Champion jockey Douglas Whyte scalpelled another two wins off the championship lead of Brett Prebble yesterday at Sha Tin and sent star three-year-old Entrapment into exalted territory with a very real chance of being the first horse to win seven races in a season.
Whyte returned from suspension last Wednesday with a deficit of seven wins to make up, but took one off that tally at Happy Valley, then another two yesterday as he scored with Chater D'Cat and the John Size-trained Entrapment without reply from Prebble, who had a forgettable afternoon.
The Durban Demon is looking to win his 10th straight championship and now trails Prebble by four, but he and Size have a chance to make some history with Entrapment along the way.
Size has now won six races in a season with six different horses, having achieved the feat earlier in the term with Brave Kid, who stumbled at making it in seven in the Derby and when he found himself in top class events against all-comers subsequently.
But the trainer confirmed he would take unbeaten Entrapment to the Juvenile Sprint Trophy for his seventh run, 'provided he pulls up well from this run' and that gives him every chance of taking the last step.
'Brave Kid was trying to make it seven in a Derby and then against some of the best older milers,' said Whyte. 'He had no advantages in those races. Entrapment, on the other hand, will be going into a race where he has a rating of 103 plus whatever he gets for today and he'll be racing mostly horses with ratings in the 70s or 80s at set weights.'
Entrapment has that outstanding characteristic of an A-grade horse that he makes it all look so easy and the three-year-old brushed aside a poor barrier draw yesterday.
'Gate eight certainly looked awkward on paper with good speed inside him, but I broke positively and when I saw a line inside me wanting the lead, I just came back that little bit and crossed to the inside and I reckon I ended up getting the best run I've ever had through a sprint on the dirt,' said Whyte.
'I don't mind taking a little bit of the credit, but the truth is that Entrapment is a horse who makes it easier on the jockey because he goes where you put him and relaxes and when you push the button again he sinks down and really pushes.
'It's a feeling we all love to get - today I had 132 pounds and when I was coming at the other favourite with 108, I didn't want to hit my horse for fear he would go to the front too quick. He's a horse really going somewhere next season - wherever he's heading, I don't know but it's somewhere good,' he added.
Whyte's other win came on the David Ferraris-trained Chater D'Cat, a reformed horse who has taken to the all-weather with a vengeance - and to his blinkers.
He has now won two from three on the dirt and two from two with the headgear.
'I worked him the other day on the grass and he went down like he had three and a half legs,' said Whyte.
'He's not lame but he resents the firmer track so he's taken to the softer surface on the dirt. But I still think the blinkers have been the bigger part of it. Before he wanted to look around in his races and not go forward but now he's more focused. I wouldn't write him off going back to turf at Happy Valley, the way he's going now in the blinkers.'
The brilliant John Size-trained Entrapment can become the first horse to win this many races in a season: 7