Champion jockey Douglas Whyte could provide the tactical key to putting greybeard galloper Equator Kid back into the winner's circle in a tough American Club Challenge Cup (1,800m) at today's Happy Valley meeting. The nine-year-old has been an infrequent winner throughout his career but it was hard to miss his first-up performance at Sha Tin when Equator Kid charged to the line as well as the winner - Dao Dao - to finish third over 1,600m. Reeling off that slick final sectional showed Equator Kid has returned in good form and this trip looks more suitable but Whyte's tactical nous might provide the key element if the gelding is to convert his obvious well-being into a victory. The field contains two regular forward runners in Lucky Money (Way Leung Ming-wai) and Kingsgate Glory (Kevin Shea) but unless those jockeys are keen to take each other on, the pace may not be hectic, with a high proportion of runners preferring to steady early. Too often Equator Kid has given too much start but he has responded well when put into his races early - including a win for Glyn Schofield over the Valley 1,650m when he sat outside the leader last year - and an inside gate, the longer trip this time and Whyte's alert navigation could prove the keys to him being in a more positive position today. Whyte has ridden the gelding three times previously for a win, a third and a fourth, so he gets along well with the old-timer. While Equator Kid is closer to the end of his career than the start, Safety First (Jacky Tong Chi-kit) is on the other end of the scale. Four wins from 13 attempts and prepared by the season's leading trainer by strike rate, Ricky Yiu Poon-fie, Safety First is of an age where connections will doubtless be hoping to qualify for a Derby run in March. There has been nothing at all amiss with his two outings this season, the latest when fourth to Crusader Of Gold at Sha Tin when ridden very handy to a hot pace from an inside draw. That pace proved crucial, with the winner coming from a mile back to score and the other two who beat Safety First home - Maverick and Nasa Pearl (both had easier runs back in the field) - are rivals again this afternoon.