Majestic Knight wins his third race at Happy Valley. Photo by HKJC.

Majestic Knight aims to bounce back at Happy Valley

HJKC Staff

HKJC Staff Member

03/07/2024

By Declan Schuster, for the HKJC.

 

Douglas Whyte is optimistic Majestic Knight (135lb) can hop back on a trail of ascendancy when he lines up in Thursday night’s (4 July) HK$2.84 million Class 2 Briar Handicap (1000m) at Happy Valley.

Well beaten last start after racing wide throughout to finish 11th, Majestic Knight returns in a bid to capture his fourth city circuit victory this season.

“If you look at when he won the start before and the way he ran due to circumstances and positioning – I think we can put a line through that,” Whyte said.

The Australian-bred faces six challenging opponents: Nervous Witness (133lb), Whizz Kid (133lb), Copartner Ambition (120lb), Baby Crystal (118lb), Beauty Waves (118lb) and Humble Star (115lb).

“It’s quite a hot field with a few light weight runners, but he’s really going well. It looks like his pet distance, where they go hard and he can get over the top of them,” Whyte said.

Nervous Witness sports cheekpieces for the first time, while Beauty Waves seeks a third win from his last four starts. Majestic Knight carries a career-high rating of 98, is assigned top weight, gate six and jockey Hugh Bowman.

“Top weight is a bit of a concern. The light weight runners will probably make him work for it, but he’s a tough and burly horse – he will carry the weight. There’s always a concern though when you have a few light weights over 1000 metres,” Whyte said.

Aiming to enhance his 36 wins this campaign, Whyte has also entered Colourful Baron, Colourful Prince, Happy Trio, Me Time, Sterling Wongchoy, Zoom Boom, Fortunate Son and Young Arrow.

Zoom Boom is a two-time winner at Happy Valley. The Irish-bred features in the Class 3 Cheong Ming Handicap (1650m) with jockey Harry Bentley.

“He’s been fantastic and he’s a model of consistency. He should have won another two races probably this season, but he’s holding his form,” Whyte said.

The lightly raced Me Time is making steady progress and will have his seventh start in the Class 4 Shing Ping Handicap (1800m).

“He’s also been a bit unlucky due to circumstances,” Whyte said.

Whyte has made a swift transition to the training ranks with 204 wins after debuting as a handler ahead of the 2019/20 season. The former jockey was a dominant force in Hong Kong beforehand, winning 13 consecutive championships.

“I’m very pleased with this season, I have a lot of young horses coming through now which haven’t been able to race due to timing and a lot of older horses who have done a very good job throughout the season. So, it’s been a bit of a mix and match season for me, but I’m very happy with the way it’s gone,” Whyte said.

The South African is looking forward to next term. Whyte’s career-best haul came in 2021/22, where trained 46 winners and won three Group 1 races in Hong Kong.

“I think I’ll be kicking off pretty quickly next season with a lot of young horses who are in the system already. So, it won’t take them as long as it has this season – it’s exciting.

“They’ve acclimatised and they’ve had a couple of trials. They’re ready for a break now and then they’ll be ready for another trial next season and be up and going,” Whyte said.

Thursday’s (4 July) nine-race fixture at Happy Valley kicks off at 6.40pm with the Class 5 Tsun Yuen Handicap (1650m).

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