By Hans Ebert
The fire in his belly might have never left as he’s certainly not someone to roll over and become another Yesterday’s Man, but the Chinese racing media has been abuzz of late about the persuasive powers of jockey Douglas Whyte working overtime during track work these days.
As anyone who’s watched his winning rides of Star Shine and on Kiram on Wednesday will testify to, the Durban Demon has woken up from, most likely, a self imposed hiatus where he stood back and checked out the lay of the land. Timing is everything.
Douglas Whyte is not the Wile e Coyote of Hong Kong racing for nothing. He’s seen it all and knows when to open the door and who to let in when opportunity knocks with the ghost of Hughie Green. Douglas Whyte knows how and when to play the game.
With Joao Moreira now finally confirming the LOUDEST whisper- his three month contract to ride in Japan, which he hopes will eventually lead to his dream of riding in that country on a full-time basis, but only after the prerequisite and extremely strict exams to write, speak and understand Japanese are passed, Hughie Green and Opportunity Knocks are banging louder than ever for several jockeys.
While many are wondering who will be doing most of the riding for John Size- it could open things up a little more for Sam Clipperton though the Zac Attack already has the very impressive iVictory and Hot King Prawn squared away- knowing that he won’t exactly be heading the queue to where Size matters, Douglas Whyte must be looking further afield.
His still somewhat “convenient” relationship with John Moore seems to be back on track after weathering a certain degree of tension after his recent ride on Werther. But apart from a hodge podge of rides for Caspar Fownes, David Ferraris, Tony Cruz and Ricardo Montalban Gibson, if a betting man one would think Whyte will be “making nice” with Frankie Lor, definitely turning up for Chris So, who seems to need help badly, especially now that he’ll start next season without the usual help from Brett Prebble, carrying on working with Francis Lui and the stable’s owners who have stuck by him, and possibly start breaking bread with his one-time strong support system in the Dennis Yip stable.
There’s then new trainer Jimmy Ting, who’s announcement got a bit lost in the shoeshine shuffle that’s quickly gone very quiet. Almost as quiet as how suddenly the racing twitterverse has become. Were many of us thinking the same thing?
Whatever the future plans of Douglas Whyte may be, what’s interesting is just what a difference a week or so makes. One almost feels like bursting into song.
Yes, the Fat Lady is still clearing her throat with regards to the jockey premiership, but all those “shock” exits and talk about the “exodus” of jockeys leaving Hong Kong are now known for what they really were. It was #timesup. Bromances can be a bitch.
There are some leading riders in Sydney who wish to ride in Hong Kong next season. For one reason or another, they have no chance of enjoying racing twice a week, taking in a fabulous lifestyle and paying fifteen percent on personal tax.
Pakistan Star? Who will be its regular rider? Good question. There’s a conga line waiting to get on.
Though there’ll be winners and losers at Sha Tin today, many are gearing up for next season where everyone will be starting with a zero base. A few more bit players will leave before then- and again not unexpected and no loss. There’ll be the usual spinning once they do where one can’t see the mirror for the smoke, but when one has nothing, there’s nothing to lose. One should know the wheat from the chaff by now.
Personally, what could be, er, interesting is the, well, future interaction between The Zac Attack and The Durban Demon. Funny how time and consequences and opportunities create, like sand through an hourglass, script changes to Hong Kong horse racing’s very own “The Days Of Our Lives” horse opera. Of course, it depends on who can properly read the tea leaves.
#HKracing #DouglasWhyte #ZacPurton #PakistanStar #JoaoMoreira #horseracing #horseopera #FastTrackHK #HansEbert