Though many in Oz were up in arms over trots and greyhound races taking place at their scheduled times which meant the races from Shatin being shown as delayed broadcasts, on home turf- Hong Kong- there was no getting away from the fact that this was one of the most competitive and absorbing race days seen in many a fool moon with everyone howling that Size matters- as does Akeed Mofeed.
Yes, the champion trainer who’s on a Cannonball Run of his own these days, trained another four winners- and each ridden by a different jockey- bringing his tally over the last four meetings to twelve winners.
Hi, Ho, Silver and Sizey is proving- as if he needs to- that he can train and is taking a horses for courses strategy when using jockeys with winners today being equally shared by Dougie Whyte, Karis Teetan, Olivier Delouze and Tye Angland.
As for Tye Angland, he has really come of age this year, and if he might have been underrated before, well, chitlins, not after his ride on Endowing which won the Longines Jockey Club Cup.
Despite dropping his whip, it was still a masterful ride by the 23-year-old and sealed his place with the big boys as a rider who can deliver the goods.
Speaking about the big boys, Dougie Whyte showed, in this same race, that nothing beats experience and did just enough to have the Richard Gibson-trained Akeed Mofeed, which had been under a bit of a cloud over the past few months- primed and ready for International Day.
That run to come from last to second to Endowing without being unnecessarily bashed about, and make California Memory look as if it were standing still, was breathtaking.
If there was any early betting for the International Races, my money would be on Akeed Mofeed- and with this galloper resulting in a more permanent partnership between Gibson and Whyte and powerful- and extremely cash-rich- owner Pan Su-tong who also has Gold Fun which won today’s Mile race.
As we have said before, Douglas Whyte is entering a new phase of his career, one that will include riding in as many invitation races as possible like some roving ambassador for Hong Kong racing, and getting aboard some of the best Group 1 horses.
It’s also part of building up the Douglas Whyte brand and a paradigm shift in his career priorities.
The man is no fool. He’s seen it all, he’s been through it all and, one could be very wrong, but Dougie Whyte is now leaving all that he’s gone through, to others as he moves on.’
History can’t keep repeating itself. It gets boring. Everyone needs new challenges and a changing of the guard must happen.
And what about Zac Purton? With each of his three winners today, he again, underlined that he is one of the best riders in the world and far superior to many, especially in Oz, still enjoying god-like status when their Use By Date has come and gone.
With 32 winners on the board already and only a fifth of the season gone, it would not surprise anyone if what the jockey has in his sights is, sure, his first Hong Kong Jockey Premiership- PLUS setting a new record for riding the most number of winners in a season.
Thinking about today’s accomplishments and the cast involved, it really is quite extraordinary what “assets” the HKJC has in its portfolio: jockeys Whyte, Purton, Doleuze, Moreira, Angland, Teetan, trainers Size, Moore, Gibson, Cruz, Fownes and rookie Chris Ho and the horses- Charles The Great, Sterling City, Endowing, Akeed Mofeed, Military Attack, California Memory, Gold Fun and My Favorite which won the last race for owner and popular local celebrity Aaron Kwok.
It was the perfect ending to the day and a real Feel Good script that had it all.
Today’s meeting which saw a turnover of HK$1.45 billion showed the HKJC juggernaut moving even further up north- and if the quality and competitiveness of the racing today was anything to by, International Week is gonna be The Week That Stopped The Racing World.
And to those petty critics who just don’t get it and just don’t matter, it all comes down to what Jack Nicholson screamed out in For A Good Men: “You can’t TAKE the truth!”
Bring it on, Jack, you mad but lovable old bastard.