'There'll be no changing of the guard - not this year,' laughed Douglas Whyte after hoisting the jockeys' championship trophy for the seventh time running, but the South African branded the season his best yet. After 26 millimetres of rain tumbled on Sha Tin in 15 minutes to all but obliterate the running of the final race of the season, the presentations were moved from the trackside show to the covered parade ring, but it was all the same to Whyte as he produced a deluge of his own to shower champagne on any who dared come close enough. 'This is the most satisfying year of my riding career. I really got a thrill out of the competition with Brett [Prebble]. And the bad news for the boys is that having been through this and come out of the pressure test and won, I think I'll be even tougher to beat next season,' promised Whyte, who wound up his season with 91 wins after an early double on Primiata and Sweet Baby. 'In my early days in Hong Kong, my second season I think it was, I had a great battle with Basil Marcus for the championship, just like the one Brett and I have had this year. I seem to recall we were head and head for two or two and a half months. In the end, Basil drew away and beat me by nine wins. It wasn't something I consciously felt this season, but I think that having been through it once before sure toughened me up for this time around. 'Brett levelled up to me twice and I had to dig deep and find some more. I have to tell you even I was surprised how much I did find.' What Whyte did not want to say publicly until the final siren sounded, however, was how confident he had been of winning even when the battle was at its height - an opinion he had hinted at off-the-record to the South China Morning Post as far back as a month ago. 'I was so happy with how I was riding and so focused on everything I was doing, that even though it was close there for a while, I always felt that I would win it,' Whyte said. 'It isn't the sort of thing you come out and say publicly because it can make you look silly.' The season took Whyte to 913 career wins, second only to Tony Cruz's mammoth tally of 946 victories and that looks to be the first assignment for 2007-08.