Douglas Whyte has gained an insight into Boban’s quirks from his regular rider as he chases a first Melbourne Group One win in the C F Orr Stakes.
Whyte, a 13-time champion jockey in Hong Kong, arrived in Melbourne on Friday morning to ride Boban for trainer Chris Waller in Saturday’s Orr Stakes at Caulfield.
He replaces the suspended Glyn Schofield who has ridden the gelding to his five Group One wins.
“I’ve had an opportunity to chat to Glyn Schofield about the horse,” Whyte said.
“He’s not straightforward by any means. He’s a bit of a handful, but he certainly has proven himself at Group level and he’s fresh and well and loves Caulfield.
“He hasn’t got the best barrier, so we’ve got a few things to overcome, but having said all that, he’s with the right man if he’s going to do anything on the day.”
Whyte has only ridden at the track once, partnering the Waller-trained Junoob to seventh in the 2014 Caulfield Cup.
He combined with Waller to win the 2014 Group One Kingston Town Classic aboard Moriarty in Perth while his most recent Melbourne appearance was at last year’s Australian Guineas meeting when he finished second on the Tony McEvoy-trained Alpine Eagle in the main event.
Whyte jumped at the chance when offered the ride on Boban by the Waller stable.
“You wouldn’t want to say no to a man of his calibre,” he said.
Boban has won Group One races in his past two preparations when fresh from a spell and is at $8.50 with Lucky Hussler the $4.40 favourite.
Whyte believes the key will be getting Boban to settle quickly with cover so he can unleash his powerful finish when it matters.
He is well aware that if he tries to go forward too early Boban could over-race.
“I’ve got my hands tied but I enjoy the challenge, I enjoy difficult horses and let’s hope that I can work it out together with him and I can get the best out of him,” he said.
Whyte has three rides on Saturday including Weatherly in a Blue Diamond Prelude and says he is keen to come back for more Group One opportunities during autumn.
“If I get the call-up, I’m here in a heartbeat,” he said.
“I love coming to Melbourne and getting away from Hong Kong and coming for the big races. It’s enjoyable. It’s competitive. It’s a new lease to life.”