'I was winded and couldn't move for a few seconds. I couldn't do anything, even tell them I was okay' A triumphant exit to a sensational season and a lucrative Japanese contract momentarily hung in the balance for champion jockey Douglas Whyte yesterday after a freak barrier accident on Sha Tin's final day. The South African was left prostrate in the Sha Tin back straight just seconds after the start of the Golden Years Handicap after being unseated from hot favourite Dave's Best in a six-horse collision when the gates opened. Onlookers feared the worst as Whyte briefly remained motionless on the track while the field took off down the course, but the Durban Demon was just gathering his breath. 'I knew I hadn't been seriously hurt at all, but it knocked the wind out of me. The guys quickly came over calling out 'get up, get up' but I was winded and couldn't move for a few seconds. I couldn't do anything, even tell them I was okay,' said Whyte, who finished the term with his fourth straight championship and 106 wins after having to share his lone victory for the afternoon on David Ferraris-trained dead-heater Majestic Feeling. 'It's a shame it happened with Dave's Best, because I thought he was my best ride all day. It was just one of those freak things. Green Century jumped left immediately to my inside and just kept going left even after we made contact. That pushed my horse on to Five Grains and so on to the three horses outside him.' Whyte bounced back, completing his rides and taking his bow as the championship winner again, before a busy summer beckons in Europe and a riding contract in Japan. 'Just in the last 24 hours I have finally confirmed that I will be riding about eight meetings in Japan during July and August, but during that time I'll also be with my family at our place in Italy where my son, Ethan, is being christened,' Whyte said. The contract, attached to the perennial top Japanese stable of trainer Kazuo Fujisawa - for whom Australia's Damien Oliver has been riding recently - will commence in the second week of July. 'Mr Fujisawa has been very understanding. I told him I didn't want to go straight there to ride after a tough season here. I'm physically and mentally in need of a break right now. But I love a challenge, so I'll take a couple of weeks off before going to my first meeting there,' Whyte explained. 'I'll ride four meetings, then go to Italy on July 18. Some time ago, the monks at the monastery close to our house in Italy offered to do Ethan's christening, so it's been a long-standing appointment for us and again Mr Fujisawa has been very understanding allowing me to come and go for that event. 'I'll be back in Japan riding at the start of August for another four or five meetings before I come back to Hong Kong to prepare for next season. There are a couple of Group Two races during my time in Japan so hopefully I'll have something good to ride in them.' Whyte's expertise with a celebratory bottle of champagne is starting to resemble Michael Schumacher's skills, and he left fly with the bubble again after holding aloft the trophy as champion jockey again yesterday after also taking the new public vote for Most Popular Jockey this season. And, along the path, he has also collected a new Hong Kong season record, the first-ever century of wins and his own 600th victory in Hong Kong racing. 'The season has finished on a tremendous high for me here, so I hope I can take some of that form to Japan,' said Whyte. 'It's a different challenge. I rode a couple of winners when I was there for the Super Jockey Series late last year at Hanshin so that probably helped me get the contract.' During the summer last year, Whyte rode winners at England's Ascot during the Shergar Cup series.