Hong Kong top jockey turns to training
Douglas Whyte granted trainer's licence
For only the second time in Hong Kong's illustrious racing history, a jockey - currently still riding and at the top of his game - has been granted a trainer's licence.
He is long-time Hong Kong pin-up rider and champion jockey Douglas Whyte.
It was in way back in 1996 that then-champion jockey Tony Da Cruz was accorded a similar honour.
The Licensing Committee of the Hong Kong Jockey Club approved Whyte's application and he had been licenced to train in the 2019-2020 season.
Still active in the riding ranks where he is still a force to be reckoned with, 47-year-old Whyte will ride his last race on Feb 10 at Sha Tin.
Thereafter, he will begin training.With an unmatched record of 13 successive titles as Hong Kong champion jockey, more than 1,800 local winners and success in almost all of the Club's Group 1 races Whyte is one of the titans of Hong Kong's world-class racing, and is now set to open an exciting new chapter of his career.
When he does call curtains on his fantastic riding career, Whyte has indicated he will spend several months augmenting his skills by spending time with leading trainers around the world before returning to Hong Kong to establish his stable for the commencement of the new season.
"Douglas Whyte is an extraordinary talent who has already made an enormous contribution towards Hong Kong racing achieving its world-class status," said Andrew Harding, Hong Kong's Executive Director of Racing.
He added: "His skills as a horseman are exceptional and that alone will provide him with an inherent natural advantage in transitioning from highly successful jockey to highly successful trainer.
"Having been part of the fabric of Hong Kong for two decades, Douglas knows the workforce and facilities and understands the training systems at Sha Tin and now also at Conghua.
"He also has the respect and trust of owners to build a very strong stable and continue to contribute to our world-class racing."
Harding mentioned Da Cruz and said that Whyte was in the "same elite category" as the Hong Kong legend that he had every characteristic necessary to make the transition from riding to training."
"I was incredibly excited to receive the call that my application had been successful," said Whyte.
"I have made Hong Kong my home for the past 21 years and have worked diligently to contribute toward making the horse racing industry in the Special Administrative Region, one of the best in the world.
"It would be an understatement to say that I am looking forward to this challenge."
Whyte dominated the Hong Kong scene for more than a decade.
The man who became known as the "Durban Demon" first arrived in Hong Kong in September 1996 and snared a first Sha Tin Group 1 the following spring when he rode the South African star London News to victory in the QEII Cup.
He notched the first of his 13 consecutive titles in 2001. - HKJC