Full book of rides gives Whyte strong hand
As the only jockey with a full book of rides at tonight's Happy Valley meeting, Douglas Whyte looks the clear pick in the Jockey Challenge as $1.60 favourite.
He is in stellar form and has chalked up 16 wins from his past 60 rides for a Whyte-hot winning strike rate of 26.7 per cent over the past seven meetings.
Perhaps Andreas Suborics could pose the main danger to Whyte, and at $17, looks an enticing proposition for those wanting to bet around the odds-on favourite. Brett Prebble was listed as $7.50 second pick, and Zac Purton, at $10, could also throw a spanner in the works if Whyte, who is gunning for his fourth straight Challenge victory, lets his guard down.
There is little chance of that happening, and with a suspension looming at the end of the month, Whyte will be keen to rack up as many winners as he can to remain in the premiership hunt.
Winning Pal looks a terrific chance for Whyte in race one and Windicator Returns, who has his first start for trainer Caspar Fownes, is a likely improver in the second.
Whyte must negotiate a tricky gate from the 1,200m start aboard Scoot Da Loot in race three, but, given Whyte's recent form, you wouldn't discount him finding a favourable position.
Frustrating Darpana looks capable of breaking a decent run of outs for David Ferraris in race four.
Rugby Heaven is a plum ride for Whyte, who rounds out his card with strong chances, Elegance Fortune, Team Work and Moon Chaser in the final three events.