Rivals running scared as Go Baby Go stamps class
Go Baby Go arrived at Dennis Yip Chor-hung's stables 'scared of everything', but it will be opposition trainers fearing the progressive sprinter after another dominant victory yesterday at Sha Tin.
The four-year-old received a hefty 13-point ratings rise for his debut win up the straight, but absorbed that and then some when he dispatched a solid Class Three field over the same course and distance at his second outing. The 23/4-length victory was part of a double for both the trainer and jockey Douglas Whyte.
Yip has used some unorthodox methods to help soothe Go Baby Go's nerves, ordering mafoos to take the horse on afternoon walks throughout the Sha Tin complex, including around an empty parade ring.
'When he arrived he was scared of everything,' Yip said. 'He was sweating a lot and very nervous, but he needed confidence. In the afternoon I have asked the mafoos and work riders to slowly walk him around everywhere.'
The only concern for Go Baby Go was barrier one and having to cross to the outside rail, but as Yip put it: 'After 500m I knew we had it won.'
Whyte said the horse had given him a tremendous feel with his blistering natural speed. But what the jockey took away from the faultless effort was the horse's improved attitude to his surroundings on raceday.
'He's very aware and was just terrified of a few things,' Whyte said. 'Mentally he needed to take the next step and I think Dennis has done a great job by being patient with him. The horse was a lot quieter this time and he was a lot more mentally stable, he held it together. I wanted to asses him this time, not on ability, but on temperament and he obviously passed with flying colours.'
Whyte rebounded from an uncharacteristic performance at Happy Valley during the week to win the Jockey Challenge with 50 points.
The Durban Demon put the finishing touches on another exceptional training effort when he rode Zezao to victory for Richard Gibson in a Class Five (1,400m) contest.
Zezao was perhaps the most maligned horse, earning the ire of the punters with a litany of race-track offences. Among the horse's many behavioural issues were a propensity to overrace and missing the start on occasions, yet his obvious natural ability kept in high in betting markets.
Winless after 25 starts, he was transferred to Gibson, who diagnosed the need for a crossed nose band and a run in a 1,000m race to help teach the horse to settle in behind runners.
'He is honestly not a nice horse,' Whyte said of the six-year-old. 'He has no respect and just wants to run over horses when you put him in behind.'
There was still the hint of the old Zezao ($19.50) when he threw his head in the air as the pace slowed a touch in the middle stages.
'This time he was tractable and he came back to me,' Whyte said. 'There wasn't much room for him to go through in the straight, but he got through and kicked away. I think he'll come away from today with a bit of confidence and knowing that racing is not that bad.'
'He'll go home and have a think about that and probably enjoy the fact that he showed some courage and character.'
Whyte said it was a blessing when he was held up for a run last start on Zezao. 'I was never going to beat the winner, but what we were trying to teach the horse is that when we're behind a horse we can't just run over the top of horses, that he needs to relax and go when I say so,' Whyte said.
Gibson admitted his status as a 'rookie' trainer probably helped him look at his troubled acquisition with an open mind and treat him as an individual. 'I've found him pretty straightforward to train,' he said. 'He has learnt to relax and showed me a lot of talent. But the advantage of being a rookie is that I haven't seen all of his bad runs.'