Jetwings flies for Whyte as Purton is grounded

Douglas Whyte was jubilant when Jetwings flew to an impressive win in the Class 2 Waterfall Bay Handicap (1200m) to round off proceedings at Happy Valley on Wednesday night but across town in Sha Tin, Zac Purton must have been cursing his own ill-fortune.

The flying chestnut was one of three winners on the night that would have gone to Purton had not the former champion jockey been a late scratching due to illness.

But with Purton sidelined, Whyte, Brett Prebble and Derek Leung made hay. And the 13-time past champion Whyte crowned the night atop a sprinter that had been a youngster of exciting potential before injury put him out of action for 14 months.

Douglas Whyte steers Jetwings to an impressive victory in the Waterfall Bay Handicap., picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

“You’ve got to give full credit to the owners because they’ve done everything right by the horse,” said winning trainer Richard Gibson, for whom the Jet Spur five-year-old was his fifth score of the campaign. “He had a minor suspensory strain last year and they did all the right things. They took him for paddock rest in Australia, they were patient with him.”

Tonight’s concluding contest saw Jetwings recapture the form that had seen him land his first two Hong Kong races down the Sha Tin straight back in early 2015. And he notched a third success at start eight, his second since returning from his setback, with a home stretch surge that secured a cosy three quarters of a length win from Super Turbo.

“He came back and the first race was perfect, it was very encouraging, and then tonight was better! We were a little pessimistic tonight because of the draw (12),” said Gibson, whose misgivings were echoed in the market, the Jet Spur gelding returning at 36/1.