Douglas Whyte will reunite with Scales Of Justice in the Group One Railway Stakes this weekend and a strong book of rides at Happy Valley gives the former champ a chance to head back to Perth on a high after a woeful start to the season.
Whyte won last year’s Railway Stakes on Scales Of Justice but was then given a one-month ban for dropping his hands on the same horse when narrowly beaten in the Kingston Town Classic two weeks later.
The 13-time champion gets a chance to make amends on Saturday, also picking up the ride on Art Series in the WA Guineas, but can also turn things around on the local front with some terrific chances on Wednesday.
Those outside the top five in the jockeys’ championship have struggled for opportunities through the first part of the season, but few more than Whyte, who has four wins from 104 rides.
Just six of Whyte’s 30 rides in November have started single figures in betting but the South African has managed to win on two of those and place on three others, part of what has been a reasonable strike rate for the 46-year-old when on horses in the market.
Whyte’s best chances could be in the first and last races at the Valley on Wednesday with the David Ferraris-trained sprinter A Fast One and Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s Full Glamour.
A Fast One has been reasonably consistent for the past few seasons and looks the stand-out in the Class Five Dumbarton Handicap (1,200m) with barrier one on the C + 3 circuit.
The six-year-old seems to save his best for the dirt, the scene of his only win and a second as 2.7 favourite last start, but he is solid at the Valley as well, especially when drawing a gate.
Haymaker could be the danger, with Zac Purton replacing apprentice Matthew Poon Ming-fai, while Glory Horsie (Joao Moreira) and Treasure And Gold (Eddy Lai Wai-ming) will be well fancied.
Full Glamour nearly pulled off a massive upset first-up when beaten a half-length by Thunder Stomp at 73-1 at the Valley daytime meeting just over three weeks ago.
The French-bred three-year-old returns to the same course and distance in the Class Three Stirling Handicap (1,650m), drawn gate five and although this is a competitive race, the import should have improved from his first run.
A Fast One is one of Whyte’s four rides for Ferraris, with Sharp Hunter also looking an intriguing prospect as the eight-year-old resumes with bottom weight and barrier one in the Class Three Irving Handicap (1,200m).
Sharp Hunter has been beset by a host of problems throughout his 39-start career but after a long summer break and two satisfactory trials he could run a surprising race fresh.
Whyte will be hoping Peace Combination can handle a step up in distance this time around when the Caspar Fownes-trained seven-year-old contests the Class Four Hamilton Handicap (1,200m).
The jockey has been aboard as Peace Combination has finished second over 1,000m at his last two starts.
Those runs have indicated a win might be close for Peace Combination, but the gelding now steps up to a distance he has a poor record at and jumps from an awkward barrier (eight).
Peace Combination has placed just once from 11 starts beyond 1,000m and that was on the all-weather track.
Still, Peace Combination may get his chance to turn that record around in a relatively weak race in which Chris So Wai-yin’s Junzi should start pronounced favourite.
Whyte’s other rides at Ascot on Saturday include Trap Of Fools in the Tattersall’s Cup and In Love With Paris in the Placid Ark Stakes.