MR SMITH RETURNS TO RACING.
Around ten years ago, British bloodstock agent and bon vivant Andy Smith was on top of the world and making money hand-over-fist, thanks to his biggest client at the time in horse owner George Tanaka.
We’d meet Andy regularly at his local near Carlton Towers in the ritzy Cadogan Avenue area of London where there would always be an eclectic group of individuals- Lennox Lewis, Frankie Dettori, Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood etc before heading over to the upmarket gentleman’s club Aspinall’s.
Then, when George Tanaka was hauled off a plane in the US and jailed for tax fraud, the newly-married- to a young stunner from Turkey- Andy Smith went poof and disappeared with many of his clients left high and dry with various horsey problems. Emails went unanswered, phone calls landed on deaf ears. It was like a Hitchcock mystery.
Now, he’s back- bigger than ever- financially and physically- and with the lifetime breeding rights to the American-bred Declaration Of War, below, which will keep him in the lifestyle to which he is accustomed forever and with several local horse owners now on his books along with a few long-time trainer mates from his halcyon days in the UK waiting to meet up with when supposedly hits these shores next month.
EARTHQUAKES SHAKES UP RELAXED RACING AT CAULFIELD!
We made a flying visit to Caulfield for Oakleigh Plate Day as guests of a group of owners and, from a positive point of view, we have nothing but praise for the winning rides by Damien Oliver, Chad Schofield, Craig Newitt on the much-improved Lankan Rupee, and Damien Browne- especially the latter and his winning ride on the brilliant Earthquake. Here’s a jockey going International.
That win well and truly stuck a pacifier up the arses of those groveling racing pundits who kept chanting Rubick, Rubick, Rubick for weeks.
They have made right cubes of themselves and one can really sense many losing their credibility.
After all, like many racing executives we know, What do these people actually DO???
As for the crowds in the Public area? So Relaxed about racing, many never showed up- shame as it was a great day’s racing, but the experience? Myeh- whereas in the Members area, we listened to the usual lament about just how poor a turnout there was and the financial ruin facing racing in Oz while the Neros fiddle and remain in denial- and we don’t mean the river in Egypt.
As for this Relaxed Racing brainwave- no doubt created by gremlins during a heatwave and with the sun playing tricks on one’s brain- this has all the signs of being a very expensive and daft marketing campaign with no ROI or USP in place and, perhaps workable for Boo Boo and Yogi Bear at a pic-a-nic meeting, but totally outta whack with a major race meeting like the one yesterday where people- young and old- WANT to get dressed up as it’s one of the few occasions where they CAN.
The radio spots built around chanting Om- an insult to one’s intelligence- and damage control lines like “Enjoy Relaxed Relaxing with an adrenaline rush”- Valium and Red Bull???- and suddenly using Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood- which should have been used right from the start so no one takes this, well, THING, seriously- shows a marketing disaster as big as what befell the Titanic and Hindenburg, combined.
What to see CLEVER, competitive advertising? Click here. It’s not racing, but use some imagination.
As for the Relaxed Racing Ambassadors, PUHLEEEZE.
Knowing some of them pretty well, the choices are making our heads spin faster than Linda Blair’s did in The Exorcist- and making us just as scary.
But, hey, maybe it works in Melbourne- though we hear not from the older Wu Tang Clan whereas the newbies to racing we know have never heard of Relaxed Racing and have no interest in finding out what it might be.
They’re on the go all the time- and enjoying it- to get laid back at a race track on a Saturday afternoon when there’s the night ahead.
IN KEVIN MOSES AND THE THREE AMIGOS WE “THRUST.”
While our old mate Kevin Moses has parted the Red Seas and bought himself a bar in, er, Shanghai which we have pencilled in to visit, we understand that The Three Amigos, the stars of the television reality series Keeping Up With Racing To Win, have sold their interests in Singapore-based galloper Thrust (?) following a Class 5 win in the Lion City.
The horse is, apparently, being moved by new owners to “greener pastures” in Malaysia.
Malaysia? Greener Pastures?
We’re willing to bet that if this move happens, there will be Thrust issues soon taking place in Western Australia where the Malaysian influence on racing is far greater than many realize- or wish to admit.
There was one race at Ascot yesterday which should be studied by newbie punters to see how to plan a complete “boat race” and make mugs of tipsters and form students through a dawdling pace and some horribly suss rides.
The result of the race was tipped to some from Singapore- on Friday afternoon- and from Macau via Malaysia on race day morning.
Richard Burt has a problem on his hands- and it’s been around WA racing for almost two decades.
Then again, look at the fun and games going on in Sydney these days and with no one saying ticky boo about them.
THANKS FOR ALL THOSE YEARS OF THE CAT, FELIX COETZEE!
Felix Coetzee, one of the greatest jockeys Hong Kong has had the good fortune to see in action and the type of truly top bloke one meets once or twice in a lifetime, officially retired last week.
Having started out as stable jockey for the controversial Brian Kan ping-chee when he took over from another racing legend- Brent Thomson- “The Cat” as he was known, really came into his own for his association with the Hong Kong champion sprinter Silent Witness and his partnership with trainer Tony Cruz and owners Archie and Betty Da Silva.
His strength in a finish and his judge of pace was something we had not seen before- ever.
What we still don’t understand are why these two legged legends of the turf are not utilized much more as presenters on television programming instead of the dullards that are hired to be vapid talking heads with selective memory recall.
Also why- and we have mentioned this before- a forward-thinking racing club like the HKJC don’t have even ONE race day where a Legends Of The Turf Cup Race is the highlight of a meeting and with every other race named after such legends as Felix Coetzee, Darren Beadman, Michael Kinane, Basil Marcus, Bart Leisher, Gary Stevens, all of whom have ridden here at one time or another?
Surely, there is far more relevance to this idea than races being named after Hong Kong’s beaches, streets and local electrical appliances including fridges and vibrators?
Imagine seeing their greatest wins on the DiamondVision screen! Imagine having them all present for this race meeting! Imagine the sponsorship and media appeal!
Now, stop imagining and make it happen, baby!
Legends like these should never be allowed to just fade away into the distant past and forgotten like yesterday’s news.
RACING CARES should be a far more pertinent and human theme that should be made mandatory amongst all racing clubs instead of much of the wooly bully stuff we see- and where punters money is used to turn this goofiness into irrelevant reality.
THE TWATS AND STRAIGHT BATS ON TWITTER.
Most of the rants about racing on twitter are the twitterings of trolls, fawning groupies, bogans, and many who DESPERATELY wish to be seen as vital to the future of, especially, racing in Oz- and which is rapidly heading towards oblivion.
To them we say, get out more often, look after your own backyard and see how the rest of the world lives before making absolute knobs of yourselves and making horse racing look like a sport only followed by one-dimensional intellectual midgets.
Having said this, there’s the far more interesting band of racing’s version of the Twitter Police who do a better job than most Stewards and the stunted racing media lacking balls and one iota of creativity other than what they copy and call their own.
This Twitter Police- The Gailays, the Dirty Cowboys etc- are those who can easily spot and shame the jockeys by naming bad rides, taking well-aimed shots at racing’s sacred cows- even those in Hong Kong- and questioning the decisions of untouchable trainers and their owners.
No one is spared- and rightfully so- with strong arguments to back their charges and not daft rants lacking any real knowledge other than what can often be a stupid and dangerous outlet which has seen racism, hate, bullying and cowardice at the fore on Facebook and YouTube.
The day when this equivalent of racing’s “underground scene” becomes mainstream and a real global game changer with enormous clout as it communicates directly with the public is right around the corner.
And gawd knows, horse racing needs some serious changes if it’s ever gonna compete for audience share with other sports and bring in new sponsors who can change the way the sport is still perceived by 99.9% of human beings: Irrelevant.
When this happens- and it will, sooner rather than later- and even as independent online consumer-generated programming beholden to no one- many in racing clubs will be held accountable for simply not being good enough and with no more asking of some racing executives, “How the fuck did he get that gig?” and the usual, “What does he actually DO???”
The Truth will finally be out there.