Douglas Whyte seals his 1,800th Hong Kong win on Good Omen. Photo by HKJC.


Good Omen for Douglas Whyte as he makes it 1,800 and counting


By David Morgan, at Happy Valley for the HKJC.



Douglas Whyte enhanced his legend with another milestone win at Happy Valley this afternoon (Sunday, 28 October), the 1,800th of his Hong Kong career.

The omens had looked good heading into the city track’s only daytime fixture this term. A book of seven rides included some obvious chances, but when the penultimate of the day’s 10 races came around, the 13-time former champion jockey was still on 1,799 with two second placings to frustrate and a 10/1 shot as his next conveyance.

“You get to that stage where you think it’s not going to happen today. Sometimes you get to 99 and that last one can take a while to get over the line,” Whyte said.

But the South African kept his cool and the portentously-named Good Omen delivered in the Class 3 Ting Kau Handicap (1650m).

“I kept positive and rode him the way he needed to be ridden rather than in a way that I might have wanted to,” Whyte said of Dennis Yip’s charge, zero from eight in Hong Kong prior to today.

“This horse has taught me a lot,” he explained. “He’s been difficult and yet also uncomplicated – I mean that in the sense that if he gets a good draw and you try to place him, as soon as you get on the bridle he just feels like a Class 3 or Class 4 horse; but when you get him to sleep and he gets into his rhythm he’s got a really good turn-of-foot. He’s put them to bed in a couple of hundred metres there.”



Whyte has career earnings north of HK$1.5 billion and his running tally of 1,800 wins is more than 900 clear of his closest pursuer, reigning champion jockey Zac Purton. The South African is known for his focus and professionalism and that was apparent post-race.

When asked about “the eighteen-hundred” his mind was still in the zone, thinking about the horse first: “He’ll go 10 furlongs,” he responded.

A prompt drew a smiling realisation: “I’ll think about it tonight now – I’ve been thinking about it a bit in the past couple of days – it’s another great achievement, it’s something to go on the mantelpiece and it’s nice to get it today on this horse,” he added.

The rider’s first Hong Kong win was back in the 1996/97 campaign when he arrived in the city on a short-term contract. After winning that season’s QEII Cup on London News, he made the relocation long-term.

“The first winner for me here was imperative, there’s a lot of expectation when you arrive in this place, there’s a lot challenges and a lot of competition,” he said.

“There is no room for error; if you don’t hit the ground running it can be a graveyard.

“You can bring the best here and if they don’t get on the right horses or ride the right races it can send them home a broken individual. It can make or break and I’ve seen it make or break many good jockeys.”

Whyte himself has gone through some rough spells in the past couple of seasons but with his win count for the term at nine, and sitting fifth in the premiership, he is eyeing a spot in December’s LONGINES International Jockeys Championship. And he hasn’t ruled out a push to reach 2,000 wins either.

“Why not? I’m healthy, I’m fit and I’m still enjoying riding,” the 46-year-old said.

Good Omen’s success gave Yip a double, the trainer having landed the sixth race with the Victor Wong-ridden Starlight.


Two for Schofield 


Khaki surges clear to give Schofield a double.
Khaki surges clear to give Schofield a double.


Chad Schofield, meanwhile, bagged a race-to-race brace mid-card thanks to Flying Quest in race four and Khaki in race five.

The former gave Schofield his second win in tandem with trainer David Hall – the first came 15 months ago on the same horse.

“David Hall’s horses have been going really well,” the rider said. “He had the blinkers on today and that was a good addition – he was just that little bit sharper. I didn’t have the smoothest of runs from the 600 (metres) but when the gap did come, with the blinkers on, he dashed and won quite well.

Tony Millard is a more regular source of winners for Schofield and the pair teamed up with Khaki who looked a cut above in winning the fifth, a Class 4 over 1200m.

“We had a direct plan of what do because he wasn’t drawn well (8),” Millard said. “But Chad had the horse underneath him and I don’t think it was a particularly good field.”


Well-bred Hong Kong International Sale graduate Nordic Warrior breaks his maiden.
Well-bred Hong Kong International Sale graduate Nordic Warrior breaks his maiden.


Trainer and jockey are confident the five-year-old will prove up to the task in the grade above.

“He’ll be competitive in Class 3,” Schofield said. “We had a plan to send him forward – I had to do a lot of work to get him across and when I eventually found myself outside the leader I was able to back him off and control the speed. He was very good in the straight, he gave me a kick again.”

Nordic Warrior has a long climb up the ratings if he is to ever match his full-brother Slade Power, a G1-winning champion sprinter in Europe, but the three-year-old Hong Kong International Sale graduate earned his breakthrough win in race three, a class 4 over 1200m.

“He doesn’t look like he has that speed (of his brother) but he might be one for the Griffin races,” trainer Richard Gibson said.

“I thought it might be a bit easier for a horse running first time at the Valley to come here during the daytime rather than at night – less of a challenge. The horse has always shown a bit of ability, he ran well on debut and has been a bit unlucky, so with a decent draw we thought we had a good chance.”

Trainer Me Tsui landed a treble with Starlit Knight, Almababy – both ridden by Jack Wong – and Dragon Pioneer, the mount of Vincent Ho.

The opener went to Karis Teetan aboard the Danny Shum-trained Clement Legend, while the Manfred Man-trained Jade Fortune took race seven, the Class 2 Kap Shui Mun Handicap (1650m), under Keith Yeung.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Wednesday, 31 October.