Horse Racing
Whyte, Chau claim Happy Valley feature with tactical brilliance

By Leo Schlink
31/10/2021 19:05

Jerry Chau drives God Of Dragon home.
Jerry Chau drives God Of Dragon home.

In the latest measure of Jerry Chau’s irresistible emergence, Douglas Whyte lavished praise on his protégé after the rising star of Hong Kong’s jockey ranks produced a tactically perfect display on God Of Dragon to snare the Class 3 The Kwangtung Handicap Cup (2200m).

With 13 Hong Kong jockeys’ titles and a record 1,813 victories in the jurisdiction, Whyte is eminently qualified to judge rides and he was unreservedly generous towards 21-year-old Chau, who continued a meteoric rise with a sublime showing on God Of Dragon.

“That’s what you call a graduation ride, that’s how you ride Happy Valley,” Whyte enthused after Chau deliberately restrained his mount at the start and then refused to budge from the rail – despite temptation to do so – before spearing along the fence to deny Above and Blastoise, respectively.

“It looked very awkward before the race on paper because I didn’t want Jerry to get into any speed battles early – it’s just detrimental with that short run to the first corner, so I instructed him to go back and ride the rail.

“It couldn’t have worked out better. Everything started leaving the rail and before we knew it, we were up to third on the rail and then he hit the front just after turning for home. It was a ground-saving ride and it was the winning effect in the end.”

God Of Dragon charges along the fence.

Chau has eight wins for the season so far as he bids to better the 58 he posted last term when breaking Matthew Chadwick’s record for the most number of victories by an apprentice in a single season.

Now riding as a freelance jockey after securing 70 wins as an apprentice, Chau continues to flourish under Whyte’s tutelage.

Frankie Lor vaulted into the trainers’ championship lead after Flaming Passion saluted in the Class 4 Shenzhen Handicap (1200m) for Matthew Chadwick, who now has 10 victories for the term.

The victory provided Lor with his 14 th success of the season – the same tally of wins as David Hayes and Jimmy Ting – but Lor heads the table by dint of more minor placings than Hayes and Ting.

Ting continued an inexorable rise of his own after Lucky Diamond lifted the Class 4 Foshan Handicap (1800m) under Karis Teetan. With 10 victories in October alone, Ting continues to surprise himself.

Douglas Whyte collects his silverware.
Douglas Whyte collects his silverware.

 “At the start of the season, I didn’t think I would have this success, so I hope this can continue,” Ting said. “All I can do is my best. Some horses have improved and some of the new horses are coming along well. I gave this horse a good chance today because the pace would be slow and he could go in front.

“I think he can win again. One thing about this horse is that he’s lazy and I have to wait for Karis to ride him because Karis is a strong rider.”

Vagner Borges believes Sight Success is poised for a successful rise to Class 1 after sweeping to victory in the Class 2 Guangzhou Handicap (1000m), clocking a new class record of 56.13s in the process.

Jumping from barrier one, Borges fended off runner-up Handsome Bo Bo in the early stages to control the speed before spearing clear for a one and a half length margin to better the class record of 56.25s set by Mr Lumieres in 2019.

“We had a good jump and he’s got good speed, so I always wanted to be in the first three and to see how things panned out,” Borges said.

“I think he can go up in class, for sure. He’s still improving. He won very well today.”

The win provided John Size’s fourth for the season and the 11-time champion handler was delighted with the Magnus gelding’s performance.

Vagner Borges guides Sight Success to an all-the-way victory.
Vagner Borges guides Sight Success to an all-the-way victory.

 “He ran very well. I needed a winner and hopefully I can get a couple more. He was very promising early and he hasn’t done much wrong actually, he’s still only lightly raced so he’s probably got more wins in him,” Size said, before praising Borges.

“He can ride the lightweight horses, so he’s handy to have.”

Danny Shum struck with another Hong Kong debutant when Zac Purton prevailed on Lightning Storm in the Class 4 Dongguan Handicap (1000m).

“If they’re not as good as Nervous Witness I can bring them to Happy Valley. If they’re not big enough or I think they need a little bit more time I bring them here because the fields are a bit weaker. Then it all depends on luck – if you’ve got a good draw, you’ve got a chance,” Shum said.

“He missed the start a little bit, but he’s a trier this horse – as you can see.

“It was his first time at Happy Valley. He’s not a big horse, only 1052 pounds, so I’ll give him a little bit of time off, freshen him up a bit and see how he goes.”

Lightning Storm prevails under Zac Purton.

Purton extended his lead in the jockeys’ championship to 11 wins over Joao Moreira after the Australian sealed a double aboard Francis Lui’s Keep You Warm in the Class 3 Zhaoqing Handicap (1000m), Teetan ended a frustrating sequence of near-misses when the Mauritian guided Manfred Man’s All Best Friends to success in the Class 5 Chaozhou Handicap (1650m), before also proceeding to a double on Lucky Diamond.

Blake Shinn and David Ferraris combined with Bear Again to win the Class 3 Shantou Handicap (1650m) before Benno Yung’s Jolly Good Heart closed the meeting with narrow victory for Derek Leung in the Class 3 Zhuhai Handicap (1200m).

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday (3 November).