Jerry Chau and Douglas Whyte combine to excel at Happy Valley with trebles
May 7, 2021, 12:46:50 PM
Douglas Whyte and Jerry Chau shared the Happy Valley spotlight with milestone trebles on Wednesday night (5 May) in a poignant confluence of decades, when both master and apprentice shone with landmark results.
Chau's ascension to the upper echelons of the Hong Kong racing fraternity began apace as Whyte's protégé hit the jurisdiction's 45-win plateau with a double, bringing his seven-pound allowance to an end.
Chau's ascension to the upper echelons of the Hong Kong racing community started quickly, when Whyte's protégé crossed the 45-win mark with a double, putting his seven-pound allowance to an end.
Whyte, a 13-time champion jockey, notched his first three-timer as a rider – two of them in collaboration with Chau – as the South African horseman forge new ground after obtaining his training license in 2019/20.
“I've had a good string of seconds, so it's nice to finally have some winners,” Whyte said after winning with McLucky, Harmony Fire, and Noble Desire, bringing his 2020/21 count to 26. “Just keep chipping away, getting a treble means a lot.”
Whyte, the most prolific jockey in Hong Kong history, was overjoyed for Chau, who rode his first winner in Hong Kong on 9 May, 2020, but would be able to claim five pounds after out-riding the first portion of his allowance from Saturday (8 May).
“He's a diligent worker, he has a beautiful look, and he rides horses with a bit of thinking – he's putting his head into it – and the results have shown,” Whyte said of Chau. “It's beneficial to him. I'm delighted for him because he can now say five (pounds) and will have more opportunities.”
The 21-year-argument old's will be reduced to three pounds after he reaches 70 victories under Hong Kong rules, after his victory aboard David Hall's Total Power in the Class 4 To Kwa Wan Handicap (1650m) catapulted him to 45 Hong Kong career victories in total.
Chau, who returned to Hong Kong last year after a successful spell in South Australia, is currently sixth in the premiership with 39 wins, behind Joao Moreira (118), Zac Purton (102), Karis Teetan (58), Alex Badel (50), and Vincent Ho (49).
Exuberant burst through in the first part of the Class 4 Ma Tau Wai Handicap (1200m) under reigning champion jockey Purton and Danny Shum in familiar fashion – for the 26th time this season – to record his first victory at his fourth start.
Although Purton trails Moreira by 16 points in the jockeys' standings, Shum has 53 wins this season, tied for third with Frankie Lor behind John Size (59) and Caspar Fownes (58), after completing a double with Handsome Bo Bo's victory in the program's feature, the Class 2 Hok Yuen Handicap (1200m).
The Helmet gelding's victory also helped Alexis Badel cross the 50-win milestone for the season, as the Frenchman rode Sunny Star to victory in the Class 3 Kowloon City Handicap (1650m) for Francis Lui.
Sunny Star, according to Lui, “can potentially go to Class 2; it all depends on the program.” “If it works out, he will keep running over this distance here at Happy Valley.”
“He's very calm, and he might be able to run over more in the future.” He's a young horse, and he's only getting better as he gets older.”
Whyte continued his good form after talented Harmony Fire completed a stable double by winning the Class 4 Ma Tau Kok Handicap (1000m) with a simple ride from Chau, erasing recent disappointments.
“The horse has been unlucky; he's had very awkward draws to deal with, and I thought he ran with intent every time. He was unfortunate last time, being tested at a critical moment, and I thought the horse showed a lot of bravery to pick himself up and finish the race,” Whyte said.
“So, when he got gate one tonight, it was a lot less difficult, and he put himself in a winnable spot, and when the break arrived, he kicked beautifully.”
Whyte thinks Harmony Fire will compete in Class 3 but has yet to determine whether the Brazen Beau gelding will continue with this training.
“It's now up to me to decide whether to grant him a break and get him back early for next season, or to stick with him. He's a young horse and he's done really well – I'll see how he does in this race,” Whyte said.
“He's not in a hurry. He's got a bright future ahead of him, and he's moving forward.”
Noble Desire overcome a big draw (gate 10) under Matthew Poon, who won the G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m) on Butterfield last Sunday, to win the third portion of the Class 4 Ma Tau Wai Handicap (1200m) on his 20th career start.
“He's a good horse, but he's difficult to train and gain faith in. He has to ride a horse the whole time. When he places his head in front, he believes his work is over, and he keeps back on you.
“So, I'll take the victory in both hands, and I'm thankful to Matthew for the excellent job he did on him.”
Moreira rode Ricky Yiu's Majestic Star, an outstanding I Am Invincible gelding, to victory in the second division of the Class 3 Hung Hom Bay Handicap (1200m). With Snitzel gelding McLucky, Chau and Whyte won the first portion of the handicap.
David Hall won his 25th race of the season when Total Power won the Class 4 To Kwa Wan Handicap (1650m). Richard Gibson won his 17th race of the season when he successfully combined with Karis Teetan and Fortune Hero to take the second portion of the Class 4 Ma Tau Wai Handicap (1200m).
On Saturday, racing in Hong Kong resumes at Sha Tin (8 May, 2021).