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  • Apr 21, 2014
  • Updated: 1:55pm

Whyte edging closer to eclipsing his 114 benchmark

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 June, 2008, 12:00am

Douglas Whyte crouched over the withers of Express Win as the gelding romped to the line in the final event at Happy Valley and clenched a power fist in a moment of personal acknowledgment of another personal goal achieved.

And, however improbable his one remaining goal this season might be - to beat his own Hong Kong riding record of 114 winners - history shows clearly that he can do it.

A rash of six suspensions for careless riding should have been enough to slow Whyte's momentum, or at least sufficiently to prevent him making 100 winners for the season. But there he was on Thursday night, at meeting number 70, completing the ton for the third time.

Being away in Japan to ride Armada in tomorrow's Yasuda Kinen, Whyte (pictured) therefore has just seven meetings left in which to take aim at his own benchmark, set in 2006.

But if you think that's a tall order, just remember that he rode 15 winners at the last seven meetings of the 2005-06 season to get that record.

Whyte's Thursday celebration was a quiet and fleeting one, coming as it did in the final race of the night and with the first Friday morning gallop just hours away.

Whyte's 'Dream Team' partnership with premier trainer John Size has been the backbone of his season, accounting for 39 of his 100 winners at a strike rate of 24.2 per cent.

Interestingly, Size does not represent his highest partnership strike rate. Among the stables for which he rides most regularly, Whyte's link with Me Tsui Yu-sak has provided that figure, with eight winners from 28 rides (28.6 per cent).

He has also been used successfully as a 'pinch hitter' by Michael Chang Chun-wai (two wins from five rides) and Caspar Fownes (two from eight), while his record with David Hall is a perfect one-ride-one-win association, courtesy of Silent Dragon.

Whyte has ridden winners for 17 of the 24 trainers at Sha Tin, and five more have supported him occasionally (less than 10 runners) but without a success.

His broad platform of support is underlined by the fact that only two trainers - Tony Cruz and Ricky Yiu Poon-fie - have not used him at all this term.

The amazing thing about Whyte is his energy and his desire. He never tires of the thrill of victory or the personal satisfaction he derives from his advice getting results for the owners and trainers who support him.

On Thursday night, it was his raw skill that made the difference for Keen Soul in a desperate three-way photo, while with Express Win, it was on the Durban Demon's advice that trainer Dennis Yip Chor-hong stepped the Australian private purchase up to the extended Valley mile.

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