Durban Demon gets best out of Lujia, Speedy
Who you gonna call? If Douglas Whyte ever tires of the Durban Demon nickname, 'The Luckbuster' might be an appropriate replacement because Whyte was the answer when trainer Paul O'Sullivan needed someone to turn things around for China Lujia and Speedy.
Whyte gave copybook displays on China Lujia and Speedy to scrape home and provide the New Zealander with a double, but it was classic Whyte, getting on the pair at the right time.
'When they aren't having much luck, Douglas is very quick on the phone and when he wants to ride something, the owners are usually just as happy to have him on,' said O'Sullivan.
'In fairness to the other jockeys who have ridden both horses, today was probably the right day and the right race to get on each of them.
'They both arrived as 'dumb' horses who knew nothing about racing and they are only just getting things together.
'But Douglas is great because he accelerates the learning process - he gets them out of the gates, puts them into the race and shows them just what it is they are supposed to be doing.'
Whyte said he had been keen to get on board China Lujia after the gelding had endured a horror run of things going wrong in his races for several starts and he was crying out to win one.
'He had not had the best luck with barriers, interference on occasions, wide trips or getting caught in the wrong spot,' Whyte said.
'Yet he had been running with credit and that's what I liked about him. He was having no luck and was still there at the finish. Today we managed to get a soft box seat sort of run and when I pulled him out he really let down. I think he's a horse who will handle himself in Class Three after he's had a break.'
Likewise Speedy has had little racing and Whyte had to resort to spanking him to victory yesterday after dropping his whip.
'My hand was sore but we got the job done. I don't know if he'll live up to his name but Speedy has a bit more to him yet,' the jockey explained.
'It wasn't much of a race today so I was happy to send him forward and get out of any trouble and try to give him a cushy run. In the straight, he popped his ears up and even without having the use of the whip, he did find an extra length when the second horse Jolly Bird came at him, so that to me is a horse who will win again because he is so willing.'
Whyte's three-timer left him on 104 wins but still just about on pace to set a new win record for a season, despite missing a personal record number of meetings through suspension or absences like last Sunday's engagement for Armada in Tokyo.
His benchmark figure of 114 is still 10 victories away and he has five meetings to go but Whyte does excel every season in the final days when he doesn't lose focus, despite the looming appeal of the summer break.