Perennial champion jockey Douglas Whyte completed LONGINES Hong Kong International Races personal best; capped a great day for Hong Kong and redeemed himself with trainer Richard Gibson and owner Pan Sutong when his riding skills ensured a G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup victory for AKEED MOFEED.
Whyte had, of course, earlier won the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile aboard Glorious Days denying Gibson and Pan Sutong who had the runner-up Gold-Fun. The double was a spectacular improvement, in the space of 40 minutes, to his International day CV which comprised only a Vase victory aboard Indigenous way back in 1998.
“It's been a while between drinks but good things come to those who are patient. I needed a day like today again,” said the 13-time Hong Kong champion jockey whose Cup win was the third Hong Kong victory of the afternoon.
Supporters of AKEED MOFEED may well have been holding their breath half way down the straight when the winner was searching for room but Whyte was equal to the task.
“It's a great privilege to work with top, professional jockeys like Douglas,” said winning trainer Gibson, “I did tell him before the race that I would only forgive him for the Mile if he won the Cup.”
Whyte conceded that it was “tight” as he considered his home straight options on AKEED MOFEED. “I didn't really want to leave the fence but shortly after the Japanese horse (TOKEI HALO) rolled off the inside, he rolled back again. And Christophe (Soumillon) had me very snug on the outside but his horse (CIRRUS DES AIGLES) gave way and I was able to ease back a half length and come to the outside,” Whyte said.
Gibson said that there were “international plans ahead” for his Derby and Cup winning hero and, longer term, a stud career.
“He's a very well bred colt. He needed International Group 1 recognition and he's achieved that today. He's a very talented horse with a stud future ahead of him and racing abroad beckons but we'll consider our options before finalising any plans,” he said.
Gibson described the son of DUBAWI as a “big race” performer. “All credit to him,” he said.
The runner-up TOKEI HALO was well rated in front by Yutaka Take and very nearly pinched the prize to add to the LORD KANALOA spoils for Japan. “He jumped well from the gate and travelled very comfortably with his pace to the turn. It was really close. I was very happy with his performance but my 101st Group 1 win will have to wait until next time,” Take said after his mount was a one length second.
CIRRUS DES AIGLES held on bravely to finish third, a neck further back - just ahead of MILITARY ATTACK, SIDE GLANCE and BLAZING SPEED who each performed satisfactorily.
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