Douglas Whyte shows Will Power to stick to dirt: ‘why break a winning formula?’
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – that is the mantra trainer Douglas Whyte is preaching for his gun four-year-old Will Power.
The first-season handler has enjoyed a dream run with the lightly raced galloper, winning three from four starts – all on the dirt.
While Whyte says Will Power would be able to repeat his efforts on turf, there is no reason to change a winning formula with all-weather races still readily available for him.
He races on Sunday in Class Two for the first time in the Cornwall Handicap (1,200m) after a length-and-a-half victory in Class Three last month.
“Why break a winning formula?” Whyte said. “He has surprised me in that fact that he has mentally gotten better. Each time I have stepped him out and with his work in the morning he has shown me that he is thriving and doing everything correctly.”
Will Power was given a six-week break since his last start victory with Whyte looking to nurture his promising type early in his career.
However, he said he will maintain his race fitness after completing a barrier trial last week under race jockey Karis Teetan.
“There wasn’t much between races and he is a horse that gives it his all so I just freshened him up,” he said.
Karis was happy with his trial last week, it was just to top him off. I have been on him since and he seems in good enough order.”
Stepping into Class Two, Will Power meets well-performed gallopers such as Gunnison, Kings Shield, Encore Boy and Winner Supreme.
As the lowest-rated runner in the race however, Will Power will carry just 118 pounds.
“He has to improve to fulfil his spot in Class Two now but he has a nice, light galloping weight and gets his chance,” Whyte said.
“I think he has [improved], as I indicated, he is a horse that has got better with every race, both physically and mentally, he is a stronger horse.”
Man of the moment Antoine Hamelin will ride Encore Boy for Ricky Yiu Poon-fai as he looks to build on his hot start to his Hong Kong career.
Hamelin has ridden three winners in his first two meetings and Encore Boy has done his best work on the dirt, giving him a winning chance on Sunday.
“He’s a horse with much better form on the dirt than the grass and the new jockey hops up, I
think he’s a pretty good rider,” Yiu said.
“It’ll be something new for him, especially from the good draw as he’s a lovely, consistent horse.”
Currently racing off a mark of 90, Encore Boy has only missed a placing once in his six starts to date this season while managing to win twice.