Three into one won’t go and something has to give as the chase for the last of 12 spots in a star-studded LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship concludes at Happy Valley this Wednesday (21 November).
Reigning IJC champion Zac Purton and Karis Teetan head the home challenge for the 5 December showpiece, while Vincent Ho will also square off against previous winners like Ryan Moore and Hugh Bowman.
Matthew Poon leads the race for the coveted final spot with 14 wins on the board but his latest ban means opportunity knocks for Douglas Whyte and Chad Schofield, who both stand just one adrift.
The fact that Whyte and Schofield have ridden more seconds than Poon means just one winner could be enough to earn an IJC place and their internal duel provides an intriguing subplot on a card which sees them have five rides each.
Whyte has a formidable IJC record with three wins (2002, 2007 and 2008) and is eager to pit his skills against a very different group of riders than the one he saw off for his first success.
“I think Mick Kinane, Kieren Fallon, Damien Oliver and Frankie Dettori were here back then but the IJC is one of the pinnacle evenings at Happy Valley and it’s a great event to be part of,” he said.
“My main goal for now is to get a place – and once you are in you’ve always got a shot provided you can get on a couple of live horses with decent draws.”
Whyte’s prospects of earning a shot at a fourth IJC crown involve several live horses on Wednesday night, though a couple come with questions to answer, including the David Ferraris pair Burst Away and London Master.
“Burst Away has been running pretty well but unfortunately he can’t draw a gate,” Whyte said. “He has a heavy weight and gate nine so that’s a big question mark, while London Master gets back in his races and that’s just the way you have to ride him.”