I was far from done, insists Whyte as floodgates open
Dream Team of Size and Whyte answer critics who might have felt champs were past it by bagging treble to open their accounts in style
The Dream Team of Douglas Whyte and John Size sent out a message yesterday for those who had been quick to forecast their demise after just two meetings had gone by without a winner.
Whyte was on board as Size led in I Smell Money, Bundle Of Love and Mentor, and put to rest the rapidly percolating anticipation around town that it might be all over, in particular Whyte's 12-year reign as the champion jockey.
"I've always said it's not how you start but how you finish. People write you off pretty quickly here but I guess it keeps you humble," Whyte said at the close of play.
"Gee, you go two days without a winner and suddenly you're done and dusted, getting old, too tired. And there are plenty of chirpy rivals about trying to knock you off your pedestal. I promise you I'm not done yet and neither is John. We're back - well, actually we didn't go anywhere. It's great to get off the mark with a treble and especially for John."
I Smell Money's win had nothing spectacular about it from the grandstand - soft lead, slow pace, fought on too well - but Whyte said it showcased how willing a competitor the five-year-old is, if limited in talent.
"On paper, it looked a race he could win coming back to Class Three and the pattern of the first part of the day was that on pace was the right place, but give him credit he showed plenty of guts today," Whyte explained.
"He jumped through the saddle at the start and so I was sitting right back on him and could hardly ride him. I was feeling very awkward and that's why I only gave him one slap on the shoulder with the whip, but he knew his job and knuckled down and did it all himself. Unfortunately he'll go back to Class Two now and he's vulnerable there."
The switch to the all-weather surface was just what Bundle Of Love was looking for and he was a transformed horse compared to the animal he looked in two attempts on firm turf last season.
"The last 100m of his turf races, he was bobbing up and down in the one spot and I thought he was feeling the hard track. He was really looking for a wet surface, but there's not much of that about here so the all-weather is the next best option," Size said.
"In his work he handled the surface very easily and looked a much better horse today on it. He jumped better, travelled better and let down better."
Mentor had a great start to his career last season, winning four of seven starts, but still missed a fair bit of that campaign due to a temperature and spell that kept him out of action for several months.
"He won four of his first five, then he got a temperature spike one day, I scratched him from his race and sent him straight up to Beas River for a break. And he'd done a good job and was probably entitled to a break then anyway," Size recalled.
"Then he came back for two runs at the end of the season, and would have been one of the first horses I worked again this season, so he was very fit for today and it looked a suitable race. He's a horse who doesn't win by far so that has helped him with the handicaps."
Yesterday was Mentor's second run in blinkers - Size had wanted to put blinkers on the horse during his winning run early last season but gear changes on winners are often frowned upon - and Whyte said the shades have made him sharper.
"Blinkers were the winning move today, he won the race at the start and killed Fionn's Treasure sitting outside him in the lead. Last season, he used a think a bit at critical points of his races and lose focus but he didn't today," Whyte said.