THE NON HORSE RACING ISSUE

Instead of another “horse racing” story starring the usual suspects- and, gawd knows, plodding down this well-trodden path can be tedious for all concerned- I thought I would share something written for the music industry. Frankly, it could be for any industry. Even horse racing.

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As we all should realise by now, this is not only a world gone very wrong, it’s a world without priorities, where no one thinks twice about taking in the strays and the clutter- and the consequences of doing this. Or pontificating about #Brexit without even knowing what it all means and what will happen next. A weaker pound will make it less expensive to purchase horses from the UK, Einstein? This is a priority? This will make the world a better and safer place? We’re surrounded by supercilious dweebs and their fawning yawning flock of flapping seagulls heading nowhere.

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We are being engulfed and prepared to drown in a sea of mediocrity and media manipulation without questioning where all this is coming down from and separating- really separating- right from wrong, and substance from all that is puerile.

We need those old fashioned ideals back again because what has replaced them are not only soul destroying, they’re tearing us apart.

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In the horse racing industry, it’s time to look at a business model that needs fixing and changing to be much more than it is today as well as finding positive ways to change the perception of the sport. Only the most rabid racing fan stuck somewhere back in the future with Marty McFly will think that everything is just perfect and the wheels haven’t fallen off.

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THE ISSUES ISSUE

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THE BALLAD 0


By Keyser Soze

DES O’KEEFE: MAN FOR ALL CAUSES

issue 1

He is racing’s Man For All Seasons – correction – Man For All Causes, the Jockeys Association Chief Executive and Braveheart Des O’Keefe. He loves causes, does our fearless fighter Des O’Keefe, particularly when it comes to protecting his flock – Australian jockeys, from an avaricious racing industry and its stakeholders. He’s the type of citizen who would be comfortable living in a nanny state.

One suspects his championing of all causes associated with jockeys has exposed him to the neon lights and the centre of attention that the bright lights bring. His latest cause célèbre is Jockey Welfare, hot on the thundering hooves of the hopelessly botched changes to the whips rules, which he is still banging on about.

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Apparently, Jockey Welfare is a “new” issue- that is unless you’ve been having a sabbatical on another planet mixing with extra terrestrials, or living with a bunch of hobbits under a proverbial rock. Spare us the nausea. Please. It all came about when apprentice Tom Sadler faced a serious charge laid by Stewards for racing’s equivalent of falling asleep at the wheel during a race in which he rode a horse called Lonrockstar for his father John, a well-known and successful trainer, who, to his credit, calls a spade a bloody spade.

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THE MACAU JOCKEY CLUB: RACING INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN

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By Hans Ebert

UNKNOWN 1

It’s a question that’s been asked for years. And every time one thinks the question has disappeared forever, it boomerangs back. Apparently, the Macau Jockey Club is up for sale- again- and for a bargain basement price, something that’s hard to believe, certainly not if Angela Ho, below, the powerful and ambitious fourth “wife” of ailing casino magnate Stanley Ho, and Vice Chairwoman of the racing club has her way.

UNKNOWN 2

“Lady Angela”, an entrepreneur and politician, is not known as extremely savvy “Dragon Lady” constantly breathing fire for nothing. Frankly, she’s a fascinating beast and the most important member of one of the richest (and most dysfunctional) dynasties in the world that can swallow the Kardashians for breakfast with their congee. What a reality show “Keeping Up With The Ho’s” would make.

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Posted in Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, The horse racing industry, zac purton | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

By popular request, we revisit…

encore

PETER MIERS AND HIS TRAIL BLAZING ROLE IN HK RACING

PETER MIERS 1

It was a very different time when Peter Miers landed in Hong Kong in the early Seventies and horse racing, caught between staying an amateur sport and turning professional, could have zig-zagged its way around the Mercedes Bends and ended up a million lengths away from the powerful, all-conquering industry it is today.

PETER MIERS 2

Now, 71 and with a memory as sharp as a tact- names, dates, blinkers first time- and having been part of the many faces and facets of racing in the UK, France- and where he almost rode for George Moore- Australian-born Peter Miers has an international perspective of the sport which very few probably knew he has.

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THE INTEGRITY AND DJANGO UNCHAINED ISSUE

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By Keyser Soze

MURRIHY’S WORDS OF WISDOM

INTEGRITY 1

He’s only been retired for a matter of weeks, but Racing NSW’s former Chief Steward Ray Murrihy is one of the most sought after “super sleuths” in what is fast becoming a corruption-riddled world of just about any sport which can be wagered on in Australia.

Like most of its global counterparts, Australian sport is rapidly becoming infected with, and dragged into a web of criminality and corruption where match fixing, the use of performance enhancing, and the ridiculously named “recreational” drugs is nearing rampant proportions.

Murrihy has been in the hot seat for most of his working life. He has pursued the cheats and criminal elements in NSW racing relentlessly since he stepped into the challenging role of Chief Steward, and during his time in the role, has taken no prisoners. Unlike his counterparts in other States, and particularly Victoria, Murrihy can never be accused of dragging the chain in ensuring investigations are concluded speedily and charges, where necessary, are laid with little time for the inevitable media circus which has been a striking feature of the protracted near year- long hiatus in the cobalt cases in Victoria and the second instalment of the circus about to begin with the appeals process about to commence.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, JOHN MOORE, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

THE GREAT ESCAPE ISSUE

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By Keyser Soze

RACING.COM’S GREAT ESCAPE

ESCAPE 1

Even the great magician and illusionist Harry Houdini would have shuddered at the unnecessarily and inexplicably risky high stakes misadventure played out by racing.com in its negotiated agreement with the Hong Kong Jockey Club to bring ‘live’ telecasting of the Shatin and Happy Valley race meetings to their free to air Channel 78 and its on-line network.

It would surprise no one in racing to expect that the average punter- and the mug punters- and you could fill the MCG and SCG with them and still have plenty of room to accommodate late arrivals- would be blissfully unaware that Fixed Odds and Corporate Bookmakers are persona non grata in Hong Kong. But the management and executives of a racing media business seeking to negotiate a broadcast rights deal with one of the most powerful and successful racing jurisdictions in the world?

ESCAPE 2

It beggars belief, doesn’t it? But, then again, day in day out, week in week out, the lack of leadership in Australian racing keeps getting exposed. If it is impossible to find a needle in a haystack, then finding a smart leader in Australian racing with a sharp intellect who can read the play around him, think proactively and stay ahead of the game, is racing’s very own needle in that confusing haystack.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, PETER MOODY, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RACING VICTORIA: ALL-A-TWITTER. BUT ABOUT WHAT?

By Hans Ebert

When it comes to the 24/7 online world, instead of looking at more pressing matters like money going out and money coming in, not to mention winning the confidence of its customers, there are those in charge of managing and leading racing clubs that while trying to understand- and even censor- what’s being discussed on social media, get lost in the simple complexity of it all.

WHAT 1

Like, “You had me at ‘Hello’,” to some in horse racing, social media starts and ends with a hashtag on Twitter and something said in 140 words or less. And as long as this tweet is not against “The Rules Of Racing”, it’s fine. Their thinking: It’s a free world and everyone can engage in freedom of speech, but with one caveat: Unless one is a Member of a racing club and goes against those “rules of racing”. What do you think, Kendall?

WHAT 2

Instead of sipping from that half-filled glass, surely racing clubs should be looking at the online world and social media with its different delivery platforms as an innovative marketing tool to broaden its customer base and market its product more creatively, and not as the enemy? Despite all the talk about being “customercentric” etc, at least one racing club in Australia- Racing Victoria- seems to look at social media as cause to bunker down and get ready for The Big Chill.

WHAT 3

There appears to be a Big Brother or Joe McCarthy-type fear and loathing waiting to stamp out anyone who stands in the way. If so, it’s power gone hopelessly and haplessly wrong- and a modus operandi that’s not winning them fans- anywhere. A bad image travels far, and these days, Racing Victoria has an image problem. Everything it does is viewed with suspicion. Every decision made is accepted with a smirk. Everything it proposes needs to be read twice in case the devil is in the details. And everybody must get stoned. Right, Johnny?

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA | Tagged , | 1 Comment

THE LIVING AND BREEDING ISSUE

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By Keyser Soze

BREEDERS BRAWL TURNING NASTY

BREEDERS 1

Often referred to and regarded as Australian racing’s privileged sector, the powerful thoroughbred breeders have long been treated as being “above the law” by the principal governing bodies and regulators of racing.

With their power base concentrated in Australia’s “Kentucky” – the Hunter Valley, known over time for it’s classic wine vintages – both red and white, Australian racing’s “rich and famous” come from diverse backgrounds. The big names in the Hunter Valley represent racing’s “new money”. Many are “newbies” having made their considerable wealth in the commercial world, with many a long and winding road leading to the boom times enjoyed in mining, property, investment, wealth management, banking and finance. Just occasionally a “Gordon Gecko” or “wolf of wall street” makes a cameo appearance, but sightings of such creatures are not easy even to a trained eye.

BREEDERS 2

Whilst the rivalry among members of the Hunter Valley cabal of breeders is often intense and driven by ego and bragging rights, these rivalries have rarely been played out in the open. It is racing’s own version of keeping things in house.

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THE RACING VICTORIA ISSUE

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When Lucian Grainge recently had his contract as Worldwide Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Universal Music renewed for another five years, he immediately went into overdrive.

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With Vivendi being the parent company of the world’s biggest music company, Grainge, a very strong and respected leader, and a brilliant negotiator with great people skills, knew that the music company he manages could no longer continue with a Business As Usual ethos. That’s not why he had his contract renewed. He knew he had to make some tough decisions. This included immediately replacing some of his most loyal and long-time lieutenants who had run their course with new hires. The music industry and media applauded the moves.

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Loyalty has its time and place, and when given the role and task of charting a new and more vibrant and profitable business course, there’s no time for playing Mr Nice Guy. Vivendi is a publicly listed company- a results-oriented organisation that wasn’t interested in the music company maintaining a status quo. Not when the tech companies were controlling the streaming and selling of music and working directly with artists and artist management. New third parties working directly with contracted artists in the very grey legal muddy waters of the online world has always been cause for panic and paranoia in the music industry. The hyper tail was wagging what had become a sleeping dog.

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THE BALLAD OF RACING IN VICTORIA (WITH APOLOGIES TO BOB DYLAN)

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THE BALLAD 1

Queen Victoria is heavy with the head that wears the crown
Everything looks to be heading South and down
Has the race been run but has anybody won?
Everybody trying to be Australia’s very own racing Don.

THE BALLAD 2

The Moody Blues continue in all its many guises
Every bloody day there are some new surprises
Who can win when they’re plotting for everyone to fall
And Shania stands there waiting to be the belle of the ball.

THE BALLAD 3

The Plodder keeps waffling on and on
But no one’s listening ‘cos they’ve all packed up and gone
He’s waiting for his fairy godmother
To dig him outta another big hole
But luck’s running out for this mutha
Cos feeding the media is that very big mole.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA | Tagged , | 1 Comment