Promising three-year-olds Magic Legend and Daring Fit form the foundation of what could be a big day at the office for Douglas Whyte and give the South African a shot at a Jockey Challenge upset.
John Moore’s Magic Legend is chasing three straight wins as the sprinter steps up to 1,200m while Daring Fit has won three times already this term for Tony Cruz.
Magic Legend has won both of his starts up the Sha Tin straight convincingly but was a winner around right-handed tracks in Australia, including one over 1,200m.
Also helping Magic Legend’s cause will be the addition of crossed noseband to the gelding’s gear, giving Whyte more control over the flier after he was a touch wayward previously.
“It will help him be tractable, there’s nothing much wrong with him but we couldn’t change the bit he has been using, it’s not a huge change but it does give me a little bit more control of him,” Whyte said. “It’s a rubber bit, but we wanted to address that greenness. He has to go around a bend now and if something kicks up underneath him and he starts to go a bit too strong I’d like to have a bit more control of him.”
Magic Legend has drawn awkwardly in barrier eight of 10 in the Duddell Handicap, a high-quality Class Two containing a number of in-form runners including the John Size-trained House Of Fun (Joao Moreira).
If Whyte wants to lead, Magic Legend probably has the speed to do it in a race where there are a few on pace runners but none blessed with the type of early speed to take control.
Whyte won’t have the same decisions to make with Daring Fit, who had some luck at the draw after a couple of wide gates and jumps from two in the Ice House Handicap (Class Three).
Last start, Daring Fit had to work hard to get across from barrier 14 before running some energy-sapping middle sectionals, only to be beaten into second by Mighty Maverick.
“It’s nice to draw a gate, last start he was a touch unlucky when a horse kicked up on my inside and I had to work that extra bit harder,” Whyte said. “The horse has improved and he showed a lot of courage. He has come a long way but moving forward there’s still room for improvement and he is a nice scopey horse.”
Daring Fit tips the scales at more than 1,200 pounds but Whyte said there is still plenty of improvement to come.
“He is three and a very immature three,” he said. “Every time I have ridden him he has got better and better, he is just developing. He is getting stronger and filling into his shape, he is a big boy and suddenly that big, awkwardness is starting to turn into some real shape, he is filling out nicely.”