By Nathan Mody
It isn’t often that Hong Kong’s champion jockey Douglas Whyte is not on the top of the standings after eleven meetings, but he might correct that with a strong book at Happy Valley this Sunday.
Whyte is perched just behind the joint premiership leaders, Matthew Chadwick and Zac Purton, and ready to surge past them with strong chances like Kingston Elite, Gamekeepers, and Time After Time this weekend.
Kingston Elite (race four) drops down into the lowest class of race, Class Five, where he was successful for Whyte over the Happy Valley 1,650m towards the end of last season.
Since the new season began, he has been in Class Four and ran poorly for last and second last in his first two starts back from the break but his latest run marked him as a winner in waiting. At an unsuitable 1,000m, Kingston Elite settled near last but charged home to be beaten less than three lengths, and the drop in class coincides with Whyte getting back on board.
The Dream Team – as Whyte’s partnership with trainer John Size is known – will turn up with two runners on Sunday with Holyangelholy in the fifth and Gamekeepers in race eight.
Size often takes wayward, inexperienced horses to Happy Valley to improve their mental approach and will be hoping this trick works with disappointing Holyangelholy – who has been favourite at four of his five starts without winning on the bigger track at Sha Tin.
But Gamekeepers isn’t wayward, he already has 3 wins from 8 starts and will be hoping to atone for an unlucky defeat last time at the Valley 1,200m.
Badly blocked in the straight when favourite on September 19, Gamekeepers finished fifth but should have scored and looks a worthy favourite again this time. Drawn awkwardly in barrier nine, Gamekeepers should race closer to the lead and avoid traffic problems in a race without a lot of pace.