It's doable - Whyte sets sights on century
Champion jockey Douglas Whyte still has the door open to his century of wins after a treble took him to the verge of his best-ever Hong Kong season.
Whyte racked up Dragon And Gold, Amazing Victory and Scintillation to take him to just three wins away from his previous best 89 victories, but he agreed the century was tantalisingly 'doable'.
'It's an interesting one - 10 meetings to go and I need 14 wins. It's doable, but it's still a decent sort of mountain to climb,' Whyte observed. 'As I've said many times, I'll just ride my horses, race by race, and won't be thinking about the hundred.'
No horse at Sha Tin yesterday looked any more promising than Ivan Allan's Scintillation in the last race, and even the maestro trainer grimaced at his approaching retirement and the transfer of Scintillation to Danny Shum Chap-shing.
'I'm almost a bit sad not to be training him next year,' said Allan. 'He could turn into a champion miler as a four-year-old for Danny.'
Scintillation will be the winner of the $1 million bonus for the best-performed 2002 Hong Kong International Sale horse after taking his prizemoney to just under $2.8 million yesterday.
'I've only bought four horses at the sale here and two of them have turned out to be top class - Billion Win and this horse,' Allan said after what might have been a watershed win for the gelding, who had been headstrong in the past but came from behind to win yesterday.
'He's very impressive,' Whyte said. 'I'd been on him in work this week and he sat behind another horse in that work and that was always my plan today, to take a sit. People say he won't settle and has a bad mouth and whatever, but he was an absolute pleasure to ride today and I could have had him further back if I'd wanted. I knew the leaders wouldn't get the 1,400 metres so I eased him outside them before the turn. He was never going to be beaten.'
Allan has yet to try the gelding over further than 1,400 metres, though he sees him as a super miler of the future, but Whyte said he would have no qualms about a step in trip. 'He'd get a mile for sure, and he'd get it now,' he said.
Opening the card, Whyte scored handsomely on Dragon And Gold for Dennis Yip Chor-hong and forecast a nice future for the Last Tycoon gelding from a prolific winning Sydney family.
'I've always liked this horse since I first sat on him in a trial and he's gone from strength to strength,' he said. 'I think he'll be a handy horse next season and over a bit further than 1,200 metres. He's probably more of a 1,400-1,600 horse and he's racing well in short sprints on pure ability alone. He's one of the better griffins I've been on this season if you take away Great Win.'
Whyte's middle pin was Amazing Victory on the all-weather for John Moore, who has done a fine job to get the horse back to winning form after a serious wind problem.
'It was really severe, one side of his throat totally collapsed,' Moore said.
'The vets here, Chris Riggs and Chris Osborne, performed a tieback operation on him which is why he's been off the scene until recently and they did a fantastic job. The horse was a bit fitter second-up today after the Happy Valley run and it was a solid win, but I still feel he's a better horse on the turf and probably a bit further.'