Whyte takes another huge stride towards 11th championship
Ten-time champion jockey Douglas Whyte is eyeing off premiership number 11 after a huge afternoon in the saddle, which included a treble, the feature on the John Size-trained Flying Blue, and a Jockey Challenge win with a monstrous 58-point haul that justified his $1.50 opening price.
Whyte scored early wins on Grandfield and Costa Del Sol, before guiding home the impressive Flying Blue, winner of the Group Two Chairman's Trophy (1,600m).
The treble took Whyte to 69 wins and bolstered his lead to 19 wins over his nearest rival Brett Prebble, who raised the bat for his 50. Whyte was full of confidence in his short-priced winner Costa Del Sol leading into the Boat Quay Handicap, and left the racecourse even more pleased with the unbeaten horse's progression from his outstanding debut victory. 'Costa Del Sol won on default last time, and stepping up to 1,400 metres was just what he wanted,' Whyte said. 'He managed to win over the shorter trip just on pure ability, but today he actually surprised me. He's a good beginner and a quick learner, so he came out and he was actually a bit closer to the speed than what I anticipated him being, but that's what won him the race, because the closers had to give me a start.'
Costa De Sol held off perennial runner-up Fionn's Dragon by a head, with 1? lengths back to Ambitious Treasure in third. 'Costa's tough and he's a big boy, but he's a lovely progressive horse and, once he goes further up to a mile and 1,800 metres, it's going to be wonderful.'
Whyte got off to an early lead in the Challenge with a win aboard the Derek Cruz-trained Grandfield, which started an avalanche of points that later snowballed to 58 in total, following three wins, three seconds and a third placing from his 11 rides.
'Grandfield put the writing was on the board last time, I was deadest unlucky and he probably should have won if we'd got even an inch of room, and I just rode him the same way, but obviously came to the outside this time,' Whyte said. 'He's probably worked his way out of Class Five today, but, with a lightweight and an apprentice claim in Class Four, he could still pick up some prize money.'
Jeff Lloyd copped a two-meeting suspension for his ride on the best-backed runner Good Job in the same race, with the horse laying in over the final 100 metres and earning Lloyd the careless riding penalty.