Prebble can give Whyte a fright in Challenge
Brett Prebble had a rare strike-out day on Monday to open his season but the Australian jockey has the wherewithal to upset Douglas Whyte in the Jockey Challenge at Happy Valley tonight.
And that's despite Whyte's superiority in numbers, with the Durban Demon boasting a full book and Prebble without mounts in two of the eight races.
Prebble's eight rides at Sha Tin turned out to be a disappointing afternoon, with just two third placings. His hot mount for the day, Spicy Fruity, was never in the hunt after failing to stretch out.
So it's back to the Valley where Whyte and Prebble fought out the 'city championship' last season, with the South African's 34 wins good enough to beat Prebble's 30, but he needed 20 more rides for it and their strike rates were remarkably similar.
Oddsmakers last night posted Whyte at his regular short quote (2.3) with Prebble and Felix Coetzee joint second choices at 6.0. Prebble can give Whyte a fright at least if he can make a mark early.
The opening Class Five contest will be important, as both jockeys would count their mounts - City Surfer (Prebble) and Chinsola (Whyte) - among their winning chances for the night.
Prebble follows up with strong hopes in race two (Wait For Me) and Happy Ambassador, the early favourite in race three, while those are two of Whyte's weaker races, so it is here that may make or break Prebble's challenge.
Whyte looks the winner of the fourth with Magic King but the pair will clash again with two of the strongest hopes in race five, Crush On You (Prebble) and Perfect Match (Whyte).
By that stage, Jockey Challenge punters on either rider will be hoping to have pretty well settled the issue.
While each has claims in the sixth, the presence of Diamond Supreme isn't going to make scoring major points easy. Prebble's night then finishes with Super Charge and he probably would not want to be relying on him to gain any decisive points.
For Whyte's part, the back end of the programme has him facing some awkward draws - something he is accustomed to overcoming - but not what he'll be wishing if he has a lead to pull back on Prebble.