Those who remembered the glory days of Lan Kwai Fong, compared the Beer Garden to the time when Alan Zeman was the “King Of The Kwai” and restaurants and clubs like California and Disco Disco ruled Hong Kong.
At the Gallerie, it was like the halcyon days of the Peak Cafe. And at Adrenaline, it was the same vibe as the original JJ’s at the Grand Hyatt. And guess what? All this as happening at the Happy Valley racecourse and where the last race meeting of 2012 ended with a real LOUD bang.
People jammed into Adrenaline, The Beer Garden was packed as was The Gallerie, and foreign visitors to Happy Valley couldn’t believe what they were seeing- which was a totally new way of enjoying the sport called horse racing as part of the very wide world of Entertainment.
To cap it off, the Zac Attack- jockey Zac Purton- rode four winners on the trot and two horses which ran very close seconds- and on an eight race card.
His ride to get home Windicator Star and grab our old mate Caspar Fownes, below, his 500th winner in Hong Kong, was a gem of a ride.
And being the old pooftah that he is, we saw this most popular of local trainers shed a little tear.
Anyone who thinks Purton is “only thriving” in Hong Kong needs their heads examined.
Sorry, but apart from Hughie Bowman and, perhaps Craig Williams in Oz and the whiz kids of Europe, The Zac Attack is the most potent force in racing today.
He has taken his time, but over the past two years in Hong Kong, it’s a new, improved and focused Mr. Purton.
Marriage to Nicole has been good for him.
Seldom have we seen such a diverse set of riding skills to get those four winners home and what we now have is possibly a very real changing of the guard and for Dougie Whyte- and never ever to be counted out- to rise to the challenge and the occasion.
As for Zac Purton’s rides, they were not the old, stalk, stalk, take it one wide and hammer it home school of riding.
That’s too easy and that’s too predictable.
Competing against some of the best International jockeys in the world, Zac Purton stamped himself last night as one of the world’s best.
Only an idiot would argue with us on that.
Only a provincial or parochial head of any racing club in the world would argue that Hong Kong racing is the best in the world and, more importantly, that the atmosphere created at the meeting last night, which brought the curtain down on 2012 in great style, has finally brought racing into the 21st Century.
Yes, all of us were privileged to be there, we rang out the old, rang in the new, and now say, bring on 2013, baby.