Douglas Whyte is an iconic figure of Hong Kong racing – his pertinacity and supreme riding ability rewarded him with 13 consecutive champion jockey titles as well as HK$1.5 billion in stakes – and, now as a trainer – in just his third season of handling – the South African has quickly become an imposing figure among the training ranks.
Armed with a potent team behind him and fresh from two Group 1 victories across the last month, the 50-year-old – who has long called Hong Kong home – is not about to idle away on recent success as he prepares a formidable team of eight for Happy Valley’s nine-race fixture this evening (Wednesday, 23 February).
“Any Group 1 is a highlight in anyone’s career, and I’ve won both of those races (Centenary Sprint Cup and Hong Kong Gold Cup) as a jockey and now to do it as a trainer is absolutely fantastic,” Whyte said.
Stronger provided Whyte with a maiden top-level crown in the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) last month, while Russian Emperor led a one-two finish for the trainer in Sunday’s (20 February) G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m).
“Russian Emperor has just gone to another level, he’s had a year to acclimatise, harden up and really get to learn the ins and outs of what’s expected in Hong Kong with the firm tracks and again, I just can’t be grateful enough to the owners for their patience,” Whyte said.