HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB, FAST TRACK AND UNIVERSAL MUSIC BRING ENTERTAINMENT AND RACING TOGETHER

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The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) and its media partner Fast Track have formed a new partnership with Universal Music to bring the world of entertainment to the race tracks and venues of the HKJC, the world’s most successful racing club and one of the most significant businesses and philanthropic organisations in Hong Kong.

The partnership brings horse racing, the HKJC and entertainment together in a new mix of venues and platforms for music.

The partnership started a few months ago when Universal Music released the download of “Giddy Up”, the theme song for the Club’s successful Happy Wednesday brand which caters mainly to the casual race-goer and the new generation of racing fans.

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Written by Hans Ebert, Chairman and CEO of Fast Track and Advisor to the HKJC, and Welsh singer-songwriter Ben Semmens, “Giddy Up” was the first number one single from any racing club in the world having topped the Hong Kong iTunes Chart.

George Ash, President of Universal Music Asia Pacific, says: “We are very pleased to be working alongside the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Fast Track in this new partnership. We’ve known Hans since his days with Universal Music and he understands how the HKJC operates and how horse racing and music can work together with various sponsors to reach the next generation of racing fans.”

Says Ebert: “With venues like The Beer Garden, Adrenaline and the Happy Wednesday brand at Happy Valley Racecourse, we have already made inroads into bringing in the casual and new race-goer. These are still initial steps when one realizes what more we can do to create a holistic entertainment experience combining current and new sponsors with the ready-made platforms at the HKJC venues. With the clout of Universal Music and its fantastic artists we see some very exciting times ahead. Furthermore horse racing is being tipped to begin soon in China and with the HKJC being the only legal means of wagering on the Mainland this offers an added potential dimension to the partnership.”

Posted in Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, www.fasttrack.hk | Leave a comment

THE DING DONGS ON HONG KONG’S WANG DANG DOODLES‏ (EPISODE 10)

(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)

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THE SAD BALLAD OF THE HKJC, SIR PAUL AND GOVT RED TAPE.

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The heart is willing but the body is not- or something like that.

Though being Hong Kong’s biggest tax payer and its Charities division having almost paid for a better Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Jockey Club is still shackled by various Government restraints such as Land Lease issues, various Terms and Conditions as to what it can and cannot do at its two racecourses etc.

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One of those things that could have happened recently was the HKJC wishing to say Yeah Yeah Yeah to the first ever concert in Hong Kong by Sir Paul McCartney later this year at its racecourse in Shatin.

Paul McCartney Out There Tour 2013

Apart from AsiaWorld at the other end of Hong Kong, two of the city’s best- and largest- and only- venues are the racecourses in Happy Valley and Shatin.

Many have wondered for decades why, on non-race days, these cannot be used, especially, for concerts.

Well, there are sound ordinances and there are are reams and reams of typical governmental No, Minister bollocks that have killed this and many ideas out.

Who’s the loser? Hong Kong.

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Who does Hong Kong ALWAYS lose out to when it comes to concerts? Singapore?

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What do organizations like the HKTA, InvestHK and the invisible CreateHK do about this? Nothing.

What can the HKJC do about it?

Well, apart from reviewing its current Terms and Conditions when it comes to how and when its two racecourses can be used and reaching a new compromise, it’s really up to the public to tell the government to wake up, smell the dim sum and realize that one-time “Swingabore” is attracting many of Hong Kong’s creative talent along with being the regional hub for the International media and where something as simple as holding an outdoor concert isn’t attacked by The Day Of The Locusts.

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Apart from Singapore, Hong Kong is losing out to Macau in the concert business- and, from what we hear- where the Macau Jockey Club will soon be a venue for concerts.

The Boss at Taipa? Could well be.

Bruce Springsteen new album

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CASPAR COUNTS HIS LUCKY NINES.

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Michael Cox of the SCMP wrote an excellent piece this week on the brilliant- and tactical- rides last Sunday by Tommy Berry on Designs Of Rome and Brett Prebble on Lucky Nine which would be pointless for us to trudge through again.

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Adding to the Cox man’s piece, what we’d like to mention is the role of trainer Caspar Fownes in the win of Lucky Nine.

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If he weren’t married to his childhood sweetheart, Alix, we’d swear he sleeps with Lucky Nine.

Cas, to many, one of the good guys in racing and The Man Of A Thousand “Nearly Fine” Voices, has done a remarkable job with his favorite galloper.

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When we saw it starting at 5.8 on Sunday, we gulped. Lucky Nine, we thought- at 5.8??? Hello??? Sterling City at 1.7??? More hellos. And when we heard from many around us that Lucky Nine was “past it”, well, we just put that down to swallowing too many dumbnuts.

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Here is a galloper who is all heart- and probably gets mighty pissed off if it doesn’t proudly strut back to the winners enclosure with his team- Brett Prebble, his owners and Caspar.

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On Sunday, seeing the Fownes family- and it was great to see Lawrie Fownes at the track- with this pretty incredible horse and a personality in its own right- well, it was one of those moments that makes one proud to be part of horse racing as it gives the sport much more than being an outlet for bogans and which makes some see you as a full-time mug.

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It gives horse racing, a heart and soul.

And Amen to that.

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THE BRIAN BRYCE STORY: TO BLOW THE LID OFF THE TAIPANS OF HONG KONG- AND THE EARLY DAYS OF HK RACING.

It’s a few years off, but, to borrow a phrase from Aussie racing pundit nehru Ritchie “The Tipping Point” Callander, you read it here first: Watch out for a movie or TV series based on the life and times of the late hotelier Bryan Bryce which will blow the lid off the world of big business, Hong Kong in the Sixties and Seventies, some of the biggest names in horse racing from yesterday’s Hong Kong such as Stanley Ho and Sir Michael Sandberg, below, with it all centering around this charismatic Aussie who arrived in Hong Kong with nothing, became the worldwide head of Hyatt International Hotel, squired and bonked some of the world’s most beautiful women including a harem of Chinese actresses and then saw his world implode.

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We recently found a quote from boxing promoter Don King describing Bryce as, “The only white nigga I trust.”

A high complement indeed and a story that is a combination of James Clavell’s Taipan, Mad Men and The Wolf Of Wall Street.

Mad Men (Season 5)

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TIPS FOR HAPPY WEDNESDAY FROM FAST TRACK.

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TIPS FOR TONIGHT AT THE HAPPY VALLEY (FROM THIRD DIVIDEND)

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Happy Valley (HKG)
Wed, 19/2/14
#HValley Night Races @HKJC_Racing
Turf (“C” Course-Worked Back)
Weather: It will be cold. Cloudy with a few rain patches at first. Bright later in the afternoon. The maximum temperature will be around 11 degrees. Fresh to strong northerly winds.
Outlook: Remaining cold in the next couple of days. Fine and dry on Thursday. Temperatures will rise over the weekend.
Source: http://www.hko.gov.hk/contente.htm

Race 1: FANLING HCP CL5
1 – Flying Keeper (10)
2 – Shangjai Pioneer (6)
3 – All Times Lucky (7)
4 – Novel Start (5)

Race 2: KWAI CHUNG HCP CL5
1 – Infinite Courage (10)
2 – Mr Marfach (5)
3 – Starlit Warrior (11)
4 – Mizzen Grey (1)

Race 3: SAI KUNG HCP CL4
1 – Gentilis (3)
2 – Call Me Acheiver (5)
3 – Seasons Star (1)
4 – Glory Horse (4)

Race 4: SHA TIN HCP CL4
1 – Fire Starter (4)
2 – Friends Of Yan Oi (11)
3 – Key Witness (5)
4 – Victory General (7)

Race 5 (Q1): TAI PO HCP CL4
1 – Step High (2)
2 – Ambitous Treasure (10)
3 – Sure Champ (7)
4 – Good Thinker (8)

Race 6 (Q2): TIN SHUI WAI HCP CL3
1 – Getaway Guy (4)
2 – You Read My Mind (7)
3 – Highest Acclaim (3)
4 – Victorious (2)

Race 7 (Q3): THE ROTARY CENTENARY CHALLENGE CUP HCP CL3
1 – Jazzy Feeling (4)
2 – Calling With Love (6)
3 – Ka Ying Kid (5)
4 – Enthusuasm (1)

Race 8 (Q4): TSUEN WAN HCP CL2
1 – Pleasure Gains (2)
2 – Sunny Ying (3)
3 – Jolly Victor (9)
4 – Bubble Chic (7)

Best Bet
Race 3: Gentilis (3)

Next Best
Race 7: Jazzy Feeling (4)

Value Bet
Race 2: Infinite Courage (10) – Currently, $6.50/$2.30

Long Shot
Race 8: Bubble Chic (7) – Currently, $12.00/$2.80

Quaddie ($100 gets you 39%)
2.7.8.10
2.3.4.7
1.4.5.6
2.3.7.9

Six Up
3
4
2.10
4
4.5.6
2.3.7.9

 

SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)

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BEST BET
Jockey Challenge, D Whyte
Full book of rides and finishes the night strongly. Value at $3.

SECOND BEST
Race 8, No. 3 Sunny Ying
Rock hard fit and racing well. Take catching again.

LONGSHOT
Race 7, No. 3 Emperor Claudius
Lack of pace and should be prominent at the end. Each-way.

LAY
Race 3, No. 5 Call Me Achiever
Hasn’t won in a long while and won’t get any peace up front.

QUADDIE
2,10,11 / 3,4,7 / 3,4,6 / 2,3,7,9. $50 for 46.29%.

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THE FAST TRACKER TURNS WHYTE AT THE VALLEY.

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After last Wednesday’s bloodbath at Happy Valley where some of the results left many dazed and confused, tonight’s races have almost a shiny happy glow to them with even the Triple Trio looking gettable.

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The jockey to follow? Though after a few days of fighting off bronchitis, The Zac Attack will be at his lethal best, I’m banking on Dougie Whyte having a big day though Joao Moreira will, as always, be popping up all over the place tonight- his last day before starting a three-day suspension- and with the next three Happy Wednesdays seeing Magic coming to the Valley.

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R1 ALL TIMES LUCKY/FLYING KEEPER/SLEDGE HAMMER

R2 INFINITE COURAGE/HUMONGUS/STARLIT WARRIOR/VIVA GUY

R3 GENTILLS/CALL ME ACHIEVER

Yes, after Collagen and the poverty-stricken Peniaphobia, we have that combination of genitals and Gentiles racing here in Gentills with The Zac Attack aboard and looking as if he only has The Magic Man to beat.

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R4 FIRE STARTER/KEY WITNESS

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R5 STEP HIGH/AMBITIOUS TREASURE/OWNER’S GLORY/SURE CHAMP

I will say, Step High, below,won’t win this, but being the middle pin of the TT and the leg which can easily cause an upset, gawd knows who it might be???

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Owner’s Glory with Dickie Lui up, who delivered for me with Approve last week, would be a banker- at odds- and it’s good to see various trainers giving him more and more rides with real winning chances.

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R6 YOU READ MY MIND/HIGHEST ACCLAIM/GETAWAY GUY

Getaway Guy has been my horse to follow since its last run when drawn wide, and with a good draw tonight, should, at least, place. Am backing it to win with Dougie Whyte sticking with it and not jumping ship.

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R7 JAZZY FEELING/CALLING WITH LOVE

Well, if celebrity Aaron Kwok shows up- and the darling of so many appears at even the opening of an envelope- to lead in his horse Calling With Love, back it to run in the first three? Can it win? Hmmmm. I have a Jazzy Feeling, it won’t.

APPLE DAILY PHOTO

R8 LUCKY FOREVER/BULLISH BOY/SUNNY YING/JOLLY VICTOR/PERFECT CHEERS

The toughest race of the night and which just might end with some Perfect Cheers for trainer Caspar Fownes. The horse loves Happy Valley and has a habit of popping up at good odds.

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BEST BET RACE 6 GETAWAY GUY
NEXT BEST RACE 4 FIRE STARTER
LONGSHOT RACE 8 PERFECT CHEERS

SARIKA’S SIX UP

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R3: 3
R4: 4
R5: 2-7-10-11
R6: 4-7
R7: 4
R8: 3-5-7-8-9

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PARTING SHOT

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Posted in brett prebble, casper fownes, DOUGLAS WHYTE, HAPPY WEDNESDAY, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, The horse racing industry, www.fasttrack.hk, zac purton | 1 Comment

CHRISTIAN AND THE DICKHEAD

It really hurts, daddy, when someone whom you’ve looked up to for, gee, at least five days, slams the door in your face.

It makes one feel almost orphaned, rebuked, tossed aside like yesterday’s Daily Telegraph and so, well, cheap.

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And so it is with my very sad tale of woe with racing writer extraordinaire Christian Nicopottamus of the Daily Telegraph in Australia- the Hunter S Thompson of gonzo racing journalism combined with the wit of Idi Amin and the profundity of the Weather Channel. I know. Profundity?

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When I recently read the Christian man’s incredibly well-researched piece on the effects of gamma rays on the moon and why because of that lucky old sun- Ethel Merman, I feel a song coming on, mama- a race meeting at Caulfield had its races moved forward so as to look after the welfare of the jockeys and horses, I thought to myself, Hellooo, Bubkiss, here is someone who has his finger on the pulse of the future of racing- and knows what truly matters to the sport.

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All those weather reports he trotted out! All those temperatures he reminisced about! And then- like a miracle- and maybe it was- he wheeled out Ray Murrihy in a subtle journalistic twist to bring together the effects of the sun and its gamma Rays on horse racing.

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I thought to myself while looking above into that wide blue yonder where clouds played together and changed shapes like castles in the sand but up there in the sky, how bloody brilliant his prose was and felt another song coming on and BURST into my Nina Simone voice and belted out Summertime.

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I felt like Porgy crying out for Bess while making a real Kunta Kinte of myself.

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Uncle Ray, a legend amongst men who is said to have studied under the Shaolin monks during those forty days and forty nights when he disappeared into the wilderness, spoke eloquently and sagely about the weather- the effects of the sun on one’s brain, sunstroke, Here Comes The Sun, When Sunny Gets Blue, Get Offa My Cloud, Rainy Days And Mondays, and Icarus.

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Uncle Ray painted a wonderful rainbow connection that brought to mind Kermit and Pigs In Space.

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Yes, it was so out there and outré that I just HAD to write about how this Ray of sunshine had changed my life, let alone the effect it had on the wonders of horse racing.

Sadly, the Christian man did not appreciate my humble tribute to him and called me “laughable”- about what I know not- in his new piece of gonzo journalism and which reached a Klout moment from near and far.

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What had I done to torment my Christian leader other than follow him to the mountaintop like I had once followed Chauncey Gardener?

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Why had I incurred his wrath which made all the bramble bushes around my being BURST into flames?

Oy vey, Batman, all this BURSTING going on!

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I reached out to the Christian man.

Yes, I swallowed my pride and nearly gagged on my tongue, and threw him a twittering olive branch.

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Alas, it was a Sunday and he must have been deep in his thoughts composing his next sermon as his reply was not the Christian thing to do. Or maybe it was.

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Like Jesus chasing out the gamblers and whores from the temple, he blocked me from twittering with him, mano to mano, made owlish hoot hoot sounds and called me something very unkind: A dickhead.

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I touched my head to just make sure that it hadn’t become this thing called a dickhead and said, speak to me. There was no answer. There was no dick there.

If there were one, it was dead as a doorknob.

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I am now left scratching my head and wondering what more I can do.

I am tormented, I am riddled with guilt and half the man I once was.

Hell, I feel another song coming on…

Forgive me, Christian, for I have sinned.

Your humble and loving servant,

Hans

Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing | 1 Comment

THE DING DONGS ON THE HONG KONG WANG DANG DOODLES‏ (EPISODE 9)

(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)

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STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S DING DONGS

THE FAST TRACK GUIDE TO SHATIN 1

Often, especially in horse racing, the LOUDEST secrets are those deserving to fall on deaf ears.

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For example, for around two months, one of these LOUD secrets has been that Zac Purton had lost the ride on Military Attack with trainer John Moore telling the SCMP last week that he wasn’t happy with the jockey’s last few rides on the horse and how owner Steven Lo had listened to his trainer and agreed that Joao Moreira ride it.

Of course, the old “change of luck” trump card was played.

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If only we could use this on some of our relationships: Sorry, baby, but on your bike as I need a change of luck as you’re just bad fung shui.

Steven Lo Kit Sing, John Moore

What was puzzling to this supposed “done deal” were reports in the Chinese racing media that this was all news to Steven Lo who is said to have dug his heels in and, together with his gorgeous wife- Canny- was staying loyal to Purton.

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Of course, rumors are rumors and both Lo and Moore, or, as we call the dynamic duo, LoMoore are hard-headed people with a Do-as-I-say-or-else attitude.

It’s got them far in life and business and works for them. Dictatorial? Perhaps? As to who’s right and who’s wrong? Probably both.

John Moore is the horse’s hired trainer and knows what’s best for Military Attack whereas Steven Lo pays the training fees and purchased the horse.

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So, when titans clash, there is always a fallout and someone is the meat in the sandwich and here, the salami is Zac Purton.

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Apparently, there have been a few Kung Hei Fat Choys exchanged between the LoMoores along with a few ultimatums and how this is all played out in the next few weeks should make for another interesting horse opera.

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As for the breakdown between Moore and Purton, we wonder what caused it- and if it all centers around Military Attack and an owner siding with a jockey and not his trainer?

It sounds almost like a lovers tiff and about control as to some, control means everything and, if so, is this fair on Zac Purton who’s just the piano player in this cacophony of sound between two vocal personalities?

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Before the arrival of Magic Man Moreira- and what a fantastic addition he has been to the riding ranks- The Zac Attack was hailed as “the new Douglas Whyte”.

He could no wrong, did no wrong and was riding doubles and trebles with consummate ease, had won Group races at Ascot, Singapore- on Military Attack- Japan’s All-Star Jockey Series, and was on a bigger roll than a Cheech and Chong bong.

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Then, very abruptly, it’s all seemingly come to a screeching halt with Tye Angland being seen by some as “the new Zac Purton” in what feels like a very long season as so much has already happened.

These days, the perception is that the lethal Zac Attack almost seems relegated to a third banana role while finding it tough to get on winning rides and, for reasons we don’t understand, having to suddenly play a role as laid-back as Melbourne’s much-touted Relaxed Racing and its just plain juvenile Om radio spots. Dearie me.

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Getting back to Zac Purton, okay, so Tony Cruz doesn’t use him- but, let’s face it, when was the last time Cruzy used an Aussie jockey?

Brett Prebble might have, once upon a time, got a ride here and there, but that never went anywhere whereas even Douglas Whyte went through many seasons without any Cruz Control.

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The Aussie style of riding is not for him- though, for the first time- have mercy, sweet Brother James Brown!- Purton rides a horse for the trainer today- Bullish Friend in the Champion Sprint.

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John Size not using him is a bit more complicated and, possibly, goes back to the reputation of a much younger- and, supposedly, cocky- Zac Purton in Oz. Possibly.

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So, what next for The Zac Attack when this looked like being his Time Of The Season boosted with all those articles about him coming of age, too much made of the “finger pointing” episode and, far more importantly- and, rightfully- the incredible confidence he exuded and resulted in racking up over thirty winners in rapid quick time?

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But times change, people change and today, even Dennis Yip, Purton’s biggest supporter last season and who The Zac Attack helped enormously to win the Trainer Premiership, has had a slow start to this season, and, with his new purchases only now being unveiled, it looks as if Dougie Whyte has a head start on getting on these.

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Let’s not forget what a formidable partnership Whyte and Yip had a few seasons ago before Brett Prebble stepped in- and when that relationship soured, the pendulum swung back in favor of Whyte- until The Zac Attack came bursting through the door like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

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Yes, that’s racing and that’s the usual jockey merry-go-round that makes us dizzy, Miss Lizzy.

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Advice to Purton like chin up and keep doing what you do best is easier said than done. They’re just words.

Frankly, if in the shoes of this extremely gifted rider, apart from having to deal with the recent blistering chilly weather that he loathes, and why he left Melbourne all those years ago, he’s also had to deal with getting the cold shoulder from some trainers- perhaps, orders from owners- we’d think it through and come out fighting- but by talking softly and carrying a big stick.

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Zac Purton is in a strange place right now and the story of not receiving the support of the three major stables has been played out too often and should be given a rest. It makes the jockey sound like the boy who cried wolf.

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Far more impressive is what he has achieved WITHOUT their support.

Right now, Hong Kong is in the throes of Moreiramania- and for good reason. The Brazilian Magic Man is an incredible talent and is extremely likable.

Everybody Loves Raymond and Everybody Loves Joao.

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Like Douglas Whyte, Zac Purton has to deal with this new kid in town and realize that when life throws you a curve, you conquer it and learn to deal with it by reaching for The Art Of War, reading it, regrouping and coming out with a new and positive outlook on life that everyone can see- and wants to see you succeed by backing all you do.

After all, positivity is catchy.

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A jockey’s lot is sure a tough one and worse than anyone’s mood swings as things can change so drastically overnight- like the recent mini-banana split between young Chad Schofield and David Hayes.

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As the young rider mentioned in an interview with Baba Shane Anderson, he asked if he might possibly have one day of the week free when the stable wasn’t busy to ride for other stables to gain more experience- a simple request that got Schofield suspended from riding any of Haysey’s horses “for a while.”

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Earlier this week, Tommy Berry went on social media to apologize for a ride on the Team Hawkes-trained Traitor that he felt was a bad one.

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We have to wonder if the young Berry who rode a treble at Rosehill yesterday has started a trend amongst jockeys and what Stewards might think if this Honesty policy really takes off?

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Think about it, especially how it might impact suspensions and how public opinion can win over a jockey for following an Honesty Is The Best Policy way of apologizing for a bad ride on social media.

We think it’s great and a game changer in horse racing which, one day very soon, will definitely impact Stewards enquiries.

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Meanwhile, as most of us know, Tommy Berry is in town for John Moore and to give Designs On Rome one final prep run before the Hong Kong Derby, but we were a tad surprised to see Craig Williams, below, being flown out, especially to ride the Almond Lee-trained First Sight Love in the Group 1 Hong Kong Classic Cup which races up a class and takes on the likes of Able Friend, Flagship Shine, and Designs On Rome at level weights.

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THE FAST TRACKER TAKES ON A CLASSICAL TWIST.

After last Saturday and a turgid Wednesday, today should be more about form and less to do with closing both eyes and taking a pin.

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Though the weather is cold, the sky is gloomy and the prospect of rain is forecast- and the experts always get it wrong- racing should be fair and square- and with no need to go out wide in search of new land.

R1MAGICAL BEAM/SPECTACULAR AWARD/MAN AND MING

A Class 5 race to open proceedings and a good time to go to the buffet table and grab the sushi and sashimi before they disappear before one can say, Sayonara.

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R2 SPARKLING SWORD/MELLIFLUENT/BRIGHT STAR/VARA PEARL

With two of the best chances drawn out wide- Bright Star and Mellifluent- this might give Sparkling Sword and newcomer Vara Pearl better chances of taking this one out.

R3 MR GOURMET/GREAT PEGASUS/GRACEFUL KINGDOM

A tough race and not for me- or Joao Moreira who- huh?- doesn’t have a ride in the race.

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R4 ON THE WAY/HAPPY CENTENARY

I’ve been following both horses and think one of them or both can be taken as bankers or even double bankers in a tough first leg of the Triple Trio with the former ridden by Douglas Whyte who has worked and kept the ride on On The Way from day one, and the other ridden by Brett Prebble, once fierce rivals and, today, good chums.

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Another horse to consider is the Caspar Fownes-trained Starting Over which came third on Wednesday and might find Shatin and a firmer track more to its liking. One doubts we saw the real Starting Over on Wednesday.

R5 SMART FORWARD/ACCESS YEARS

The last time these two met, Tommy Berry on Smart Forward rode a brilliant competitive race to keep Access Years pocketed.

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How this is played out today should be fascinating viewing with this looking like a two-horse race. For the tierce, Tonyboy, Multi-Express and Medic Swordsman.

R6 ARCHIPUSS/GREEN MANNER/EXECUTIVE MANDATE/KHAYA

Archipuss seems to be heading higher and looks the one to beat, but keep Khaya and, especially, Executive Mandate in mind which runs for the old firm of Hall and Prebble.

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If looking for a real longshot, bung in the Ranjan Mahtani-owned Jaeger Bomb, who, from what I hear, is quite an expert on the powers of this lethal shooter.

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R7 LUCKY NINE/CHARLES THE GREAT/FREDERICK ENGELS/STERLING CITY

Take Lucky Nine out of this field where it will be the sentimental favorite and what you have is a very even field.

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Surprising is Tony Cruz having three runners in the race and Matthew Chadwick on none of them.

He rides the very interesting Cerise Cherry for Derek Cruz.

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R8 ABLE FRIEND

Just wins with Designs On Rome not knocked about.

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R9 REWARDING HERO/KABAYAN

Another winner for John Moore and possibly even a Moore quinella.

R10 BIG FOUR/SMART BALL/GREAT CHARM/GREAT SKY

A typically competitive last race which will see some VERY heavy bets placed and where turnover will zoom and the totalizator explode.

BEST BET- RACE 9- REWARDING HERO (5)

NEXT BEST- RACE 4- ON THE WAY (7)

LONGSHOT- RACE 6- EXECUTIVE MANDATE

SARIKA’S SIX UP

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R5: 1-4
R6: 6-9-10-12
R7: 1
R8: 2
R9: 3-5-11
R10: 6-9-12

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SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)

big apple 4

BEST BET

Race 9, No. 5 Rewarding Hero
Won last start with something in hand and he appears destined for greater things.

SECOND BEST

Race 7, No. 1 Lucky Nine
Freshened since disappointing on international day. Barrier manners a concern but he looks to have too much class for this lot.

LONGSHOT

Race 10, No. 2 Great Charm
Was left flat-footed behind Mr Gnocchi but his win two starts back was outstanding. Worth another chance

LAY

Race 5, No. 4 Smart Forward
Only just got home after Access Years was badly held up and meets him five pounds worse.

QUADDIE

1,2,3,5 / 2,3,9 / 3,5,11 / 1,2,6. $50 for 46.29%.

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TODAY’S SELECTIONS FOR SHA TIN (FROM THE THIRD DIVIDEND)

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Sun, 16/2/14
Day Races @HKJC_Racing
Turf (“A” Course)
Weather: It will be cloudy with a few rain patches. Temperatures will linger around 13 degrees at first, and rise gradually to a maximum of about 16 degrees. Mist patches at night. Moderate to fresh easterly winds, occasionally strong at first.
Source: http://www.hko.gov.hk/contente.htm

Race 1: DIM SUM HCP CL5
1 – Man And Ming (11)
2 – Record Again (5)
3 – Bernard’s Choise (1)
4 – Casa Junior (10)

Race 2: BILLET EXPRESS HCP CL4
1 – Mellifluent (3)
2 – Sparklign Sword (14)
3 – Bright Star (2)
4 – Fay Deep (13)

Race 3: ABSOLUTE CHAMPION HCP CL4
1 – Mr Gourmet (1)
2 – Graceful Kingdom (7)
3 – Great Pegasus (4)
4 – Sunny Pearl (9)

Race 4: SACRED KINGDOM HCP CL4
1 – Happy Centenary (4)
2 – Towering Storm (2)
3 – Winnam (8)
4 – On The Way (7)

Race 5: CHARMING CITY HCP CL3
1 – Smart Forward (4)
2 – Access Years (1)
3 – Multiexpress (10)
4 – Monte Castello (7)

Race 6: SILENT WITNESS HCP CL3
1 – Archippus (10)
2 – Khaya (12)
3 – Why Not (8)
4 – Genki Twins (2)

Race 7 (Q1): THE CHAIRMAN’S SPRINT PRIZE – HONG KONG GROUP ONE
1 – Sterling City (2)
2 – Lucky Nine (1)
3 – Charles The Great (3)
4 – Frederick Engels (4)

Race 8 (Q2): THE HONG KONG CLASSIC CUP – HONG KONG GROUP ONE
1 – Able Friend (2)
2 – Designs On Rome (3)
3 – Flagship Shine (1)
4 – Dr Good Habit (9)

Race 9 (Q3): FAIRY KING PRAWN HCP CL2
1 – Rewarding Hero (5)
2 – Kabayan (11)
3 – Beauty Flame (4)
4 – Sea Dragon (3)

Race 10 (Q4): GRAND DELIGHT HCP CL3
1 – Berlini (14)
2 – Sichuan Exec (5)
3 – Great Charm (2)
4 – Big Four (6)

Best Bet
Race 8: Able Friend (2)

Next Best
Race 5: Smart Forward (4)

Value Bet
Race 10: Berlini (14) – Currently, $11.00/N/A

Long Shot
Race 1: Casa Junior (10) – Currently, $31.00/$7.90

Quaddie ($100 gets you 69%)
1.2.3.4
1.2.3
3.4.5.11
2.5.14

Six Up
1.4
10.12
1.2.3
2
5.11
14

Posted in brett prebble, dennis yip, DOUGLAS WHYTE, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, JOAO MOREIRA, JOHN MOORE, The horse racing industry, Tony Cruz, www.fasttrack.hk, zac purton | 1 Comment

MURRIHY LOSES THE PLOT, MOODY GETS THE BLUES AND V’LUNDIES PREPARES TO GO TO COURT.

EARTH TO RAY MURRIHY.

MURRIHY 1

It’s getting increasingly difficult to maintain the little residual respect with which the larger part of the Australian racing media is held when you get the likes of Christian Nicolussi (Christian who?), from the Daily Telegraph putting his name to such drivel as he did in his At the Track column in last Sunday’s issue.

MURRIHY 2

“Christian Who” was having a go at our friends in bleak city for their decision to bring forward the times of their Group One race day at Caulfield last Saturday to an 11am start with the last at 3.20pm – a decision made by the Race Club and the governing body Racing Victoria in the interests of jockey and equine welfare on a day where the forecasted maximum temperature was predicted to hit 40C by 4pm, ahead of the last three races which included the Group One Orr Stakes.

From what we have learned the temperature reached that maximum and exceeded it in different suburbs during the afternoon and early part of the evening.

MURRIHY 3

“Christian Who’s” shock jock type piece was reminiscent of Alan Jones, Ray Hadley etc and is not taken seriously by anyone in the racing industry with half a brain.

MURRIHY 4

The alarm bells started ringing loud and clear when Sydney’s Chief upholder of the rules of racing – Chief Steward Ray “Colonel Klink” Murrihy- was bought into a subject which he should have stayed out of for the sake of sanity.

But, as our great mate Kieron Fallon would know, klunky Klinky just can’t help himself.

MURRIHY 5

Quoted by “Christian Who”, Brother Ray commented how “It’s a gross overreaction”. And then, “If we choose not to race in hot weather, we choose not to race for three or four months of the year. It’a simply not on. I’ve been in this business for 40 years and for 30 years no one even bothered to check the temperature. Now people go into hysterics when it gets to 30C. The number of horses we see affected …most of them are in September when you get a warm day out of the blue. I’m not against the idea of altering race times as a one-off situation to avoid the heat in the day, but horses have been used in desert campaigns during the war. They handle heat”.

The WAR??? DESERT campaigns??? Klink, Klink, lay off the Kool Aid! PUHLEEEEEEZE!

MURRIHY 5a

Phew, where do you start! First, Ray, let’s get one thing out of the way.

By your own word, you’ve been in the industry for 40 years and, mate, it’s time for Racing NSW to organize a gold watch for you and send you off into the sunset singing Happy Trails- or, depending on what drugs you might be self-medicating yourself with, In A Gadda Da Vida.

MURRIHY 6

A question to you, Ray, and Onward Christian Soldier: Have you dudes heard of Occupational Health and Safety and Workplace regulations?

It might be useful if you two familiarized yourselves with a measurement that they use down there in bleak city which, we are told, if exceeded certain temperature and humidity levels, would pose an unacceptable danger to the health and welfare of both jockey and horse.

MURRIHY 7

Both of you dudes should also familiarize yourselves with the very clear apportioning of responsibility and culpability, should an injury or, heaven forbid, a fatality were to occur if races were staged when clearly extreme weather posed an unacceptable risk.

Further, in the 21st century (Ray it is 2014, mate), the jockeys have every right to refuse to ride in such extreme conditions. And puhleeze don’t tell us, Ray, that these avaricious young and middle aged men and women would pass up an opportunity to earn their winning percentages and from wagers that almost certainly would be laid on their behalf.

MURRIHY 8

Remember the day last year, Ray, when a provincial race meeting- from memory at Gosford- was scheduled for a late start in summer and the poor old trainers, strappers, jockeys and horses trundled their way to the races only to find the temperature was in excess of 41C and jockeys pleaded on their bended knees for the meeting to be called off, which it was?

MURRIHY 9

Remember the backlash from the these people and from owners who demanded to know why the meeting was not called off earlier in the morning when it should have been called off? And did anyone give a stuff about the costs incurred by owners and everyone else? Costs which could have been avoided if an early call had been made to call off the meeting?

Ray? Ray? Earth to Ray?

MURRIHY 10

In Australian racing, these issues, problems, utterances, brain fades – call them what you like- are a recurring theme. Correction NIGHTMARE. It is racing’s Mission Impossible.

MURRIHY 11

Australian racing is just so immovably bogged down in a bygone era from which it finds itself incapable of extricating itself. And the people in charge – the executives, senior and middle management, Boards and Committees and decision makers- are all cut from the same cloth with that thinking having insidiously infiltrated the fawning and deadly dull racing media.

MURRIHY 12

For anyone, and particularly someone in Ray Murrihy’s position to make these types of comments is plainly lamentable.

For Christian Nicolussi to make comparisons with the temperature at Caulfield (33.8C) with Cowra (36.5C) and Tumbarumba (yes Tumbarumba near the Snowy Mountains, where it was 35.6C) beggars belief.

It is not the type of journalism that you would expect from journos covering the NRL, AFL or Cricket.

MURRIHY 13

Amazingly, racing keeps surviving despite itself, albeit it is no longer taken seriously by the broader community. It has succeeding in marginalizing itself. Probably terminally.

Equally amazingly, Australian racing is acknowledged- overwhelmingly- by all its stakeholders as being poorly administered and woefully managed.

MURRIHY 14

It manages to shine each year during the narrowest of windows at carnival time – read Melbourne spring racing carnival.

It is soooo very, very out of touch with contemporary life, society and its expectations it is downright embarrassing.

MURRIHY 15

AWWWWW, PETER’S GOT THE MOODY BLUES…

MURRIHY 16

Still feeling sorry for yourself, Moods?

Mate, whenever we read or hear comments from you about anything and everything in racing these days, you just come across as one very unhappy chappy.

MURRIHY 17

Now, we can fully understand how deeply affronted you were when your former bestie trainer mate from Flemington unleashed a war of attrition on you.

It was character assassination at its best, and, hate to say it, mate, but even in Sydney, it’s been a talking point, particularly among trainers close to your former Flemington bestie. You know who they are, mate.

Bit of advice mate, and don’t take it as gratuitous: The more you publicly raise the question of your so-called lean patch in training winners, the more you give credence to the “chinese whispers” that were and probably still being spread by your former Flemington bestie and his irrelevant sycophantic mates .

MURRIHY 18

To use a cricket analogy, let your bat and ball do the talking. Or even just your balls.

Stop whingeing and whining about the dress code and making those pathetic, tall poppy syndrome-type swipes comparing the collar, tie and jacket brigade in the Committee rooms and your attire at Caulfield last Saturday when apparently you had a run-in with the Fashion Police manning the gates.

Mate, you’re better than that, aren’t you? Are you freaking out?

MURRIHY 19

The message you are sending to the racing community is that of a “ranter”- and some of your rants are just that – illogical and irrational.

It’s scary shit, dude and the antithesis of Relaxed Racing. Chill, dude.

MURRIHY 20

Haven’t you got better things to concentrate on- like getting your deadly and lethal winning strike rate up to where it was and where it belongs?

MURRIHY 21

SURPRISED THERE ARE NO SURPRISES IN THE SHEIKH MO FINDINGS?

MURRIHY 22

So the independent inquiry instigated by Sheikh Mo himself into the Godolphin doping scandal surrounding the administration of the prohibited anabolic steroids into some of their horses, has exonerated, er, well, Sheikh Mohammed. Quelle supris.

MURRIHY 23

Lord Stevens, the former head of London’s metropolitan police concluded that: “We have established that no evidence whatsoever exists to suggest that HH Sheikh Mohammed had any knowledge of the purchase, transportation or use of any unregulated medicines. Equally neither did he have any knowledge of the illegal activities of Mohammed Al Zarooni”.

MURRIHY 24

We have no doubt that Lord Stevens’ findings are correct and the integrity of Sheikh Mo is not and has never, ever been questioned or at issue.

But with the greatest respect to the Good Lord, the real crux of the issue is the conclusion in his report that the seizures (of drugs from both Al Zarooni’s Godolphin stables at Newmarket and from a private jet), resulted from “management failings, insufficient oversight, and complacency within the organization”.

That established, the obvious question is what Sheikh Mo is going to do about this particular damning finding.

The inescapable conclusion is that the management and administration of Sheikh Mo’s Godolphin empire in the UK was incompetent.

The findings just cannot be taken lightly and swept aside.

MURRIHY 25

The Godolphin scandal strikes at the very core of racing – it’s Integrity. And integrity in racing cannot, and must never, ever be compromised.

MURRIHY 26

As a passionate racing man, Sheikh Mo must understand this.

He owes it to racing the world over to uphold integrity and clean up his management team.

Otherwise, the Lord Stevens independent inquiry will be perceived as nothing more than a cover-up. And in racing , as in life in general, perception is reality.

MURRIHY 27

OFF TO COURT AGAIN, PETE?

MURRIHY 28

It must be one of the more enduring love affairs of our time – that between the NSW legal system and Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter “the not so great” V’lundies, the fearless and fearsome protector of the interests of the “50,000 Participants” in the NSW racing industry and, more recently, champion of the punters. What a man!

MURRIHY 29

Fearless Pete is the man you want on your side if ever you go into battle in NSW – flushed with the financial resources of racing NSW, which, incidentally, come directly from the pockets of the punters who, bless their cotton pickin’ hearts, lose millions if not billions each year on the punt, giving the jolly green giant Tabcorp and their shareholders handsome dividends, some of which finishes up in the bank accounts of Racing NSW.

Fearless Pete is the lawyer’s best friend.

Lord only knows how many millions he has spent on legal fees fighting anyone and everyone from the dastardly corporate bookmakers over product fees to TVN and the then- AJC and STC over vision rights plus a member of his own executive team who successfully prosecuted an unfair dismissal case against the fearless one- to name just a few.

MURRIHY 30

Fast track to this week and the news today that the NSW Racing Appeals tribunal has upheld Gai Waterhouse’s appeals against Racing NSW in the case they brought against her in respect of notifying them of the condition of More Joyous in the lead up to the All Aged Stakes and Queen Of The Turf Stakes in 2013.

MURRIHY 31

Quoting from the Racing NSW website: “The Racing Appeals Tribunal upheld the appeals on the basis that Racing NSW had not established on the Briginshaw standard (legal precedent) that Ms Waterhouse was required to report the respective conditions, namely soreness to the neck and lameness of More Joyous to the Stewards”.

Racing NSW is, apparently, having nothing of that and certainly not their fearless leader Peter V’lundies.

MURRIHY 32

“Racing NSW is naturally disappointed in the decisions of the Racing Appeals Tribunal which provide no protection for the punters,” he thundered in that basso voice that had our mate Baba Shane recently quivering like Peter Pan bonking Tinkerbell.

MURRIHY 33

“The confidence of the public and, particularly, punters is critical to the integrity of the industry!”

Great words from the great pretender-sorry, great protector- of NSW punters though that old Platters’ hit keeps running our heads.

MURRIHY 34

The wash up- and hear it comes: “Racing NSW intends to appeal the decisions to the SUPREME COURT (capitals inserted by us) on the basis that they are against the weight of evidence and that the Racing Appeals Tribunal has incorrectly applied the relevant test”.

Yeah, baby, here we go again: Another all too familiar walk up the steps of the Supreme Court by Racing NSW, and at the expense of the NSW racing industry to fight the umpire’s decision – all in the name of the Punter.

It almost has a Rocky Moment attached to it and we can hear Rocky’s Theme following Peter V’Lundies everywhere he goes with his knickers in a twist.

MURRIHY 35

What a noble cause celebre by the Fearless Peter V’lundies. We can speculate very, very accurately what Lady GaiGai response would be.

MURRIHY 36

We can only say to you, Pete, heaven help you battling Lady GaiGai.

You are either very brave or fucking stupid- or both.

MURRIHY 37

Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, PETER MOODY, Peter V'landys | 1 Comment

HAS A RACING CLUB AND BEN SEMMENS STUMBLED ON A NEW MUSIC BUSINESS MODEL?

It’s not a racing industry story, but at a time when many racing clubs are trying somewhat desperately to “connect” with the new or next generation- and often missing this objective by the proverbial mile- how the Hong Kong Jockey Club has played a role in giving an unknown singer from a small city in Wales- and we’re not talking about Atomic Jones, below- is an interesting one plus shows the eerie similarities between the music and racing industries.

intro 1

The problem with both industries- and throw in the dying advertising industry- is an internal one.

It has much to do with those without knowing marketing and advertising TODAY and what was produced decades earlier when advertising was relevant and with an extremely sophomoric idea of “social media” being in charge of finding ways to “connect” with a consumer group cynical of all things corporate- and which is, always, contrived and, well, corny.

Burger King’s one-time war cry of “Where’s the beef?” is, today, Where’s The Credibility?

intro 2

Today, it’s all about consumer-generated content which comes from engagement, and making the very market one is stumbling and bumbling over each other to convince, feel they are part of whatever the end product might be.

intro 3

From here, THEY become the most potent street marketing team one can have- for free- as only THEY have the power to make something go viral.

intro 4

Going viral or being effective is not about those relics from the Eighties called “television campaigns” and “television advertising” or the usual cliches in an ad agency’s archaic bag of tricks.

intro 5

These might wow corporate committees in racing clubs, many of whom are still living in the land of the Bee Gees and thinking John Travolta and Tom Cruise are straight, but have the effect of an ant crawling up an elephant’s leg in hopes of sex with today’s consumer.

intro 6

These are consumers weaned on YouTube and when Facebook when both were truly relevant and are now ripping off TV series and new movies from Pirate Bay, ripping off music from all the illegal file-sharing sites and laughing their asses off at those trying to “connect” and “engage” them in corporate bollocks that have suffered from that dreaded disease called Over-Thinking, Einstein.

intro 7

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BUSINESS MODEL 1

If, especially, a new musician with no proven track record and over-joyed that you’re going to be releasing your first record- or maybe your tenth, for that matter- read the link below, so you can keep your expectations in check.

BUSINESS MODEL 2

If willing to keep making music for the love of it with no expectations of financial returns and, often, never having your music heard and receiving bibs and bobs in royalty cheques, what’s written below- and it’s really nothing new- will mean nothing to you.

7 royalty cheques that’ll make you lose your faith in the music industry – AUX TV

What you have here is the age old question of how to make money through one’s music and which none of these music conferences tackle head-on as these are for the corporate world and where new artists are not part of the equation of what is a tedious dog and pony show.

BUSINESS MODEL 3

It was at one of these con-ferences where Daniel Ek, below, Founder of Spotify, was a guest speaker, that I asked the supposed wunderkind how artists benefit from his delivery system and platform- plus how do they get paid.

BUSINESS MODEL 4

Ek nearly became Eeeek. He was stymied. He looked like he wanted to hurl as it sure looked like paying musicians for their art had never crossed his mind as this was that truly stupid era when new musicians were constantly told by dopey music pundits that giving away their music was good promotion. Bollocks.

BUSINESS MODEL 5

Start giving away anything for free and you’re stuck with always giving away the same thing for free and with no end in sight other than devaluing your product.

Even a band with the following of Radiohead who asked fans to pay whatever they wanted for In Rainbows in 2007 might have made a very brave move to make a point about being the master of one’s destiny or not relying on a record label to do whatever they wanted with your product, but when remembering today in 2014 that fans and non-fans downloaded the record even on bit-torrent and paid what they thought it was worth- zero, in many cases, I am unsure what we have learnt.

BUSINESS MODEL 6

Okay, without plodding through the past, the genie has been set free from Pandora’s Box, we’re still rocking in the free world, making music available for free on twitter, YouTube etc- but, seriously, what for?

BUSINESS MODEL 7

For some free downloads, a few “likes”, some retweets and two thumbs up that will give you the “impetus” to keep doing the same thing ‘cos “the fans want it”?

What “fans”- or, to be more precise, how many more NEW fans has one gained?

BUSINESS MODEL 8

Great, but “the fans” don’t pay the rent. And then what?

Go to Kickstarter or Pledge and have fans pay for the recording of another new record?

And what happens when, like the other records, it, too, doesn’t sell- except to the fans who invested in it?

Haven’t in some way, these fans been duped, short-changed and let down?

Where is their ROI- Return On Investment?

BUSINESS MODEL 9

Ben Semmens is hardly a household name, but here is a singer-songwriter from a small town in Wales who had never left his home town where he was gigging in local pubs.

Today, he is playing to twenty thousand people every Wednesday in the Beer Garden at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong- and being paid for it.

BUSINESS MODEL 10

In fact, this racing club paid for his airfare and accommodation as part of a six month contract to perform at two venues at their weekly mid-day race meeting- the fourth time it has brought the musician out to Hong Kong.

Apart from the venues and a ready-made audience- there for the racing, sure, but who hit the stage area to watch Ben and his band perform- and the band is paid- during those 25 minutes between the races when nothing happens other than horses being paraded around the paddock area.

BUSINESS MODEL 11

What else? Being paid to record his music, having the accompanying music videos paid for- all by the racing club-and the music released through Universal Music.

So, what if these downloads- even if his first release topped the Hong Kong iTunes chart last month- make no money?

It adds to the artist’s portfolio while being paid for his art in other ways. Remember those two words: Other ways.

After all, if one way of doing things is taking you nowhere and where one is just recording music and hoping for the best when the best never happens, it’s time to try something new- or find a new career ‘cos maybe- just maybe- you’re crap at what you’re doing, but friends and family are too polite to say so?

Singer.

As for Ben Semmens, one can say that all this is pure luck. But life is eighty percent luck and twenty percent hard work and for that eighty percent luck to continue, there must be a hundred percent hard work and not taking anything for granted.

As we say, you’re only as good as your last hit and no one wants to hear about yesterday while living in the past.

Luck happens for a reason- but like any winning streak, it doesn’t last forever and what one does with these rare inside runs is the difference between success and failure and about seizing the moment.

BUSINESS MODEL 13

Managing Ben and working closely with the HKJC, of course, makes me biased, but, having worked with two music companies, all I can say is that a racing club has done more for an unknown musician and given his career a kickstart and platform for success and that next move more than any person or company or music conference supposedly “saving the music”.

The next step is up to Ben Semmens.

Unusual breaks like these don’t happen every day.

He knows, it’s all about, What’s Next? as What’s Now is good only for right now.

BUSINESS MODEL 14

Music has always meant about evolving- from the acoustic Dylan to Dylan going electric at the Isle Of Wight, from mop tops to Sgt Pepper from Both Sides Now to Hejira, from Nat King Cole to the brilliant Sly And The Family Stone, from Hendrix to Miles Davis to Prince to Nirvana and Pearl Jam…

BUSINESS MODEL 15

BUSINESS MODEL 16

BUSINESS MODEL 17

BUSINESS MODEL 18

BUSINESS MODEL 19

BUSINESS MODEL 20

With all these changes that have taken music so far, it’s sad when so many musicians have become lemmings.

BUSINESS MODEL 21

It’s sad to see so many believing all they read, following a monkey-see, monkey-do way of looking after their business and, by so doing, turning this business into wishful thinking, living on  a prayer while waiting for the kindness of strangers to deliver them from the hole they’ve dug for themselves, and turning the business of music in all its many forms into something even more boring than watching paint dry.

BUSINESS MODEL 22

Posted in HAPPY WEDNESDAY, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, Music Industry | Leave a comment

THE DING DONGS ON HONG KONG’S WANG DANG DOODLES (EPISODE 8)

seven 1

SMALL DING AND DONG

DING DONGS 1

And it’s- ding dong- a victory for John Moore with Joao Moreira being confirmed for Military Attack and with owner Steven Lo, said to have been insisting been that Zac Purton keep the ride, siding with the trainer’s decision. Guess the association between Moore and The Zac Attack has gone kaput.

DING DONGS 2

Just a thought but as we have had races named after Hong Kong beaches and streets, electrical appliances, brands of watches etc, what about a meeting named after all the great jockeys- now retired- who have successfully ridden here- Felix Coetzee, below, Darren Beadman, Basil Marcus, Brent Thomson, Michael Kinane etc etc- and fly them out?

DING DONGS 3

Surely, great for racing fans- and with huge sponsorship appeal? Huge!

DING DONGS 4

Okay, now, let’s get this straight as the winds of change, rumors and just plain goss prevalent of this industry keep blowing in and from all directions: Joao Moreira is NOT riding on Melbourne’s Oakleigh Plate Day. Ok? Douglas Whyte is. Ok? But he’s NOT riding the Robert Smerdon-trained Shamal Wind. Shame. But, Ok? Why? ‘cos Ryan Maloney who won on it at its last start is. Ok? What horses are Dougie Whyte riding? No idea.

COPYRIGHT KEIBABOOK JAPAN

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STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S DING DONGS.

THE FAST TRACK GUIDE TO SHATIN 1

There were two unusual occurrences at Happy Valley last Wednesday- and we don’t mean the dumbass yobbo wearing a horse head darting across the track after the last race- whereas we’re still wondering if the Saturday Keystone Cops meeting at Shatin really happened and if, because of some divine intervention, we decided not to serve up our full menu of ding dongs that day.

DING DONGS 6

Last Wednesday, what was spookily weird was Joao Moreira not riding a winner, and the second was the crowd at the Beer Garden demanding an encore from Ben Semmens and his band almost oblivious to the last race.

DING DONGS 7

The encore never happened as it would have spooked the horses which would have- ding dong- spooked the trainers and owners and which would have meant breaking one of those archaic ding dong sound ordinances, so, instead, it meant listening to the usual big audio dynamite that explodes from all directions before the dulcet tones of Brett “Lucky” Davis called the race- an action-packed race which resulted in Magic Moreira and Ollie Delouze, below, receiving three day suspensions for careless riding.

DING DONGS 8

For Moreira, salt was rubbed into the wound with a $60,000 fine and to the racing pundit who told us that this is “nothing” for the jockey, don’t be a total ignoramus. Money is money.

DING DONGS 9

With no inroads made that Wednesday by Joao Moreira on Zac Purton’s lead in the Jockey Premiership and the Zac Attack back in action on Saturday after HIS two-day suspension, the odds swung back in the favor of the popular Aussie- but only just.

DING DONGS 10

On Saturday at Shatin, The Magic Man struck back- hard- with a four-timer whereas The Zac Attack came up empty-handed.

As seen below, Zac’s sluggish return must have been due to the effects of stuffing his face with Ding Dongs while trying to get a tan in Boracy. The tan didn’t work.

DING DONGS 11

The main talk, however, was about the track condition which, when looked at head-on, made many of the races look like a battle charge from Braveheart with every inch of grass used by horse and rider.

And when the on-track commentators said they were looking forward to the dirt races so there could be some semblance of form taking place, well, what can we say? Chaaaaaarge?

DING DONGS 12

As the track had been watered to give it some cushion- just perhaps, punters could have been notified about this BEFORE the races?- well, the steady light drizzle and curtain of mist made it more like a well-used duvet from too much ding donging.

DING DONGS 13

Some Hong Kong old timers compared Saturday to a race day decades ago when David Brosnan rode a five-timer at Shatin and also mentioned how the track would have been perfect for a noted mudlark from those days of yore named The Joker.

Though never having seen The Joker or Brozzy when he was a rider and before he took the fall for so many ingrates during an ICAC swoop on many in horse racing in Hong Kong who are still swanning around town- and we know who some of these spineless twats are- there was a surreal sense of a time warp to Saturday’s racing.

It was a weird mixture of Charlie Chaplin slapstick, The Charge Of The Light Brigade and Jimi Hendrix singing Crosstown Traffic.

DING DONGS 14

It didn’t hurt turnover with over $1.34 billion wagered and some hefty bets placed on the last race, BUT, the wins- and rides by Tye Angland and Brett Prebble on Lucky Bonus and Geronimo Meadow, respectively- were what had many gobsmacked. We were just bewildered with a ride by Mirco Demuro.

DING DONGS 15

DING DONGS 16

There was also the yawning five-length win of Flame Hero in the last race which Moreira brought to the outside of the track- after almost being knocked sideways- where the going was like living life in the fast lane.

DING DONGS 17

Now, here’s where we have a problem: With safety being such a priority and Moreira having had to pay the piper so many times for careless riding, didn’t this track with riders criss-crossing each other to get to the supposed good going represent far more dangerous safety hazards?

And IF there were any Mr Bean-type breakdowns in fine motor school skills resulting in crash, bang, wallop, would it have been fair to point the finger ONLY at the riders?

DING DONGS 18

Good gawd, how we miss the late, great Ivan Allan who would have taken no prisoners- no matter who was minding the jail- and pointed his finger directly at where he believed the buck stopped.

DING DONGS 19

—————————————

A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE ORDER OF THE SUN FORCE.

DING DONGS 20

Boyohboy, after all the happiness of their Order Of The Sun leading all the way and winning at 9 to 1 on Saturday, there were some very long faces at Gosford on Sunday when red hot favorite Sun Force was eclipsed and darkness fell over the racecourse.

DING DONGS 21

Both horses are owned by connections of Sun Racing International, the controversial Macau-based casino operator that has entered the racing industry in Australia in equally controversial manner by purchasing Eliza Farm and a number of horses with a business model reminiscent of how “businessman” Carson Yeung, below, bought himself into football in the UK.

DING DONGS 22

Old Carson, who is facing FIVE big money laundering charges in Hong Kong, recently “resigned” as Chairman of Portsmouth FC.

Resigned? Oh, come on. And why is the Oz racing media so coy when writing in LARGE print about one Chinese-run horse racing organization, money laundering using racing as a channel, the Yun Yee Yong triad society, and how it’s part and parcel of the purchasing of a certain racing farm, but not naming those names known to all?

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THE BRETT “LUCKY” DAVIS CORNER.

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We have always said there is method in his madness and madness in his methodology and so, when asked how and why he decided to start Saturday’s plait de jour of steering Lucky Bonus to life on the fast lane- and making up eight lengths and winning the race- Tye Angland, below, was more than happy to give all credit to “Lucky” Davis.

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Apparently, on the Racing To Win reality series the night before race day, “Lucky” wondered out aloud why more jockeys didn’t use the outside area of the track which always favors those in a 1000m sprint in Shatin. Or something like that as we missed this exciting installment of the horse opera.

Listening to these thoughts must have given Amigo Darren The Dragon, below, another nervous tic and had him nervously tapping on that Ikea table while Amigo Clint must have winced and checked his ticker.

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So, despite there being no 1000m races on Saturday, it didn’t stop almost every jockey having a go at copying Angland’s winning strategy- and heading for the standside.

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Some succeeded and others- including Angland on the appropriately named Silly Buddies and the shortest priced favorite for the day- failed dismally. Ding dong.

Silly Buddies ran more like those silly buddies in The Hangover- and Saturday will go into the peanut recesses of our minds like one of the days from the night before where everything is just one big blur like Song 2 Wooohooo!

DING DONGS 26

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BUT WHAT IS A TOTALIZATOR AND WHO WANTS RACING TO BE, ER, RELAXED?

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One can give newcomers to racing tipping sheets, racing apps, facts and figures, but none of these connect with this market that still bet on horses they like ‘cos of colors and lucky numbers with the ONLY racing-based bit of information they care to know- kinda- being the names of the leading jockeys who they follow in the Jockeys Challenge and in every race they have a ride.

For example, we know two groups of ladies who work as executives for two different television news channels and are regulars at the Beer Garden.

They compete against each other EVERY Wednesday by spending $5,000 on the Jockeys Challenge and then another few thousands backing their favorites- Joao Moreira and Zac Purton, respectively- in every race they have a ride.

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Can they read the totalizator? They can’t be bothered- and are equally bored and uninterested in reading people’s tips.

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If one were to OFFER them a tip, perhaps- though, if it doesn’t win, they can make you feel like a right tool.

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When asked if they look at the totalizator board, apart from asking what it was, their answer was simple: “Baby, we come racing to forget work and have a good time. All those numbers is too much hard work.”

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From the mouths of babes, indeed- though one of our favorite babes- Sarika Choy, below, was seen trying to make her Finding Happy Wednesday co-host Justin Lim understand how to read the totalizator.

What many in racing clubs simply don’t get or refuse to understand is that this customer group will never ever be full-time, one-dimensional racing tragics.

It’s not for them as they have choices- many other choices to keep themselves entertained and experience the thrill of winning without the chore of doing homework.

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In Hong Kong, for example, where this is a far more affluent group than any other part of the world, even owning a horse- or horses- is a hobby as is opening a club or restaurant or buying the latest Ferrari.

It’s all about aspiration and a status symbol and being able to flaunt it, baby, simply because they can.

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Most in this customer group are either high-powered executives in the finance sector- especially, overseas educated females- or are running their family business.

They are a customer group that also stays clear of what their parents and uncles were weaned on and view anything from the old school corporate world suspiciously.

We have seen this, first hand, in the music industry.

Where before a music company could have been guaranteed sales of a CD by placing a few ads in some music magazines and the token television commercial, today, it’s all about streaming, downloads, and file sharing- legal and illegal- amongst music fans.

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Television? Who watches television when there’s Pirate Bay to rip off whatever you wanna watch when YOU want it- onto computers, iPhones and iPads?

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Do these people visit the websites of music companies? No.

What’s there for them other than to navigate their way through corporate clutter written for the corporate world?

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Do they read reviews of records- or, for that matter, movies or clubs or restaurants?

No- as they wish to make up their own minds and not read the ramblings of some overnight foodie blogger looking for free meals.

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Same with listening to tipsters and tips and anything tweeted or Facebooked from racing’s corporate world.

Simply put, it’s uncool- which means it’s as fake as a “Rolex” bought in Mongkok.

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So, when we read about marketing initiatives in Melbourne like “Relaxed Racing”, we winced as it reeked of something incredibly boring created by another generation trying desperately to connect with the new and younger generation- and thinking they’re succeeding- but sounding like Daddy trying to prove he’s in touch with today by saying how much he likes Beyonce and that he’s now on Facebook.

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Relaxed Racing should have gone with Frankie To Hollywood’s recording of Relax and, at least, brought in some camp value instead of making racing sound as exciting as a Teddy Bears Picnic.

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Oh, well, horses for courses and Relaxed Racing might go like the clappers in the land Down Under- but in Hong Kong, where no one needs to be told how to dress, it would be a right royal turn-off.

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Today, wherever in the world one might be, it’s all about consumer-generated content, knowing what’s going viral exactly WHEN it’s going viral, gaming, and, when it comes to racing, it’s about keeping things simple- and keeping things real- very real.

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It’s nothing intellectual or something which can be taught or researched as making this connection is not an exact science as it has to do with 90% gut instinct and 10% common sense.

Some have it- the instinct and the sense- and others only end up with the gut and a sense of being, well, common.

God can be so unfair.

DING DONGS 42

———————————————–

THE FAST TRACKER GOES OUT WIDE LOOKING FOR BETTER GOING.

With six hot pot favorites having bit the dust in the past two race meetings plus looking at how so many jockeys followed Tye Angland’s lead on Saturday at Shatin and made a beeline to the outside of the track as if riding in a 1000m scamper, well, looking for winners tonight doesn’t fill me with much confidence.

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Why?

Apart from form, trackwork, odds, barriers and jockey engagements, with a sudden change in weather- it’s BITTERLY cold in Hong Kong right now with a strong chill factor in the air- there is always the possibility of a track bias which affects riding instructions and brain freeze moments during the running of a race as there’s so much to think about.

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Racing to me on any Happy Wednesday is about enjoying myself with friends without any hassles, meeting like-minded people, and having a bet where, if I win, I win.
If not, it’s not the end of the world as there’s the night ahead and the chance for a different kind of winning.

DING DONGS 45

R1 SPICY SHRIMP/MEGA

R2 PEACEFUL MISSION

Dougie Whyte doesn’t waste to ride at this weight for nothing.

R3 YO YO DA/LUCKY DAY/PEARL WIN

R4 ABLE MAGIC

This tackles the right distance after quite a while, owners in the Po family have been very loyal to jockey Derek Leung and this might just go off at a good price.

R5 EXPECTATOR/RED PLAIN BANNER/SUPER TEAM/OYSTER

Collagen runs in this race- and for the first time since switching to the yard of Paul O’Sullivan for more fuller lips.

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One of the tougher races on the card and with so many different jockey changes and permutations that it can give one severe brain freeze.

Expectator with Dougie Whyte up is sure to be in the money- but should it? Personally, with a small triple trio jackpot at stake, sure, I’ll take it and Super Team as legs but would rather go wide and look at Red Plain Banner and Oyster.

R6 ST YAZIN/FANTASTICO/BRILLIANT PROPOSAL/

Eddie Lai riding for Gary Ng in a sprint is always a formidable team so have a go on St Yazin which showed zero zip when push came to shove at its last start. Lai on it- and he’s won on the horse- might show the St Yazin we remember.

DING DONGS 47

R7 OVETT/BOTH SURE

R8 CLASSIC JEWELLERY/APPROVE/MAJESTIC ANTHEM

With Moreira up and Classic Jewellery taking a class drop, this is certain to start favorite in a race with a number of chances with Tony Cruz turning to Mirco Demuro for the ride on Majestic Anthem.

DING DONGS 48

Funny how Cruzy gives Aussie jocks the cold shoulder. Must be memories when he was under their thumbs as an apprentice.

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Personally, as he has been doing such a good job with Approve and John Moore sticking with him, I’d love to see apprentice Dickie Lui, below, breakthrough for a win on this very honest galloper- though drawn barrier 11 puts a dent to its chances.

DING DONGS 50

BEST BET: RACE 2 PEACEFUL MISSION

NEXT BEST: RACE 8 MAJESTIC ANTHEM

LONGSHOT: RACE 4 ABLE MAGIC

SARIKA’S SIX UP

DING DONGS 51

R3-2,3,6,10
R4-1,5,11
R5- 9
R6- 6,9,12
R7- 8
R8- 2,10

——————————

TONIGHT’S SELECTIONS FOR HAPPY VALLEY (FROM THE THIRD DIVIDEND)

DING DONGS 52

Happy Valley (HKG)
Wed, 12/2/14
#HValley Night Races @HKJC_Racing
Turf (“B” Course-Worked Back)
Weather: It will be cold. Cloudy with a few rain patches. The minimum temperature in the morning will be around 8 degrees in the urban areas, and a couple of degrees lower in the New Territories. The maximum temperature will be about 12 degrees during the day. Moderate to fresh north to northeasterly winds.
Source: http://www.hko.gov.hk/contente.htm

Race 1: KENNEDY HCP CL5
1 – Spicy Shrimp (11)
2 – Highland Dragon (1)
3 – Mega (12)
4 – Flying Keeper (9)

Race 2: MORRISON HILL HCP CL4
1 – Happy Champion (1)
2 – Speedygonzalez (3)
3 – Peaceful Mission (11)
4 – Demon Demon (4)

Race 3: QUEEN’S ROAD EAST HCP CL4
1 – Pearl Win (3)
2 – Yo Yo Da (6)
3 – Fresh Air (10)
4 – Friends Of Yan Oi (12)

Race 4: STUBBS HCP CL4 (SEC 1)
1 – Mighty Equus (8)
2 – Starting Over (1)
3 – King Tai Sing (7)
4 – Tai Po Fortune (11)

Race 5 (Q1): STUBBS HCP CL4 (SEC 2)
1 – Oyster (6)
2 – Expector (7)
3 – Super Team (9)
4 – Plain Red Banner (2)

Race 6 (Q2): THE VOLUNTEERS CHALLENGE CUP HC0 CL3
1 – Braveness (1)
2 – Fantastico (9)
3 – Brilliant Proposal (12)
4 – St Yazin (6)

Race 7 (Q3): TIN LOK HCP CL3
1 – Ovett (8)
2 – Step Faster (4)
3 – Both Sure (3)
4 – Rainbow Fighter (2)

Race 8 (Q4): WAN CHAI GAP HCP CL3
1 – Approve (1)
2 – Classic Jewellery (2)
3 – Majestic Anthem (10)
4 – Mr Medici (7)

Best Bet
Race 4: Mighty Equus (8)

Next Best
Race 7: Ovett (8)

Value Bet
Race 8: Approve (1) – Currently, $6.10/$2.30

Long Shot
Race 5: Collagen (4) – Currently, $13.00/$4.60

Quaddie ($100 gets you 39%)
2.6.7.9
1.6.9.12
2.3.4.8
1.2.7.10

Six Up
1.9
8
6.7
1.9
8
1.2.10

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SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)

big apple 4

BEST BET
Race 7, No. 3 Both Sure
Freshened since working home nicely on IJC day. Sound claims.

SECOND BEST
Race 6, No. 1 Braveness
Drew away for an impressive win last start. Can make it two in a row.

LONGSHOT
Race 5, No. 12 Good Luck Win
Well rated and has won a barrier trial since changing stables. Don’t dismiss.

LAY
Race 8, No. 2 Classic Jewellery
Runs his best races fresh and this is his third run back.

QUADDIE
6,7,9,12 / 1,2,7,12 / 3,8 / 1,9,10. $50 for 52.08%.

Posted in casper fownes, HAPPY WEDNESDAY, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing | Leave a comment

THE JOAO MOREIRA X FACTOR

JOAO 1

It’s a good place to be in, and what one can’t get away from is that the HKJC has created a “monster”- a very popular “monster” in jockey Joao Moreira aka The Magic Man and known as “The Ghost” in his native Brazil for his tendency to pop out of nowhere and win races.

JOAO 2

The man’s a freak in the best possible way.

One can go all the way back to champion jockeys in Hong Kong like Kenny Kwok, Cheng Tai-Chee, Tony Cruz, Gary Moore, Bart Leisher, Basil Marcus and, in recent times, Douglas Whyte, and NONE have matched the popularity of this likable and talented Brazilian for whom horses just travel- which has earned him the respect of trainers and owners, racing fans overseas and has also brought an interest in the sport because of the Moreira X Factor to those who have stayed on the fringes of horse racing.

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This new group of racing enthusiasts can be seen, especially, on Wednesday nights at Happy Valley, attending the races specifically to watch and back Joao Moreira, to take photos of him, to admire his strong religious beliefs by making the sign of the cross before he’s legged aboard his rides, and then lining up along the railings after one of his wins so they can hi-five him as he returns to the winners circle.

It’s Rock God status.

JOAO 10

Joao Moreira has won us over through his riding skills, yes, but also his people skills- his openness to talk about the chances of his rides, his humility, his respect and admiration for on-track rivals like Douglas Whyte and Zac Purton, and that day at Shatin when we saw him doing making the time to know the kids of a winning owner.

JOAO 11

It was simply, well, nice to see. Racing had a human face to it, after all.

For that split second, it wasn’t all that hardcore gibberish about winning and losing, petty politics, and everything else that bores us shitless about a sport with so much more to give other than the obvious.

JOAO 12

Watching Moreira’s ride on Saturday on Flame Hero- his fourth winner for the day and which won by a yawning five lengths on that surreal Chorus Line-like Lucky Bonus track- really hammered home the fact that there is Joao Moreira- and the rest.

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Does he get the pick of the rides? Yes- because he is the best there is. When every trainer comes out and says so, well, that says it all and is good enough for us.

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As with Dougie Whyte who was constantly criticized for “jumping off” one horse to ride another- one with a better winning chance- Moreira has that thing called choice- and which he makes as he has an incredible will to win- and be on winners.

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Like the champion that is Whyte, it’s nothing personal, it’s business and about building and expanding a career.

Who wants to ride losers when they have a choice of riding winners?

The key thing right now is that Hong Kong racing is good for Joao Moreira and Joao Moreira is great for Hong Kong racing.

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JOAO 24

It’s a partnership- and as a partnership that benefits both sides, common sense must prevail and various pros and cons must be weighed out.

JOAO 25

If not, as they did this week, an influential Chinese racing newspaper like Apple Daily will go on the offensive and overdrive to criticize Stewards’ decisions against Moreira, which can then have a domino effect by reaching the eyes, ears and minds of owners and the huge fan club the jockey has built up here since arriving in October. Where the pieces fall is anyone’s guess.

Businessman Touching Domino Pieces Arranged in a Line

No one’s indispensable and no one is above the law, but the effectiveness of those that bring something new to the party and the enormous popularity of some who has the public populace on their side always needs some form of “mediation” before a tipping point is reached.

JOAO 27

We’re no Stipes and certainly don’t have all the camera angles etc that’s part of their artillery of knowledge, but watching that win of Flame Hero and what Moreira had to do early on in the race to pry himself away from some “wobblesome” rides by a couple of other jockeys, one has to wonder if there could be those times when some might be looking so closely at his rides that they don’t see what this jockey has to do to get out of harms way?

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Yes, the safety factor is of huge importance which Joao Moreira must have taken on board after receiving a spate of suspensions- and fines- during his baptism of fire to Hong Kong racing.

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These bans were very fair and needed and Moreira has, surely, learnt- and, openly admits, that he’s still learning- from these costly mistakes.

But the recent three-day suspension- PLUS a $60,000 fine- and whether this steep a sentence was really warranted is something many- like those with Apple Daily- and astute judges see as a border line case with some even commending his “guilty as charged” ride as “brilliant.”

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Let’s just hope Apple Daily’s feeling that there’s a “Get him” fixation and “witch hunt” doesn’t become a recurring conspiracy theory when there are far greater pot holes that need immediate mending and surgery.

JOAO 31

Joao Moreira is good for the horse racing world where role models are few and far between while we can also see him benefitting other aspects of the HKJC business- even the HKJC Charities- and making some sense of the thinking that led to the daft premise that Hong Kong is “Racing For Charity.”

JOAO 32

We’re not saying that Moreira deserves any preferential treatment or to be treated with kid gloves.

All the days he’s sat it out on the sidelines through suspension for careless riding proves that, if anything, he’s been under more scrutiny than any other jockey- and for good reason as there were a number of “yahoo” over-enthusiastic rides.

But recently, watching some of what Moreira has had to overcome when being crowded for room while having to constantly be aware of his own riding, requires something where a happy medium is reached- and which race-goers uninterested in the subtle nuances of riding and only interested in a jockey they see as “always trying” will accept.

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Posted in DOUGLAS WHYTE, HAPPY WEDNESDAY, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, JOAO MOREIRA, JOHN MOORE | Leave a comment

IS THE HKJC BEING TOO CHARITABLE WITH ITS CHARITIES?

Earlier this week, in his racing column, On The Rails, Alan Aiken of the SCMP wrote a very good and telling piece on the HKJC’s turnover, wagering, taxes, returns, the financial pros and mainly cons of adding an extra race etc.

Without trudging the same terrain covered so well by Aitken and looking at the role of the HKJC AWAY from horse racing, what stopped us in our tracks is how much this role is not known by the public and, rarely, if at all, is showcased anywhere.

The HKJC Charities which exists because of racing and does so much for Hong Kong and the Hong Kong public is SO under-marketed that even experienced journos we know who write about this city and its government, Legco, politics, the plight of the elderly, the digging of roads, the MTR, the flight of the concords etc etc have forgotten about the role of this integral part of the Club.

It would be a real pity to have the Hong Kong government receiving the praise for this work while the HKJC is kept in its box under that taboo word called GAMBLING.

And here lies another problem: Playing the stock market, playing the property market, hell, getting married are all gambles- yet, horse racing- not betting on ANY other sport- remains the gambling pariah around the world.

It’s an albatross that horse racing has had to live with for way too long and with very outside of the industry understanding how it works- and in the case of Hong Kong- how and where and why and when the sport benefits the people of the city.

Why? Extremely poor communications, too much navel gazing and, looking at some of the recent efforts in Australia to make up for last time and connect with the new and younger generation, the ways of achieving these objectives being so bloody daft and old school that they do more harm than good.

These dopey “initiatives” like the ATC’s Let’s Get Racy campaign- what does this MEAN??? Racy??? And people laugh at Chinglish???- travel.

CHARITIES 1

They make horse racing and all connected with the sport- globally- look dopey and worse than those desperate housewives we keep seeing popping up on those dumbed down American reality television series.

CHARITIES 2

One really has to wonder if those working for race clubs get out much or if they’re all navel gazing together and slapping each other on their backs for jobs well done.

CHARITIES 3

We come back to the HKJC which is structured like no other racing club in the world, and, yes, is a monopoly, buy for which it pays the government dearly in taxes. Year after year after year…

Alan Aitken’s piece brought this home very loudly.

But FOR these taxes paid and all the other hoops the Club has to go through and ask, “How high?” when the government says, “Jump” for being allowed to be the only game- for legalized betting- in town, where are the other ROIs- Return On Investment- for the HKJC?

Are there changes taking place to this one-sided partnership?

In today’s give and take world, is only one side giving and giving and giving and the other side doing what it’s always done as this is how it’s always been?

As times change, surely every contract must be renewed so that things are mutually beneficial and which is where negotiation skills come into play?

One would hardly expect the government to sing the praises of its biggest taxpayer and that- good grief, mama- “gambling” gives Hong Kong’s elderly, the hospitals, the arts etc.

If anything, the government would probably prefer to distance itself from the Club and adopt a Don’t Ask, Don’t Say policy and just pray to hell that no one brings the subject up.

Instead, the Government would be more than happy to just keep EVERYTHING the HKJC does for the public in its little box and hidden in the racing pages of the mainstream media and its little racing programs.

Sorry, but it’s belittling and the HKJC must ask itself if it has kept ITSELF in this box without looking outside of it, realizing its strengths, flexing its muscles and effectively communicating with those to whom horse racing remains a mug’s game and an expensive hobby for Hong Kong’s poseurs and elite?

CHARITIES 4

Surely, it’s time to get rid of that meaningless “Racing For Charity” lone and, instead, wear that white hat, bring in some strong allies to the cause, and be seen as the good guy riding into town singing We Are The Champions instead of We Iz Da Chumps?

During this, The Year Of The Horse which happens to be 130th Anniversary of the HKJC, it seems the right time to change the status quo- and we don’t mean the band- and blow one’s own trumpet- especially as there is a damn good story to tell- and someone has to tell it.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA | Leave a comment

RACING IN OZ GOING TO POT AND THE DANGERS OF SMOKING BAD WEED, MAN.

CRICKET SHOWS UP OZ RACING’S MARKETING NERVOUS TICS AND OTHER DEFICIENCIES.

RACING IN OZ 1

Sunday night’s T20 (Twenty Twenty) International between Australia and England at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney proudly and triumphantly announced that the amazingly successful 2013/2014 International Cricket season in Australia had recorded its one millionth click through the turnstiles.

RACING IN OZ 2

It’s staggering that the three formats of cricket – the traditional 5 day Test Cricket matches, plus the Limited Overs games and their newest and the latest sensation in the T20, or twenty overs per side crash and bang matches, could crashed the 1 million attendance barrier.

RACING IN OZ 3

Never in their wildest dreams could Cricket Australia have expected such phenomenal figures.

Wasn’t it just around 18 months ago that sports commentators and those in the cricket world themselves were writing cricket’s eulogy?

Cricket, they said was so steeped in tradition and so immune to change that it was consigning itself to a self-chosen path of extinction.

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Doing what they do best, the finger pointing went everywhere- to the cashed-up sub-continent and the Indian Premier league, the Indian Cricket Board of Control and their so-called meekly submissive members of the International Cricket Conference, who, it was claimed, could not counter the rivers of gold that were being thrown at the abbreviated form of International cricket, which they alleged was the “superbug” which would fast track the wipe out of cricket.

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Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But unlike racing, cricket did more than hold its nerve. It actually responded to the challenge. But it did so not by engaging in a orgy of self-pity, or the self-destructive ploy of playing the blame game of apportioning blame to anyone and everyone rather than accepting responsibility for FINDING A SOLUTION and responding to the challenge.

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Whether it’s sport or entertainment or leisure or whatever category you care to pigeon hole it into, sport, like any other category of business, is under competition and challenge like never before. It is the Darwinian philosophy revisited.

The survival of the fittest is playing out right under our noses, and not one business or sport is immune.

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The NRL, the AFL, Cricket and Soccer to name the most high profile sports in Australia, have been through it all. They have all managed to come out of their “near death experiences” intact for now. They are individually and collectively aware that their “reprieve” is not enduring. That they cannot secure their immortality.

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The administrators of these sports know that the outdated “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” view of the world belonged to the century gone past. Sporting audiences today are spoilt for choice with a range of tantalizing options for spectating and engaging in. Cricket, Aussie Rules, Rugby League and Soccer know their customers and fan base. Intimately.

They understand that taking their customers and fans for granted is akin to giving competitors a massive free kick.

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When it comes to marketing, these sports leave racing floundering.

The best marketing campaign and strategy that Australian racing has ever come up was many years ago when the VRC launched its Spring Racing campaign.

The campaign, underwritten by a very carefully constructed strategy and targeting a very specific demographic, was ground breaking. It was “ballsy” and it paid off. To the VRC’s credit, the campaign continues to be refreshed each year and its endurance proven as its success continues to demonstrate.

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It is all about knowing your customer, and then having the balls to hire the best available talent to create and execute a campaign and strategy.

Racing today, more than at any other time in its history, is crying out for the kind of marketing campaign and strategy that injected new life into Victorian racing through its spring racing carnival campaign.

Sadly, what has been evidenced just this week from both NSW and Victoria makes us believe that such a revival is nothing more than wishful thinking. Cricket, Aussie Rules, League and Soccer might just as well go on their merry way and carve the spoils between themselves. Racing it seems has politely declined the offer to compete.

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The ATC/Racing NSW marketing campaign for “the Championships” and Racing Victoria’s “Relaxed Racing” campaign are very clear examples of the widening gulf between racing and these other sports.

The NSW campaign hovers from crossing the crass line to being yet another demonstration of a sport just not understanding its customer or getting its strategy right before commissioning a marketing campaign. Pity.

“The Championships” provide an almost generational opportunity for Racing NSW and the ATC to break the glass ceiling with a campaign and strategy that is ground breaking, innovative and in keeping with Sydney’s reputation as Australia’s most exciting and stunningly beautiful city with an abundance of life and diversity.

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Then there is the “relaxed racing” campaign, whatever that means.

From our experience of Victorian racing, spring carnival excluded, it has always had that boring, lazy feel about it.

It had difficulty even attracting the “bogans” to the vast empty and expansive Victorian racecourses – a total turnoff if ever there was one.

But no, the marketing boffins of Racing Victoria have chosen to base a campaign around the very concept that its competitors in the more successful and popular sports have chosen not to go anywhere near.

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The popularity and appeal of cricket, in its latest incarnation, of Aussie Rules and Rugby League and Soccer is intrinsically and inherently about the intensely competitive and combative nature of these sports.

But above all, it’s so much about their ability for fan engagement.

Racing in Oz appeals so much during its carnival times because of its ability to cross the white line and engage, not just racing fans, but the once or twice or three times a year racegoer, many of whom continue to be blissfully ignorant and have no desire to get to know racing with any degree of intimacy.

Besides if you really want to pack a picnic basket and relax with your family, aren’t there better places to do so?

Do you really want to fork out fifty or more dollars just for the privilege of getting a patch of grass at a racetrack when you can do the same at no cost at a park or by a waterway or a quick drive to a tranquil countryside?

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And what about the cost of such a campaign- the millions of dollars being spent on the campaign to get the message across that you can get to the races in your yobbo gear?

Racing in Oz and those who run and control it plus the fawning media just don’t fucking get it. Or maybe they do and this is the best they CAN do? Sad.

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THE MESSIAH’S DOPEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS DREAM.

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Has he lost the plot? We wonder. News Limited’s number one spruiker of anything Racing NSW, Ray Thomas told Sydneysiders on Tuesday in the Daily Telegraph about plans to “Race Around The World”, while Melbourne subsidiary, the Herald-Sun, had a more appropriate and accurate headline: “Messara wants world series of racing”.

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Flushed with the premature adulation of what he and his Racing NSW battalion have received to date with their imminent “championships” carnival- and not content with conquering Sydney and Australian racing and taking on those arrogant Southerners in Victoria- all hail, the “messiah” has his sights firmly set on the rest of the world.

You know the old strategy: “Today Australia, tomorrow the World”.

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Not surprisingly, there was no analytical commentary from the Australian racing media.

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Yet again, they have demonstrated how very, very irrelevant they are through their abject failure to put the blow torch to the belly of those who have turned grandstanding about anything and everything into a fine art.

Curiously the “messiah” was not alone in championing the concept.

He had company in the form of David Redvers, Racing Manager for Qatar Racing’s Sheikh Fahd Al Thani.

UK-based Redvers came into prominence when Dunaden won the Melbourne Cup in 2011 and then repeated the effort in the same year in the Hong Kong Vase and is hardly a household name in world racing. Nor, from what we have been told, does he have the runs on the board to be taken too seriously.

It took Alan Aitken, the Chief Racing Writer for Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post to give Messara’s concept the critical once over in his column “On the rails” on Wednesday. And that he did, clinically dissecting every flaw in this pie-eyed concept.

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In his editorial piece, “Idea for global ‘Formula One’ circuit fraught with risks”, Aitken nailed it in one. And then banged in more nails to ensure the beast was dead and probably hung a chain made of garlic around his neck and did The Dance Of The Nine Veils for the hell of it.

Pointing out the obvious, he drew the analogy that “Horses are not cars”, and that “issues such as race rules, quarantine, prize money and sponsorship conflicts must be overcome”.

As Aitken has tellingly reminded racing, the world series concept is not new- dating back to Sheikh Mohammed’s considerable financial backing and sponsorship and resources thrown into the concept, which spawned the Dubai World Cup carnival, and which, for reasons that he outlined, did not go the distance.

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Messara and Redvers only need to glance at very recent history – the Global Sprint Challenge, the Asian Mile Series- to name just two glaring examples of the difficulties of getting a world series concept to work. And to believe that, quoting directly from Ray Thomas, “there is growing momentum to introduce the series (world series of horse racing), as early as next year, with the world’s best gallopers competing in the most prestigious races from countries like England, France, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United States, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia”.

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As Aitken summed it up perfectly, “there must be a whiff of something in the air in Sydney at the moment”.

Yes, it’s a strange mixture of bullshit, bollocks, too much Cheech and Chong and bad acid.

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To expect horses to travel to even just half the countries mentioned is fanciful. Not even a Qatar oil well and 30 harem girls doing The Dance Of Salome thrown in as part of a mega prize money carrot for the world champion could entice the world’s best to take on such an arduous and ridiculously impossible and impractical schedule.

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And trying to run the series on a points schedule, as has been attempted with the Sprint and Mile Challenges, is an exercise in fantasy. Just ask Peter Moody or Prince Khalid Abdallah. Or even, Mr Rourke and Tatu.

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Messara, in particular, should concentrate all his energies on trying to make his “championships” concept work in Sydney, not just for this year but for the longer term.

He needs to get his mate- the Racing Minister that is “Gorgeous” George Souris- to put both hands in the State’s Treasury pockets and underwrite the “championships” with more than their token handout for only this year, so that Racing NSW and the ATC don’t have to go around the corporate world with their begging bowls for funding this grandiose- and Gorgeous George- concept.

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