Whyte's 13th title a dead cert, but no celebrations yet
Douglas Whyte still won't declare the jockeys' championship fight over, but the treble after returning from Wednesday's sickening fall at Happy Valley certainly had the feel of an emphatic knockout punch.
As second-placed Zac Purton watched helplessly from the sidelines, still recovering from kidney stones, Whyte's wins on Triumphant Jewel, Super Horse and Dr Good Habit extended his lead to a seemingly unassailable 11.
Since returning from a three-meeting break at the start of June, Whyte has been in vintage form - racking up nine wins from 32 rides and putting his 13th title within reach. In that same stretch, Purton has come up empty and not even Whyte's mid-week fall - after which he was stood down from riding for the remainder of that meeting - has slowed the one-way momentum.
As sure as title 13 seems though, Whyte won't get ahead of himself. "While it is still a mathematical possibility that I could be beaten, I won't say anything," was the standard line trotted out by Whyte.
It had been nearly six months since Whyte won a race for Michael Chang Chun-wai, and both jockey and trainer agreed Super Horse simply doesn't belong in Class Five - where he was racing for the first time.
Super Horse's class carried him through, winning despite sitting three deep for the trip, albeit with cover.
"Dropping down in class was obviously the key and also getting him out of the gates was important," Whyte said. "I trialled him a week ago and he was quite mischievous ... he didn't appreciate the wet-dirt track. But getting down to Class Five that's what he needed and I wont be surprised if he went back to Class Four and did it again now.
"He does have a turn of foot and that's what you need in Class Four miles, they get weaker and weaker at this time of year."
"Honestly, he is better than a Class Five horse," Chang added after his 35th winner of the term.
Chang also hoped Super Horse could win again up in grade, saying the gelding's "cranky" temperaments had been the reason for him dropping in grade, not a lack of ability. "He is too good for the horses down in Class Five, but I think he can win again in Class Four."
The trainer conceded it would be hard work getting that next win though.
"Mentally, you just can't upset him - you just have to treat him like a baby," he said.