Usual suspects dominate the Challenge again

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2008, 12:00am

With apologies to Damon Runyon, the race may not always go to Whyte or Prebble but that's the way to bet.

After five rounds of the Jockey Challenge, Brett Prebble has landed three of them and Douglas Whyte one, with the other result going to apprentice Thomas Yeung Kai-tong on the opening night of the new bet type, when Whyte was suspended.

Again at Happy Valley tonight, Jockey Club odds framers have Prebble and Whyte dominating the market, with the Durban Demon quoted favourite at $2.30 and Prebble a strong second elect at $3.50.

Both jockeys have been in sensational form lately, although it's hard to quote a period when that was not the case.

Race after race, they are giving their horses every possible chance and often overcoming 'impossible' barriers and making it look easy.

Although Prebble has an edge in the Jockey Challenge series at the moment, don't expect it to go unanswered because Whyte didn't win seven premierships and 1,000-plus races by ignoring either challenges or opportunities.

Tonight at the city course, Whyte has chances in all eight races, starting with the improving Super General for Manfred Man Ka-leung in the opener for Class Four animals. His most in-demand ride, on last night's markets, was Champion Lad in the sixth event, the Ma Tau Wai Handicap for Class Four gallopers at the extended metric mile. At the 7pm tote call, the John Moore-trained Champion Lad was a $25 favourite.

He also has an excellent chance of winning the sixth event for the in-form Me Tsui Yu-sak yard with Wong's Favourite, who has turned around an abysmal form line in radical fashion, having now won four of his last five starts and being runner-up in the other.

Prebble, fresh from a super four-timer on Sunday that was very nearly five, doesn't look to have a standout ride among his eight bookings, but the dual Melbourne premiership hero is riding so well he has to be given every chance again.

Prebble's confidence is sky high, he's reading races with tremendous clarity and he is the only jockey in the room who can be compared to Whyte in terms of tactical awareness.

The shortest priced of Prebble's mounts is Trulli for Francis Lui Kin-wai in the third event, the Diamond Hill Handicap.

Trulli, who worked home late behind Har Har Charms over 1,000m here at his most recent start on April 23, was a hot $22 favourite after the early shoppers had put their money down.