able to overcome a hold-up in the straight to score and Moore reckons the best is yet to be seen of the Honor Grades gelding.


'He's been a slow learner and early on I thought he might be a candidate for a replacement permit, but now Waiale Win is looking like a very progressive young horse and hopefully he'll learn to take this form on to the turf as well,' Moore said.


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