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Winner Douglas Whyte celebrates with the trophy and silver whip
At Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong, defending champion Douglas Whyte became the first three-time winner of the Cathay Pacific International Jockeys' Championship on Wednesday night, adding to his wins in 2002 and 2007. He failed to win any of the three races in the contest, however he was aboard the runner-up in all three races which gained him enough points for the victory. Each race awarded 12 points for a win, 6 for second, and 4 for third. In a change from last year, points are no longer awarded for fourth or fifth. Jockeys were assigned their mounts randomly with the races run as handicaps.
Cornelio Velasquez wins the first leg aboard Super Genki
Douglas Whyte leads down the stretch in the second leg aboard Royal Portrait before fading to second.
Born in Durban, South Africa, the 37-year-old Whyte has been champion jockey in Hong Kong for a record 8 consecutive seasons and is likely to extend that streak to 9 this term. Last season he broke Tony Cruz's record of 946 career wins and became the first rider to partner 1,000 wins in Hong Kong. His monstrous tally of 114 in 2005-06 broke his own record. His Group 1 wins include the Hong Kong Gold Cup and Hong Kong Vase (aboard Indigenous); QEII Cup (London News), Chairman's Prize (Oriental Express); Citi HK Champions & Chater Cup (Packing Winner), the Centenary Cup (Best Of The Best) and Stewards Cup (Armada).
Christophe Lemaire wins the third and final leg aboard Kenobe.
Douglas Whyte and Christophe Lemaire pose with their trophies after the competition.
Lemaire said, "For a moment I was in trouble in the final race but he came home great. We have had great fun tonight. This is a great series and it was a real thrill for me to be a part of it. I was delighted to win the race on Kenobe and I'm very grateful to the trainer (Andreas Schutz) for having the horse in such wonderful order."
Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said, "It has been a wonderful night, with great competition out on the track and the jockeys have treated our customers to some top-class racing. The atmosphere all around the track was very good, there was a real buzz of excitement, so I think we can safely call the night a big success."
Left: The winner receives a trophy, a silver whip and cash prize of HK$200,000 while the runner-up gets a silver dish and a cash prize of HK$100,000. Here are all the jockeys together on stage.
Right: Fireworks lit up the Happy Valley infield at the opening ceremony for the Jockey Challenge while all the participants watch on stage.
Left: Cornelio Velasquez in the winner's circle after the first leg aboard Super Genki.
Right: Christophe Lemaire salutes with his whip as he returns to the winner's circle after the final leg aboard Kenobe.
Left: Andrasch Starke wins the second leg aboard Ever King.
Right: Starke waves to the fans as he parades Ever King down the stretch after the race.
The crowded grandstand at Happy Valley with the skyscrapers of Hong Kong overlooking it.
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