By Hans Ebert

He travels in his own universe. Always has. In his time in Hong Kong, he’s seen it all, heard it all, absorbed it all, and, no doubt, realises that in the end, it all comes down to being one’s own man with no IOUs lurking in the background.

Ambitious? Arrogance? Not a team player? No. It’s about focus and determination to be the very best in whatever he does in horse racing with, other than the stable staff assembled around him, the only team that really matters being his family.

Having written at length about Douglas Whyte for almost two decades, and once spent considerable time together before needing to focus on personal priorities, these days I read about and see his accomplishments and applaud from afar.

Today, the unknown South African rider from Durban who was persuaded by the late South China Morning Post Racing Editor Robin Parke to “try his luck” in Hong Kong, doesn’t walk in anyone’s shadow.

He’s worked with and for and against the best- always learning from real legends of the game like trainers Ivan Allan, Tony Cruz, below, and David Hayes, watched from the sidelines the Basil Marcus Years when the South African rider reigned supreme for seven consecutive years, and, of course, and forging his incredibly successful partnership with John Size.

He’s also seeing the changes in this city and an organisation that’s successfully morphed from the pretty colonial and pukka Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club to the far more multi-faceted international beast that it is today under the leadership of Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges.

On Saturday at Sha Tin, Douglas Whyte, trainer, had two more winners in debutants Inner Flame and Xpontential. It was the man showing his entire repertoire- having working the oracle with non-winners he’s inherited and his hand-picked new purchases.

All the time, he’s mixing it up by providing winners to not the usual suspects. That would be too easy.

Sure, Joao Moreira and Karis Teetan have ridden a winner each for him and Zac Purton and Vincent Ho have come close. But, as if to underline who’s in charge and, perhaps, remembering his thirteen consecutive years as Hong Kong’s champion jockey and receiving riding instructions he didn’t buy into, but still having to go out and deliver, he’s placed his trust and self-confidence on a reworking of the old saying, Horses For Courses.

With this in mind, he’s gone to apprentice Alfred Chan, Regan Bayliss, Alberto Sanna, Chad Schofield and Alexis Badel- and all have delivered.

It’s Sorcerer And Apprentice stuff. It’s having seen it all and knowing that words like “trust” and “loyalty” are just fleeting glances that in time may go.

As he once mentioned to me, “Bud, the people you can trust can be counted on one hand minus a few fingers”. It’s true.

There’s no point regurgitating everything written about him over many many years when writing about horse racing meant something to me.



Let’s just say that in his chosen profession, Douglas Whyte can hold his own with anyone and take whatever life and horse racing might throw his way.

One can talk about the current Hong Kong riding ranks and yada yada yada. Think this makes an iota of difference to Douglas Whyte? He’ll simply get on with it and make sure whoever he believes can deliver works for him. Those who can’t? Well, why bother?

Personally, I would be looking at the trainers ranks, how this will change when David Hayes arrives here next year, and how Douglas Whyte is already preparing to meet new challenges including making his mark at next year’s Hong Kong International Races. The latter is a given.

Seen his Instagram page @canridehorses? You should. It’s very effective marketing, the making of a global brand and an insight into how he thinks.

Douglas Whyte. Always thinking ahead, always staying one step ahead of the chasing pack, and having seen the fickleness of the horse racing business, always looking after número uno.

#DouglasWhyte #HKracing #horseracing