Though strange to think that we won’t be seeing Douglas Whyte competing as a jockey anymore, looking at tonight’s card, it’s interesting to see just who’s on first, what’s on second and who has been quick to pounce on, especially, the better regular rides of the South African champion.

For example, the Yeezy of Hong Kong racing- Zac “Kanye” West is aboard Good Omen this evening. Umberto Rispoli is on another once-regular mount of Whyte in Born In China. And away from tonight, there’s a queue forming to get aboard other Whyte leftovers.

Of course, life goes on and it’s nothing personal, it’s only business. It’s about grabbing opportunities.

Let’s not also kid ourselves into thinking that Douglas Whyte is just sitting around twiddling his fingers and still feeling that lump in his throat after that kinda choreographed farewell to the great man on Sunday. One almost expected white doves to have been released.

Was this tribute everything that it could have been? Hmmmm. Whyte conducted himself the way we have come to expect- professionally- and it was good to see his son and daughter there- a reminder of how time marches on.

Apart from his old partner John Size choosing not to be part of the presentation- guess old wounds never heal- personally speaking, things just “didn’t go with the flow, man.”

After all the hype, one expected more. Frankly, his farewell to Happy Valley and tribute seemed far more sincere.

At Sha Tin, with its ageing and more “rural” population of hardcore punters, most from the New Territories, it was about getting on with betting on the next race and hanging around to join the feeding frenzy and grab some freebies that might be thrown their way. Some of the scenes were kinda ugly.

It’s a major reason why no matter how good the racing might be in Sha Tin, and what a fantastic racecourse it is, it’s not exactly a magnet for those not used to bovine behaviour, let alone those new to horse racing and wanting to enjoy a pleasant afternoon with like-minded people. Birds of a feather and all that…

Other than all that and a reckless Joao Moreira ride on the John Size trained Raging Blitzkrieg that derailed Douglas Whyte’s chances of bowing out on a winning note aboard Storm Signal- unfortunately, the end result of this incident, no matter how accidental, and despite the profound apologies, just won’t go away- it was a pretty ho hum affair.

Apart from, you guessed it, Zac Purton dropping on one bended knee behind the barriers before the running of the last race of the day and pretending to lick Whyte’s boots, it was largely scripted stuff and a few staged “performances” despite the showing of supposed bon hommie. Zacy’s Kanye West Moment knocked the stuffing out of any possible fakery.

None or any of this would have escaped Whyte. He’s no doubt already making mental notes of what has been, computing all this and plotting his next career move and course of action.

Competing with John Size as a trainer is going to be fun to watch along with the riders he decides he can trust and who are good enough for the job. It’s not going to take an Einstein to see who will be part of Team Whyte and why others won’t get a look in. Guess why?

Add to this that he’ll ensure owners know right up front as to who’s running the show. And it won’t be them nor their sycophantic enablers.

Just as he changed and dominated the riding ranks in Hong Kong, one is willing to bet that the influence of Douglas Whyte will be felt over the entire local horse racing landscape in the years to come starting from next season.

The man is now a young 47. When 57, many in racing here would have either retired or gone upstairs to watch those ghost riders in the sky.

Douglas Whyte is never impetuous. He thinks before he leaps. He studies the lay of the land. He plans long-term. Douglas Whyte knows how to look after número uno. And family. That’s no bad thing. We could all learn from that instead of wasting time by taking in strays.

He also doesn’t forget and won’t let anyone or anything get in the way of where he wants to go and how he’s going to get there.

Ruthless? Maybe. Ambitious? Definitely. Determined? Bet on it. Some riders and trainers around today should realise that the long shadow cast by Douglas Whyte when a jockey is not going to disappear. If anything, it’s going to grow longer.

Meanwhile, unlike our suggestions for last Sunday which were very much on the money, the racing tonight, with grey clouds hanging about, that typical Hong Kong flu weather and a constant drizzle, it’s hard to be confident about anything in particular. But if of any help, below are our initial thoughts for what is a nine race card- suggestions which could easily change after watching the first two races and seeing how the track is riding.

RACE 1

In keeping with the Valentine’s Day mood, first starter Frustrated runs in this- and ridden by the recently engaged Mauritian Magician- Karis Teetan…Frustrated? That’s good enough to just watch the race and see if Frustrated gets a smidgen of Satisfaction.

RACE 2

Running in this race is Massive Power (12) off a rating of…5. Why would anyone continue to pay for the upkeep of some poor thing that really doesn’t seem to want to race, let alone win even one?

Lucky Storm (6)
Cash Courier (9)
Golden Cannon (4)
Rookie Star (2)

RACE 3

Gracious Ryder (10)
Very Rich Man (2)
Dollar Reward (7)
Applause (5)

RACE 4

The first leg of the Six Up and where more often than not, the favourites bite the dust and A Horse With No Name wins. Why?

Tai Smart (4)
Alpha Hedge (6)
Happy Warrior (7)
Tennessee Boss (3)

RACE 5

Happy Dragon (3)
Vigor Fame (10)
Lucky Girl (7)
Harmony Hero (2)

RACE 6

Super Hoppy (6)
Telecom Brothers (8)
Wishful Thinker (2)
Born In China (1)

RACE 7

Rise High (3)

RACE 8

Prepare for a few shockwaves penetrating the night air…

Sacred Ibis (6)
Nicconi Express (4)
Good Omen (3)
Pikachu (5)

RACE 9

Tornado Twist (5)
Music Addition (3)
Starlight (2)
California Archer (1)

PARTING SHOT

#DouglasWhyte #HKracing