THE HKIR CURTAIN RAISER ISSUE

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Sunday at Sha Tin was the big curtain raiser
To Hong Kong International Week in December
And though these are still early days
There was plenty of everything
for everyone to remember

The Gnasher left many shaken and stirred
When he kept Mr Stunning away from the
roadblocks happening to his inside
Lucky bubbles popped and burst all around
As Mr Stunning, Amazing Kids and DB Pins
raced away with the Jockey Club Sprint prize

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JAMES MATHERS ASKS: NEW SOUTH WALES COUNTRY RACING- IS IT AT THE CROSSROADS?

I find myself pausing a little these days. Today I ask the question as to what is the horse racing business in Australia? What is it?

Is it just the Melbourne Cup Spring Carnival, The Everest, the Championships, the Golden Slipper or is it a lot more ?

My racing and thoroughbred experience has been learned through being involved horses and racing in Australia, primarily New South Wales. I have little experience or knowledge of the thoroughbred horse industry and racing in other countries.

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AND WHAT IS A HAPPY WEDNESDAY? ALL THIS AND MORE

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

For an eight race card on a pretty grey evening on Wednesday night, turnover of over HK$1.2m- an increase of over 10 percent from the same meeting last year- and attendance of over 20,000 might be impressive to those who deal in facts and figures.

For the regulars- a very international group of largely millennials- who attend a Happy Wednesday race meeting at Happy Valley Racecourse, what really matters is seeing the stars of the show up close and personal- the riders and the horses. This is their introduction to horse racing. It’s what makes them feel welcome. And so last night when jockey Zac Purton trotted his horse to the 1650 metres start before the last race, made the time to stop in front of the crowd lined up along the side of the famous Beer Garden and have a brief chat with them, this was a major highlight.

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HORSE RACING AND ITS FIDDLERS ON THE ROOF

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

The night earlier I had watched a blistering monologue from the razor sharp mind of George Carlin on big business in America- how the rich get richer and everyone in their path either get steamrolled or become sycophants dazzled by bullshit.

In three minutes, George Carlin destroyed Wall Street, and big business by revealing just how crooked and shallow it all is. It was a brilliant dismantling of the American Dream, but it could have been about an everyday nightmare happening almost anywhere in the world- a world that has lost focus on life’s priorities.

The next day I read about the latest chapter on horse racing in Australia. One of the icons of the turf in the land down under was throwing his weight behind two other elderly power brokers from another state. To him, these were men who could be saviours of the sport in his state while emphasising that he remained a “proud Melbournian and Victorian”.

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THE EVEREST MANAGES TO CREATE ITS OWN AVALANCHE…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

There are those who sit and plot and stew. And more often than not, they end up in a pickle. It’s called karma. One can only guess whoever’s idea it was to produce and place the crude ad below on the very day that the Melbourne Cup was to be run, huffed and puffed for months planning this moment to gloat and do The Dance Of The Demented Sherpas.

If the master plan was to rain on the parade of The Race That Stops A Nation, it not only backfired horribly, it revealed those behind it to be little people- tacky, tasteless and petty little people who wish to create a divisive industry despite all the glib talk about “reinventing” horse racing, how “horse racing must change with the times” and “welcoming competition”. Guess making a mountain out of a molehill with more holes in it than Swiss cheese requires lotsa experience in stirring and stirring and…

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HONG KONG RACING AND ITS SEASON OF CHANGE

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

“Right now, he’s doing a good job of getting suspended.” That line is probably heading the leaderboard as Hong Kong racing’s Quote of the Season and attributed to Zac Purton when asked if he felt he had a realistic chance of winning the the Jockey Premiership this season by beating Joao Moreira. A typical flippant Purton sound bite or a bit of psychological warfare? Whatever the answer, it all adds to the entertainment value of what’s going on.

Yes, the Zac Attack can’t ride as light as Joao Moreira, and can’t get on as many horses as he would like, but he’s totally in the zone. He’s coolness personified, and, unlike the last few seasons where it’s been all about the one man Magic Show, the playing field certainly looks to have levelled out. Zac Purton is right: As long as Joao Moreira keeps getting suspended- and Lady Luck deserts him- not only is he in with a very loud shout to win the Premiership, but Nash Rawiller and Karis Teetan could also be nipping gently at Moreira’s heels. But only a very stupid person would be writing off the “smiling assassin” that is Joao Moreira.

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THE MELBOURNE SPRING CARNIVAL: DID IT LOSE ITS FOOTING?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Sure, Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick. But when there’s a Big Stick to shake, and instead of it being shaken and stirred, it’s waived in a feeble manner, it leaves one scratching their head and thinking, Who’s steering this Titanic and can’t they see the icebergs?

Just how low key, unexciting, pedestrian and lacking in creativity and atmosphere has been the buildup to the running of this year’s Melbourne Cup- and for that matter, increasing the excitement quotient for the entire Melbourne Spring Carnival?

It’s been puzzling and just plain sad how everything has almost been weighed down by a defeatist attitude. The marketing- if one can even call it that- has been an exercise in clichés and unoriginality. If a singer in one of those television singing competition, it wouldn’t have made it past the auditions.

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GOOD JOSS AT SHA TIN THIS AFTERNOON

This afternoon at Sha Tin looks like being the platform for the Joao Moreira and Karis Teetan Show with us backing the Mauritian Magician to take out the Jockey Challenge.

This season, the very popular Teetan has certainly come of age. And though we’re still to see him win taking inside runs, when he pulls his rides out wide, they seem to sprout wings, come from the clouds and run down anything in their way. A winner is a winner and Karis Teetan looks all set to join Joao Moreira and Zac Purton as part of Team Hong Kong at the December Hong Kong International Jockeys Competition at Happy Valley.

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WHERE EGOS DARE TO FLY

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Some just can’t help themselves. It’s either their calling in life, or some deep-rooted insecurity. And whenever it boils over, one can recoil in horror or simply roll a joint, inhale slowly and deeply, keep it in your system for at least a minute, and then exhale slowly and slightly unhinge your mind and relax and float downstream.

So when a friend sent me a link to a documentary LOUDLY titled “Inside The Everest” with no explanation, there I was thinking it would be some rare new insight into Sir Edmund Hillary conquering Everest, the Mountain. But no, children. It was something far bigger. Far more chilling.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, Peter V'landys, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

WHEN HORSE RACING GETS UGLY

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

“Hans, after the last race on Friday night, a drunken punter got stuck into Dwayne Dunn telling him that he slaughtered Miss Gunpowder in the race. Dwayne went over to punter and the abuse continued. One of the RV stewards walked past and simply ignored what was going on. My concern is the members bar at MV is so close to the walkway where the jocks head onto and off the track, some nights the abuse is horrendous. It’s only a matter of time before a jockey is hurt by a punter who wants to vent and use physical violence rather than words.”

One friend describes it as being “dark”. Another calls it “toxic”. All I can say is, Thank gawd for Winx, because without her, the racing fraternity in Victoria that calls Melbourne home seem to be living in Gotham City with the blinkers on. And even bigger thanks to Winx for winning what was the seventeenth race on that disgraceful Moonee Valley race track for a race with the rich history of the Cox Plate. Let’s not even imagine the fallout if she had lost because of the wear and tear of the track. Would heads have rolled? Doubt it. Like misery, incompetence loves company, Batman, and the weak and lost look after their own.

My parents lived in Camberwell for over thirty years and as their only son had to do my duty by visiting them regularly and take the usual Sunday afternoon tram ride, go to their favourite Chinese restaurant and then be coerced into having dinner with someone my father would describe as “a very good young singer who can be the next Norah Jones”. Heading a major music company at the time, I knew what to expect: Being handed a CD of recordings by a “young singer” usually pushing fifty and performing at one of the hotels.

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