Daily News Wrap

7 min read

Whyte to join training ranks

Legendary jockey Douglas Whyte will make the move to training from next season with the 13-time Hong Kong champion to hang up his riding boots from February 10.

Whyte follows in the footsteps of Tony Cruz and is going straight from a career in the saddle to securing a training licence.

“I’m as surprised as everybody that it’s happened the way it has and I’m very fortunate to have been afforded this opportunity. I think it’s the right time,” the 47-year-old said.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to train in Hong Kong and I was hopeful I would be afforded the opportunity but I didn’t think it would happen so quickly."

Whyte, who came to Hong Kong 22 years ago, will spend a few months learning the ropes before taking up his training licence in the new season.

Douglas Whyte

“I believe I’m ready for it, it’s a challenge that I am very keen to get hold of. I’m an achiever so any challenge that is thrown my way, I will find a way to deal with it," he said.

“I have to thank the Jockey Club, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was something that I always wanted to do. I’ve had a great riding career, it’s a new chapter of my life and I’m looking forward to it.”

Written return looms

G1 Blue Diamond S. winner Written By (Written Tycoon) is on target for a return to racing early next month after a soft jumpout win at Caulfield on Tuesday.

The 3-year-old, last seen when a close-up fourth in the G1 Coolmore Stud S. in the spring, will resume in the Listed W.J. Adams Stakes at Caulfield on February 2 and have one run into the G1 Oakleigh Plate at the same track three weeks later.

He showed far too much speed on his public return on Tuesday and trainer Graeme Begg is pleased with where he is at ahead of his first-up assignment in ten days.

"Obviously it's a quick turnaround from the spring to the autumn and if you're going to run in the sprint series races you need to kick off pretty early," Begg told Racing.com.

"He didn't get much of a chance to let down so he's kept a bit of residual fitness, that's one thing I've noticed, he's going to come to hand quickly."

""I think the track (Caulfield) suits his style of racing - he's a high-speed horse."

"He jumps so brilliantly from the gates, can use his speed and ping off the turn and that's what he's done each time he's won there."

Bayliss gets HK offer

Regan Bayliss will begin a riding contract in Hong Kong from February 24.

The 21-year-old was informed of the decision by the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s licensing committee on Tuesday, fulfilling a lifelong ambition.

Regan Bayliss

“It’s a dream come true, I’ve hoped to get an opportunity to ride in Hong Kong from as soon as I started my apprenticeship so it’s a massive thrill,” Bayliss said.

“I’m hoping to use this three months as a chance to earn a full-time contract in Hong Kong. I’d love the chance to ride there on a permanent basis."

"I’ll be working as hard as possible when I’m there and then see if I can stay longer.”

Bayliss has ridden three Group 1 winners in his burgeoning career, all aboard star sprinter Redkirk Warrior (GB) (Notnowcato {GB}) down the Flemington straight.

Fellow Australian jockey Sam Clipperton will return home.

Ralph keen on Newmarket start

Group 1 winner Santa Monica (NZ) (Per Incanto {USA}) has Australia in her sights with a feature spring on her autumn programme.

“She has got a nomination for the Newmarket at Flemington in March, so that is where she will end up,” trainer Stephen Ralph said.

“We know she has really improved, so we want to see her win if possible on Saturday so we can carry on towards the Newmarket.”

The G1 Railway S. winner Santa Monica will line up in the G3 Preferment @ Brighthill Farm Concorde H. and Ralph said the mare was in fine fettle.

“She has been extremely well, if anything she has definitely improved,” Ralph said.

Santa Monica has continued to put on weight over the summer period and he hopes she hasn’t put on too much condition ahead of Saturday’s contest.

“The problem that we do have is hopefully she hasn’t improved too much in condition. Her weight is just climbing all the time,” Ralph said.

“We have given her the work, but those scales have continued to go up.

“We always take it as a positive when horses are putting on weight and racing really well, so we are expecting much of the same.”

Ralph said Santa Monica had been knocking on the door for some time before her breakthrough win at the elite level and he is hoping she can continue her winning ways on Saturday despite being hampered with more weight.

“If we can just get a run like we did last time then we will be happy. It was our turn last time, but she has had trouble getting decent runs in some of her races, but that comes with the territory of being a back-runner, it worked out for us the other day.

“She is absolutely jumping out of her skin and we expect another good showing from her.”

Oakleigh Plate on Sensei’s radar

Riccarton trainer Michael Pitman is considering a crack at the G1 Oakleigh Plate with Sensei (Dream Ahead {USA}).

Pitman prepares the sprinter in partnership with his son Matthew and was delighted with the entire’s effort to dead-heat for third in Saturday’s G1 Telegraph behind stablemate Enzo’s Lad (Testa Riossa).

“Enzo’s Lad’s owners won’t be disappointed in me saying this, but Sensei is the better horse, he is only a 4-year-old,” Michael Pitman said.

“He has started to get to where I have always rated him and everyone that has ever ridden him thinks the same.

“I thought Sensei’s run the other day was unbelievable, and the run before.”

Sensei raced wide throughout without cover in the Telegraph after drawing barrier 17. He has won five of his 17 starts and Pitman said Sensei was likely to head straight to the Oakleigh Plate without another run.

“He won’t have another run because we have learned over the last six months that he is probably better off just aimed at a certain race and he doesn’t seem to pull too hard if we don’t race him as often.”

Track to blame for failure

The last-start failure of Media Sensation (I Am Invincible) has been put down to the rain-affected going.

Connections are hoping she bounces back to her best in Saturday’s Karaka Million 3YO Classic after she was never a factor in the G2 Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

“We couldn’t find anything wrong with her so we are putting it down to the track,” Peter Williams, who trains in partnership with wife Dawn, said.

Media Sensation

“We gave her a week to get over the run, we gave her a freshen up and we feel she is back to her best.”

With a fine weather forecast and the track currently rated a Good 3, they believe Media Sensation will show true her colours.

Among the line-up is multiple Group 1 winner Madison County (Pins), who has had the edge over his male opponents this season, while a host of stakes performed and progressive 3-year-olds will also face off.

“It’s a good field, but if she is at her best on the night she will be competitive,” Williams said.

Williams is looking forward to the lucrative Karaka Million meeting, with the quick-fire six-race twilight program featuring five stakes races and having a unique vibe with a number of international racing identities in town.

“We’ve had one runner in the 2-year-old race previously in Planet Rock and she ran third, so it is great to have a good chance in the 3-year-old race, and it is great to be a part of it,” he said.