As Yoda might say, Impossible is nothing. It’s something that happened yesterday when Jockey Neil Callan saw his appeal against a hugely lengthy ban that would have not seen the pugnacious Irishman ride for the rest of this season, halved.

  It was an equally huge about face by the Hong Kong Jockey Club- and a win-win decision for everyone that didn’t exactly need the wisdom of Solomon.

Nothing can move forward when there’s something holding one back.

As we should all know by now, there are no certainties in horse racing. Except perhaps for Neil Callan’s tenacity and the focus, determination, complete self belief, or whatever one might call it of former champion Hong Kong Jockey Douglas Whyte.


Douglas Whyte is like Sinatra singing “My Way”. He has always done things his way. He might listen to suggestions or what might even consider “advice” that could be interpreted as him being “pressurised”, but he’s always had the courage of his convictions.

Put another way, Douglas Whyte has massive balls.

He doesn’t veer from what he believes are in the best interests of the horses in his stable and those owners who have placed confidence in him to do the right thing.


News that Whyte was “under pressure” to race his stable star Russian Emperor at last week’s Champions Day and in the QE2 Cup had been making rounds.

After all, there were only eight runners in the prestigious staying race with four coming from Japan to take on Hong Kong’s Dad’s Army of stayers. The Japanese raiders finished 1-2-3-4 in the big race.

Many trainers might have been tempted or cajoled into having Russian Emperor fly the Hong Kong flag, especially after coming so close to winning this year’s BMW Hong Kong Derby, but only to be thwarted by that magical ride produced by Joao Moreira on Sky Darci.


Having known Douglas on and mainly off the track for almost two decades, he doesn’t regret many decisions. It’s all about moving forward.

This is why on Sunday, Douglas Whyte has the former Aidan O’Brien trained Ascot winner Russian Emperor taking its place in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup over 2400 metres. And no, Karis Teetan will not be replaced on the galloper as some thought.

The trainer has gone on record to say that there was nothing wrong in the Mauritian’s Derby ride. He did everything according to plan, and how no one was expecting some of the things that ensued during the running of the race.

Being champion Hong Kong jockey for thirteen consecutive seasons didn’t happen by chance. The man is a powerful force of nature.

Let’s not forget those screaming for the head of the then champion Hong Kong rider after his second placing aboard Scales Of Justice in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic at Ascot in Perth in 2016.

One particular racing writer in Australia laid the blame for the loss squarely on Whyte for what he saw as a “misjudged” ride. But not Trainer Lindsey Smith. He saw nothing wrong with it.

Same with Douglas Whyte and the popular Mauritian rider. With also backing from Mike Cheung, Karis Teetan retains the ride on Russian Emperor.


Just as he’s shown over the last couple of years that he’s been a trainer, Whyte, who does almost all of the track work on his runners, intuitively knows which rider suits which horse and when they should be legged aboard.

This has seen him give winning opportunities to those riders who are not at the top of the totem pole and pecking order- Regan Bayliss, Alberto Sanna, the current apprentice indentured to him- Jerry Chau- Lyle Hewitson and, most recently, new boy Harry Bentley, below, winning on Vincy.


On Sunday, the exciting Russian Emperor steps out with Karis Teetan aboard to try and win the Queen Mother Memorial Cup. What do I think? I have complete faith in whatever Douglas Whyte has decided is best for his runner.

The problem with so many things today are when those in the peanut gallery just have to get involved by opining way too much and end up making complete monkeys of themselves.

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