No one will ever argue with the fact that John Moore is a masterful and persuasive trainer who has done much to improve the quality of equine talent in Hong Kong by having more owners than anyone else in town who only wish to win Group 1 races and won’t settle for purchasing some also-rans that won’t go higher than Class 3.
Also, as we saw in Dubai- and, perhaps, caught up in the euphoria of the win of Sterling City- Moore had the good manners to acknowledge and credit those who make the Moore brand what it is today in Hong Kong.
John Moore is also extremely savvy when it comes to making the racing media his very own pulpit, or, to be more precise, what local racing fans call “the gweilo” newspapers, where he receives more column inches than Shaft and, often, gives the impression that the trainer is the only game in town and, sometimes, that he even runs Hong Kong racing.
Nothing wrong with this as perception is everything and it follows a similar “PR strategy” when an Aussie racing editor named John Hardie, employed by the now-defunct STAR newspaper in Hong Kong wrote regular glowing peans and sycophantic odes to the Moore family.
Those who once worked with Hardie- a very humorless and secretive man about his personal life during those dark SIU days- vividly remember his headline- and not that of any sub-editor- which screamed, TONY CRUZ IS NOT THE GREATEST THING SINCE FRIED RICE, one of the more pitiful attempts to build up the Gary Moore brand for father George and “downgrade” the success of a talented young jockey named Tony Cruz.
Well, we know where that plan to boost the career of Gary Moore led at a time when many other racing reporters were also happy to be Kunta Kintes to a number of leading trainers like the great Ivan Allan.
A group of us were reminded of all this when reading the lead-up to the Dubai World Cup and the rather slim post-analysis.
Though much was written about The Thoughts Of John Moore and Joao Moreira- and very little, if anything, on the dismal performance of Military Attack- it was interesting how much more emphasis was placed in the influential Chinese Apple Daily on the win of Amber Sky and its celebrity owner in martial arts actor Sammo Hung.
Of course, the performance of Magic Moreira on the world stage was brilliant, but, in all the cheerleading- and very well deserved, too- let’s not forget just what a great job trainers Michael Chang and Ricky Yiu did with their charges.
Chang is a quiet gentleman achiever who has done a tremendous job with Rich Tapestry whereas Ricky Yiu has a proven track record that includes training such champion horses as Fairy King Prawn and Sacred Kingdom and who has taken pains to understand how to get to the bottom of Amber Sky. And it’s worked.
On the subject of Hong Hong’s successes in Dubai on the weekend, it’s a shame that nowhere have we read or seen anything on David Ferraris and what he achieved with the great Vengeance Of Rain on that memorable night when jockey Anthony Delpech won the Dubai Sheema Classic, surely one of this city’s greatest wins in one of the more prestigious races.
During the build-up to the Dubai World Cup, couldn’t Ferraris have been interviewed about what it feels like to win a big race like this?
Couldn’t that historic win been screened- somewhere- as part of the content leading to the running of the races from Dubai?
Sadly, horse racing is full of many with very short memories and with racing clubs forgetting about their own rich history and the very interesting content available at their fingertips.
The HKJC has brilliant content featuring the exploits of Vengeance Of Rain, Good Ba Ba, Silent Witness, Fairy King Prawn, Sacred Kingdom and all the great jockeys who have ridden here, all of which would make for an interesting television series to both the old-time hardcore racing fan and those new to racing and wishing to understand more about everything that’s come before.
But what’s been done with this content?
From what we know, it’s just more clutter randomly bunged into the buffet that is the HKJC website- and just left there with the mothballs as a distant memory.
Hong Kong racing has grown up and the weekend’s successes made it grow up even faster by introducing Joao Moreira to the world- a jockey who can very well be a new version of the old Frankie Dettori model- with the right marketing and sponsors.
The HKJC is the most successful and famous racing club in the world with a few good men and women who understand what needs to be done to not only stay a Group 1 winner- and with the need to keep improving the product.
Improving any product in any industry comes down to the basics- tone of communication, holistic marketing, being in total control of one’s destiny, and plain old commonsense.
It also means respecting the past, learning from mistakes and constantly pushing that envelope instead of letting things slide and moving on from the successes in Dubai as if they never happened.
That’s like, “Honey, I love you short time very long.”
Gawd knows, John Moore wouldn’t have wasted this opportunity to blow his own trumpet to everyone within earshot.
If his Military Attack and Dominant had won in Dubai, he would have paid for a ticker-tape parade which would have lasted for weeks.
Sometimes, one needs to blow their own trumpet ‘cos no one else is going to do it.