By Hans Ebert

The consummate professional. It’s how so many have described Douglas Whyte for so many years that it almost sounds like a cliche. Except that it’s not. That’s what he is: the consummate professional in the often cutthroat business that he’s in- horse racing.

The then-unknown South African rider arrived in Hong Kong to try his luck in this city at a time when another rider from his homeland- Basil Marcus- reigned supreme. He watched, learned, learned even more and went on to become Hong Kong’s Champion Jockey for thirteen consecutive years. It’s a record that will never be broken.

Today, Dougie, tongue firmly planted in cheek, calls himself a “battling trainer”. Hardly. And he knows he isn’t. Last season was his first in this new role after retiring from race riding. This was after winning everything there was to win, especially the respect of racing fans and racing executives. The transition has been smooth.

Just as he took control and made the Champion Hong Kong Jockey title his own for thirteen consecutive years, those who know his tremendous focus, commitment and determination to succeed in everything he takes on will never bet against him not being Champion trainer in this city that’s now his home. This will happen sooner rather than later. Bet on it.

Douglas Whyte has achieved much and seen it all. But, like all of us, nothing prepared him for all the many changes the world is going through these days, especially life changes.

When we caught up with each other last week, it was these changes that were discussed. How they’ve impacted him in his role as husband to Nikki. As a father to daughter Sheikara and son Ethan. And the impact it has had on him.

We talked about how those life lessons learned from time wisely spent with the legendary Horse Whisperer- Monty Roberts- had helped him through whatever it is we’re going through now.

There was mention of the changing landscape of horse racing. About much the sport has given him and also how it helps to keep him mentally agile and stay positive.

There’s then everything else going around the world of horse racing that remains a constant learning curve.

These are things that require special skills one can only learn through experience. By getting to the point of being able to see beyond what’s there in front of you. Not many in racing can do this. They’re one dimensional. Some are highly paid morons.

Consummate professionals can see beyond the obvious because they intuitively know how to separate the chaff from the wheat.

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