Douglas Whyte is confident Carroll Street can develop into a serious sprinting prospect next season after the youngster impressively laid waste to talented opposition in the Class 3 Grass Island Handicap (1000m) at Sha Tin on Wednesday night (12 May).
Clocking 55.36s – almost a second faster than standard – in the first turf race under lights at Sha Tin since 2014, the Outreach gelding delivered on the rich promise Whyte always suspected the three-year-old possessed.
“He’s progressively got better all of the time. Since his first run, the writing was on the wall with what he can do. He hasn’t been the flashiest in time up until tonight but I’ve known all along what ability he has got,” Whyte said after the three-year-old notched his third win from four starts.
“He’s a very young individual. He just needed a bit of time and he’s certainly finding his way now.”
Carrying 117lb after Jerry Chau’s five-pound claim, Carroll Street steamed clear of Winner Method (132lb) to inflict the -333.33 favourite’s first defeat in four starts.
Chau appeared to derive particular delight after a cool, fence-hugging ride on Carroll Street to log his 41st winner of the season as Whyte acknowledged the significance of the 15lb weight differential.
“You can never come here and be too bullish but, at the weights, I knew I would have a reasonable chance,” the South African said. “He’s only a three-year-old and he’s done a fantastic job – I’ll assess him but I would ultimately like to stop him and bring him back next season.
“He’s done everything right from the word go – mentally, he hasn’t even woken up yet. He’s a baby. He’ll appreciate a bit of time off now, I know mentally what he’s capable of. He’ll be a nice prospect for next season.
“The thing that satisfied me most tonight was the fact he could lay up with them and not get out of his ground. He’s been a bit wayward out of the gates and when you step up in class and give ground, it’s hard to do.”
Whyte deflected praise to Racing Development Board trainee Britney Wong, who has done plenty of educational work with Carroll Street.
“A big shout out to Britney, who’s a very young trainee that works for the stable and comes in every single day. She does all the slow work on him and it’s great to have someone who’s as young as that a part of the stable and gets to ride a horse like that every day and give you good feedback,” Whyte said.
Jerry Chau continued his stunning mid-week strike rate with a race-to-race double aboard Michael Chang’s Gallant Legacy in the second section of the Class 4 Ninepin Group Handicap (dirt, 1200m), following a treble at Happy Valley last Wednesday (5 May).
Tony Millard labelled Gold Comet a “progressive horse” after the Hong Kong International Sale graduate spreadeagled the field under Joao Moreira to win the Class 4 Tiu Chung Chau Handicap (dirt, 1650m) by nine lengths in class record time of 1m 37.76s.
A half-brother to former champion Invasor, winner of the Uruguayan Triple Crown in 2005 before claiming the 2006 Grroup 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic (dirt, 2000m) at Churchill Downs, Kentucky and the 2007 Group 1 Dubai World Cup (dirt, 2000m), Gold Comet was bought last year for HK$3.2 million.
“He’s a half-brother to a champion horse and it’s very nice to get an ISG (International Sale graduate) like this,” Millard said.
“I think this is a progressive horse. He’s going to get better. He’s certainly hitting his straps now and he’s a very nice horse.”
Moreira solidified prospects of a fourth jockeys’ championship with a double after Dennis Yip’s Super Winner saluted in the Class 3 Kau Sai Chau Handicap (1400m).
Derek Leung matched his personal best of 37 victories in a season when Benno Yung’s Striking Mr C landed the first section of the Class 4 Ninepin Group Handicap (dirt, 1200m). Leung previously tallied 37 wins in 2017/18.
Karis Teetan extended his lead as the most successful rider this season on Sha Tin’s dirt circuit with a double, first swooping aboard Ricky Yiu’s Jade Theatre to snatch the Class 5 Tung Lung Chau Handicap (dirt, 1200m) before bookending the meeting with victory on Jimmy Ting’s Man Star in the Class 3 Kat O Handicap (dirt, 1200m).
The ‘Mauritian Magician’ boosted his tally to 13 on the dirt for the season, two more than Zac Purton, whose mount The Abraxas was scratched at the barriers on veterinary advice.
Purton rebounded swiftly from the opening-race disappointment to partner Fairy Floss to emphatic success in the Class 5 Waglan Island Handicap (dirt, 1800m) over Dragon Commander – the horse Fairy Floss dead-heated with in February.
Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday (16 May).