Douglas Whyte - Hong Kong Jockeys Championship
(Photo : Life HK)
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN AND DOUGLAS WHYTE
The headline-grabber was the British Open at the “Royal and Ancient”, where virtually unknown (other than to his countrymen) South African, Louis Oosthuizen, surged to one of the biggest margin victories in the history of golf’s biggest tournament. Louis’ unerring driving and his cold-blooded nerve on the putting greens, were hallmarks of one of St Andrews’ greatest golfing exhibitions. In the process, Louis Oosthuizen joined the South African colossi, Bobby Locke, Gary Player and Ernie Els as previous winners of the Open, which comes hard on the heels of this country’s staging of one of the most successful Fifa World Cups in history.
But if you’re a racing man, you would’ve been equally delighted at the news that Dougie Whyte has taken his tenth consecutive Hong Kong Jockeys’ title at the expense of arch-rival, Australian Brett Prebble. This makes it 18 of the last 19 titles in that part of the world falling to South African riders, surely a record without precedent anywhere, let alone in one of the most popular and competitive racing jurisdictions in the world. Take a bow the South African Jockeys’ Academy.
“The Demon”, as Dougie is nicknamed in that former British Colony, was sixteen winners adrift of the runner-up just over a month ago, and he was still lagging by nine entering the last fortnight.
Those of us who go back that far will remember Doug’s imperious ride on London News in the 1997 version of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. The added significance of that great warrior’s victory lay not only in the fact that, as a five-time Group One winner, he had to concede weight to the whole field, and that he came from the outside draw in record time, but it also marked the first international performance of a South African horse in the post-isolation period. This was the first hint, despite our isolation, that South African breeders had not lost quite the ground our sportsmen from other codes had done.