He’s rattled off his first 100 winners as a trainer in swift time and has been remarkably consistent through the first two and a half years as a trainer, but it wouldn’t be Douglas Whyte if he wasn’t striving for more.
The 13-time champion jockey was quick to throw forward after hitting the century thanks to Astrologer’s victory at the Happy Valley fixture on Wednesday night, the 34th meeting of Whyte’s third season as a trainer.
“I’m looking forward to the next 100, these horses give their best and it’s what keeps me waking up in the morning and going to work,” he said.
“I’m happy in the fact that I’ve got horses that are running very consistently. When they run consistently you’re doing something right, the horses are healthy, I’m happy with my team – which is most important – and I can’t thank the owners enough for their support.”
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Whyte has five chances to add his 15 winners so far this term at Sha Tin on Sunday and is hopeful he can begin to square a ledger that sees him with six more seconds than victories.
“I’ve been a touch unlucky this season, I’ve had a number of seconds and if you take 10 of those away from the 21 that I’ve had that changes things,” said Whyte, who sits ninth in the premiership.
Four of Whyte’s five runners will be ridden by his former apprentice Jerry Chau Chun-lok – Noble Desire, Smart Wongchoy, HK Dragon and Private Rocket – and the pair will be looking to return to winning ways.
After Chau snared his first Hong Kong winner aboard Whyte’s Relentless Me in May 2020, they have combined for victory a further 30 times – including six in the first two months of this season – but haven’t had a winner together since October 31 despite teaming up on 33 occasions.
Chau climbs aboard Noble Desire in the Class Four Pak Tam Chung Handicap (1,000m) and it is a course and distance the six-year-old has a solid record over.
Despite never winning down the Sha Tin straight – the gelding’s two victories have been at Happy Valley – Noble Desire has four placings from six attempts, including a narrow second last start.
Smart Wongchoy is another in-form galloper Chau partners for Whyte, with the five-year-old son of Smart Missile heading into the Class Four Tai Long Tsui Handicap (1,200m) on the back of consecutive runner-up finishes.
It’s the best result Smart Wongchoy has ever managed, with the 19-start maiden running second six times, and he will have to overcome the likes of Pins Prince and Infinity Win to go one better this weekend.
HK Dragon is another maiden coming off a last-start placing and the four-year-old meets an even field in the Class Four Tai Tan Handicap (1,400m).
The last runner of Whyte and Chau’s quartet is Private Rocket, who has been thereabouts this season without saluting and is close to being back on a winning mark ahead of the Class Three Pak Tam Au Handicap (1,400m).
Whyte’s fifth and final starter is Smiling Face, who will be ridden by Alex Lai Hoi-wing in the Class Five Wong Yi Chau Handicap (1,400m).