All's well that ends well
The day did not go exactly as scripted for champion jockey Douglas Whyte after getting down to unbackable odds in the Jockey Challenge at one stage yesterday, but it was a case of all's well that ended, well, almost well.
Whyte was always a strong favourite to win his fourth Challenge on end and got to as short as 1.03 in the aftermath of John Size-trained wins by The Peak and G-One Winning, yet the fat lady was left clearing her throat for quite a while as short-priced Aomen and Fay Fay went unplaced, and it was ultimately a scramble as Real Specialist's desperately unlucky second at short odds in the final event sealed it.
Both Matthew Chadwick and Olivier Doleuze had been potential upsets before the last race, but when they paid out in the end, it was Whyte's name on the winning tickets again. The pair on Size's two three-year-olds came as no surprise, with each a warm favourite for his race and Whyte made no mistake, with almost carbon-copy rides to plant both just behind the speed two-wide, then stake a claim at the 250 metre mark.
'I was very pleased with The Peak because John has really brought him a long way since I first sat on the horse,' Whyte said. 'He was small and I would have said runty, just a horse who came out and zipped along and didn't impress. Now he is still small, but he has furnished physically and even more mentally. He was very tractable today - I could have led, but he was just as happy sitting in third or fourth.'
Although The Peak seemed green as he straightened up and Whyte began to ask him for an effort, the debutant quickly focused.
'He found a rhythm and found the line and he showed good courage because the second horse came to beat him,' Whyte said. 'It will be a bigger task next time for a little horse like him when he's asked to carry a bigger weight, but he's with the right man to keep progressing.'
The adjectives are somewhat different with G-One Winning, however, with more than 1,200 pounds of horse to work with and a form line that now reads two starts for two solid wins.
'He's very professional and made improvement from his first run,' Whyte said. 'He's a lovely individual, quite a big horse to sit on, and there's plenty to work with there.'