With this being his last day as a jockey, one can be pretty sure that almost every Douglas Whyte ride will start below the odds. And though it would be great to see this legendary South African rider bow out with a winner, his book of rides is made all the more confusing with Whyte choosing to ride a number of first starters.

This includes ending his riding career by surprisingly not riding Bombay Blitz for close friend and owner Raju Mahtani, but instead opting to be aboard a galloper named Uncle Steve, described by some as being extremely highly strung.

Though wondering how Douglas Whyte riding Uncle Steve might come out in the race call, the horse- at the ridiculously short overnight odds of 6s- is drawn barrier 14.

If Uncle Steve decides to have a hissy fit, Whyte could just snag him back and ease him out of the race. Not exactly a fairytale ending to his riding career, but IF some things are just not meant to be, well, c’est la vie.

Of the other first starters he rides, there have been positive reports from track watchers about Mr Croissant (9) in the second race. A friend of Mr Creosote and Le Lally, Mr Croissant could go very close to winning.

Of the proven runners, Whyte has strong winning chances aboard Dances With Dragon and Storm Signal.

Away from Douglas Whyte, who, in case one has been living under a rock for the last month, will return next season as a trainer, Silvestre de Sousa has a very strong book of rides with the odds of the punishing Brazilian rider returning to Hong Kong being extremely high.

With racing in the UK, certainly not what it was and now being hit with an outbreak of equine influenza, several riders over there are said to be making “contingency plans”.

Whether these plans include Hong Kong might be wishful thinking, but what will be interesting to follow will be how Martin Harley, below, does here and his support system.

Harley has one ride today- Indigenous Star in the first race for trainer Ricky Yiu who gave him his first ride in Hong Kong- and which is not without a place chance.

With the retirement of Douglas Whyte after today’s meeting and Alexis Badel and Silvestre de Sousa coming close to their winter stints in Hong Kong, it opens things up for those riders finding it tough to gain stable support.

What new partnerships might be formed will be interesting to watch from the sidelines. It could be one of the most absorbing horse operas Hong Kong has seen since that quick U-turn from Joao Moreira just when some were hoping that the John Size stable had a huge “Welcome” sign hanging above it. Well, so much for signs.

As for tips, we tried watching the HKJC’s Three Amigos for guidance from above. But after trying to decipher what was being said, we had to give our ears a rest.

Seemingly filmed inside a cave with a giant croissant covering their faces, all we heard were some muffled sounds being fed through a wind machine. It was goofy stuff.

For what it’s worth- probably only a croissant- below are our suggestions…

RACE 1

Really not worth thinking twice about.

M Reborn (5)
Indigenous Star (2)
Gobi Storm (13)
Paddington (11)

RACE 2

It’s that croissant race.

Mr Croissant (9)
Craig’s Star (4)
Yee Cheong Pegasus (6)
Circuit Three (6)

RACE 3

Dances With Dragon (8)
Packing Warrior (4)
Savvy Six (5)
Enrichment (6)

RACE 4

Could be a tough first leg to the Triple Trio…

Coby Oppa (6)
Fame And Fortune (11)
Borntoachieve (7)
Alcazar (10)

RACE 5

Empire Star (8)
Romantic Chef (2)
Sunny Power (1)
Flash Famous (3)

RACE 6

Fortunate Runner (7)
Super Star (4)
Murray’s Partner (9)
Diamond Legend (14)

RACE 7

Hinchinlove (4)
Storm Signal (7)
Raging Blitzkrieg (2)
Happy Family (5)

RACE 8

Special Stars (9)
Speedy King (3)
I Am Power (1)
Hair Trigger (7)

RACE 9

Noble De Love (8)
Goldie Flanker (9)
Phantom Falcon (14)
Shimmer And Shine (10)

RACE 10

Right Choice (8)
Invisible Missile (14)
Gallant Return (13)
Home Run (12)

PARTING SHOT