The new season opened with much the same scoreboard as the old one as champion jockey Douglas Whyte took up his quest for a third straight title with a treble at first asking yesterday. Whyte rode just a handful of meetings in South Africa during the summer break, but was showing no signs of off-season rust, measuring his efforts perfectly to bring home Brilliant (race two) and Hidden Dragon (race eight) for trainer Francis Lui Kin-wai and splitting the pair with Elite Win for Gary Ng Ting-keung in the fourth. 'It's a great way to start off and probably the only way it could have been better was if Green Diamond had held on long enough to win,' Whyte said. The shortest-priced favourite of the day, Green Diamond appeared to have conditions tailor-made in the seventh as he led at a comfortable pace but was overhauled by Colourful Era in the shadows of the post. It was his second successive defeat at odds-on and further served to take the gloss off his big reputation. 'If he had found a length when I asked and then run out of condition, that might have been different. I guess it didn't help when Eastern Purple came around the field to our outside and made Green Diamond work a bit before the turn, but I was still a touch disappointed he didn't get home,' Whyte said, although he had much to be pleased about, especially Hidden Dragon's clever victory. One of the top griffins last season, Hidden Dragon has yet to fully leave behind his flightiness before racing, but appreciated a return to the straight 1,000 metres course yesterday and an unexpectedly cold ride from the champion South African. 'He is a still a bit nervy before a race but much, much better than last season, and at this stage he is probably five lengths better on the straight course,' Whyte said. 'In his barrier trial here, I took him back in the field and let him run on and we did the same with him in a jump-out the other day and that was the plan today, too.' Possessed of brilliant speed, Hidden Dragon seemed to respond to Whyte's patient tactics rather than being ridden forward. 'I probably got even further back than I had planned - I looked across at the 600 and he was probably six or seven lengths off the leaders,' he said. 'But he always travelled well for me and he was able to get plenty of room on the outside of horses. I wanted to keep him out there to keep his mind on the racing and when I let him down, he just wanted to get to the line and win.' Hidden Dragon had failed to handle the bend at his only attempt last season in the Juvenile Sprint Trophy, but Whyte believes he will come to handle it with time. 'I think when he does go back to racing on a turn, he would be better at 1,400 metres than 1,200, and that's what I've recommended to Francis,' Whyte said. 'Things happen a bit too quickly for him in the 1,200 and he doesn't have time to adjust like he would at 1,400. Physically, Hidden Dragon has terrific ability but the key is going to be training him mentally. What he did today was good - another stepping stone for him.' And Whyte was quick to praise Lui for the win by Brilliant earlier in the day. 'You know, when you ride for Francis, he doesn't load you up with instructions and when you get off afterwards and tell him something, he really takes note of what you say. That's why he's a good trainer,' Whyte said. 'He tried Brilliant at 1,650 metres last season and I came back and said he won't go a step past 1,400 and his best is always going to be fresh at 1,200. Don't trial him, just put him in a race and let him find his feet. So he's sent this horse out today without trialling, fit but fresh, and that was what he wanted. Brilliant is nothing special, but he is probably a Class Three horse and very honest.' Whyte is the only jockey to have won a race on Elite Win, taking his second yesterday and giving the four-year-old a better report card than he would have done towards the end of last season. 'He got beaten here one day when he was favourite and I couldn't find any real excuse. I thought he was very disappointing,' Whyte said. 'But he has appreciated the break and he's grown a bit stronger in himself and he really put his head down and dug deep today. I think he's still a fairly fragile type and perhaps he's best when he's a bit fresh, but Sprinter came to beat him today and he wouldn't let him past. He might be a bit better than I thought.'