Whyte looks set for a Mighty evening

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2005, 12:00am

Champion jockey Douglas Whyte made Happy Valley the scene of his triumph last year when he smashed through the century of wins barrier and returns again tonight with prospects of reliving that moment.

Though Whyte needs a treble to make the century a reality, he has a string of good rides on the card at the Valley track where, with 29 wins to date, he should again be leading rider for the venue this season.

And the Durban Demon finds himself with the distinct advantage of barrier one for three of them - Touch Down (race two), Progressing Times (race eight) and John Size-trained Mighty Hugo in the night's feature, the Lions Clubs International Cup over 1,800 metres.

Mighty Hugo has had a chequered season with soundness issues keeping him to a handful of starts and wide draws often hampering his efforts.

But he returns to Happy Valley over the course and distance in which he has raced only twice for a win and a narrow second, and gets the right draw, the right jockey and the right ground.

The Zabeel five-year-old has always shown a preference for cut in the ground and there appears little doubt about him getting plenty of that this time.

His last run was quite satisfactory in a slowly run 1,600m at Sha Tin behind Bobo Win when back markers were in trouble long before the home turn as the leaders merely jogged around.

Mighty Hugo still left no doubt about his form as he zipped to the line in fourth, matching the leaders' sprint but unable to bridge the gap on them.

This race looks to have a truer tempo to it, as Dashing Champion, Able Knight, Wong's Success and California Bishop go forward and Mighty Hugo should be able to take a breather off the pace and on the rail until the serious work begins.

The race nevertheless has a very competitive look to it and two of the more interesting runners are Caspar Fownes's Cheeky and mystery last-start failure Come See You.

Cheeky (Corey Brown) has raced only three times on rain-affected ground for a win and a close second and the switch up in distance may help him.

Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained Come See You has always excelled in wet ground, but certainly blotted his copybook in soft going last time over 2,200m at the Valley when Shane Dye pulled him out of the race at halfway.

Dye reported to stewards that the horse was never travelling well and made a significant breathing noise before he elected to ease him down near the 1,000m.

The horse has since performed satisfactorily in a barrier trial and, with blinkers back on, he might be better assessed on his strong effort over 1,650m two starts back.