On a day when the likes of Beauty Generation, Waikuku and Aethero are set to shine, Douglas Whyte’s unheralded galloper Farhh Above could well prove to be the most interesting runner.
The four-year-old has flashed breathtaking ability during his short career but has drawn the ire of punters after going under twice at prohibitive odds-on quotes lately.
However, the legendary jockey-turned-trainer believes his colt should be afforded a third chance on Sunday in the Class Three Lugard Handicap (1,400m), saying he is showing his best at trackwork.
“He feels fantastic in the mornings, he has just been cantering around since, he is as good as can be really,” he said.
Farhh Above shot to prominence with a dashing second-placing behind Aethero in Griffin company before coming out and demolishing a similar field without Aethero when trained by Francis Lui Kin-wai last season.
Transferred to Whyte this season, Farhh Above announced himself as an outside Derby chance with his first-up victory in January before his handler poured cold water on the possibility. It was from there that things began to slide.
Sent out a $1.70 chance by punters with his first step-up to 1,400m in Class Three, Farhh Above was a tragedy beaten under Derby-winning jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu in February.
Whyte’s go-to jockey Alexis Badel was then called on to steady the ship but Farhh Above instead continued the pain for punters, going under as a $1.50 hotpot early in March.
“I wish I could put my finger on what happened, I have just put it down to a flat run,” Whyte said. “What it was, we haven’t quite figured it out.
“Every horse is allowed a bad run and that was probably his so hopefully he will bounce out of it.”
With Badel since moving back to France, three-time champion jockey Joao Moreira will take the reins on Sunday as Whyte looks to take the talented type to Class Two and above.
After stewards deemed his last start performance unacceptable, Whyte was forced to take Farhh Above back to the trials where he performed strongly behind the likes of Group One winner Waikuku.
“He trialled nicely, it was just a soft trial to tick the boxes and he pulled up good,” he said.
“Unfortunately [Moreira] couldn’t trial him last week but I would have also jumped off him to ride Waikuku.
“He trialled nicely, he did what I wanted him to do and he has come out of it. Around the yard he is really full of himself, that’s how he normally is so that is a good sign.”
Jumping from barrier nine, Farhh Above will race against the likes of The Hulk, who also comes off a disappointing last-start performance.
Consistent types Ultimate Glory, California Argent and Emerald Spur are also in the race.
A Farhh Above win would help kick-start Whyte’s back-end of the season after going through a slow two months by his own lofty standards.
After firing out of the blocks with 24 wins to the end of January, Whyte has had just four since, with the talented Super Wealthy accounting for one of those.
Whyte will also team up with Moreira when Valiant Elegance debuts in the Class Four Peel Handicap (1,000m).
The three-year-old has shown plenty of speed in his trials and was tuned up for the 1,000m dash with a trial at Happy Valley a month ago.