Whyte forced to take a vacation after four-timer
Champion jockey Douglas Whyte begins a two meeting suspension today after a Sha Tin four-timer that stretched his championship lead over Zac Purton out to six and it could have been more.
"I think the only one that was really unlucky and didn't have his chance was Little Men, but he definitely was unlucky," said Whyte, having landed Hypersonic, Good Friends Magic and unbeaten Sea Dragon for John Size and Gurus Dream for Dennis Yip Chor-hong.
Stewards questioned Whyte about why he took his time to get at Little Men with the whip again after a severe check at the top of the straight, but the jockey told them he feared for the horse's well-being after nearly falling in the nasty incident.
By the time Whyte was able to get Little Men balanced and running again, the race was long gone but the three-year-old did enough to leave no doubt that he would have scored in any other circumstances.
That defeat was the only thing to take any gloss off a day when Whyte's four wins drew two in response from Purton, who will be hoping to close that gap before the South African resumes on April 7.
Whyte was aboard one nice Size-trained newcomer in the opening race, Brave Brother, who found just one better at his racecourse debut but another first-starter, Hypersonic, made his debut a victory in the second.
"He's had a few barrier issues, which is why John has had to be patient with him and take him back to the trials a few times," Whyte said. "But he has some potential and was able to deliver despite his lack of experience. There was a point where Multiexpress came out and knocked him outwards but he coped with that bump and he found enough to win when I asked."
Once again Sea Dragon, now unbeaten in four starts, was the best of the Size-Whyte team, justifying his odds-on quote with a convincing win, but was off the bit through his race for the first time.
"In the other three starts, he's seen quite a bit of breeze and from a better draw I think he just switched off and relaxed with the cover," Size said. "That's why he probably looked to be not travelling as well during the race, but I'd say at the finish this time he looked better than in the past as a result. That's not a bad thing and he also showed us he's ready, if the programme dictates, that a 1,400m race looks suitable."
But while upside was the buzzword for those two winners, neither jockey nor trainer was handing out bumper stickers for Good Friends Magic as the next big thing after his short head success at start number three.
"He didn't show us a lot early, and he doesn't seem over endowed with ability, but he did everything right in his first two runs and was presented with a weak race and an opportunity to win today and he took it," Size said.