Bear Hero's overseas foray remains priority
The irony was hard to miss when champion jockey Douglas Whyte proved the undoing of unbeaten junior Bear Hero yesterday after connections had elected to swap the Durban Demon for the 10-pound claim of apprentice Alvin Ng Ka-chun.
However, trainer David Ferraris later confirmed Bear Hero's owners would persist with a trip to the Group One Coolmore Stakes at Flemington over the Melbourne Cup carnival against his own age, despite his defeat at the hands of John Size's smart year-older sprinter, King Mossman.
'I would have liked him to win today but the owners are keen to go, so he'll go,' said Ferraris, despite his clear disappointment at the three-year-old's first defeat in four starts.
For Whyte, there must have been some added satisfaction at the win, as he had been asked to ride Bear Hero in Brett Prebble's absence, but connections switched late to Ng to use his claim and came off second best when Whyte was tactically much sharper than the apprentice and wiped out any advantage the claim might have offered.
He bounced King Mossman out first, crossed in front of Ng, then stacked them up on the home turn before kicking strongly for home. Bear Hero was wearing down the margin at the post but the bird had flown.
'It's always great to get off the mark for the season and even moreso when it's one of John's because he has been such a great supporter and full credit to him - he's got this horse flying. I've ridden him in the mornings and in a trial and every time, and again today, he has felt like the boy of last season has grown into a man,' Whyte said.
'When we came out of the gates, I had Bear Hero immediately inside me and I could see what he was going to do and I was quite happy about him going to rail and taking me across.
'I did get a pretty easy time of it when I got the front, but my horse had a big lump of weight and he still had to kick and still had to fight off the challenge and he did all of that. I think he can take the next step when he goes to Class Two.'