Wasting Whyte worth the weight in the Triple Trio
Champion jockey rarely rides at 117 pounds, and with two top lightweight hopes, punters should count on the South African
When Douglas Whyte makes the physical sacrifice to ride below his usual riding weight it pays to take note, and two of his lightweight mounts in a tricky Triple Trio at Happy Valley loom as solid bankers.
A change back to more conservative tactics and a hungry Whyte make Tony Cruz's talented three-year-old Key Witness the best banker in the TT's final leg, while Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained stayer Dragon Bachelor can do the job in the middle pin.
Fresh off a treble at Sha Tin on Sunday, Whyte will get down to 117 pounds to ride both horses - and when the South African makes such a sacrifice, he is deadly. Since the start of 2013, when Whyte has ridden at 117 pounds or less he has scored on 11 of 36 rides, and placed on a further four occasions - and Key Witness certainly looks the sort of progressive type that could be worth wasting for.
After an encouraging debut at Sha Tin, Key Witness stormed home to win at Happy Valley on the same 1,200m "C" course he finds again. After getting hammered at the start, Key Witness ended up out the back for Mirco Demuro and could see the entire field upon turning. He unwound with a nice turn of foot and rounded up the field with apparent ease, winning by one and three quarter lengths with something in hand.
Coming back to Sha Tin in Class Three, Key Witness was sent out 3.1 favourite but it all went wrong tactically when Matthew Chadwick was sent forward from gate nine and challenged for the lead. Key Witness ended up racing wide without cover, and still gave a reasonable account of himself in sixth, despite the horrendous run. Cruz was grilled by stewards and advised officials the horse would be ridden with cover wherever possible in the future. From gate seven Whyte should be able to find some cover in a race with speed drawn low and out wide - they should fan out enough for Key Witness to slot in behind.
It's not an easy race, with a number of chances drawn well including Cour Valant (Zac Purton), who has been running consistently and is drawn two, along with Step Faster (Gerald Mosse) and Tonyboy (Joao Moreira). It might be time for Fun Tapestry (Olivier Doleuze) to show something, he drops back to a more suitable trip and has drawn one.
Whyte replaces Jacky Tong Chi-kit on Dragon Bachelor after a brazen ride that saw the five-year-old loop the field in the middle stages of a 2,200m race when the leaders slowed. Someone had to go forward, but all Tong's daring tactics did was set the race up for backmarkers and he did well to stick on for third.
A lack of speed is again a worry, but with a rating down on 43 and gate two, Dragon Bachelor can account for a weak Class Four field over 1,800m. The other standout is Dark Secret (Karis Teetan), who comes up out of Class Five under the 60-35 extended ratings band. Also include Oxford Charley (Matthew Chadwick), Classy Victor (Neil Callan) and Golden Scalpel (Purton).
The opening leg isn't a particularly hard race, but there isn't a clear standout either, so maybe go without a banker. Consider Winning Boy (Tye Angland), Fire Starter (Doleuze), Peri Peri Saffron (Derek Leung Ka-chun) and Happy Homing (Whyte).