What many in racing are trying so desperately to do- connect with the next generation of race-goers-and others so transparently trying to jump on some bandwagon that doesn’t even exist and jockeying to be seen as visionaries is both laughable and kinda creepy.
The more dangerous are those self-proclaimed Oz- based do-gooders on twitter who see themselves as “vigilantes” and go half-cocked- and illiterate numbskulls- every time they lose with wild innuendos about successful trainers and their daft theories for this success along with criticism of rides that fall under libel and defamation about character. #Not smart.
In fact, it’s naive grand-standing- and for what? #A few followers- that includes some well-known riders who should know better?#dummies
Marketing, effective and strategic corporate communications, sponsorship marketing, use of social media, commonsense etc are all in short supply in racing clubs as, simply put, those in charge, are just not good enough.
Intelligence cannot be learnt and that global pool of racing executives from that derelict well are past their Use By Date with way too many having zero passion to bother about any “connectivity” with this new generation and are paying lip service only because the Big Guy is no longer prepared to suffer fools gladly and is demanding change.
What you have, therefore, are the lemmings and the ostriches with their heads buried in the sand and busy doing nothing other than getting in the way and over-complicating things while, in some cases we know, receiving hefty bonuses from turnover where they have contributed squat to wagering and to any upward spiral where it might be heading.
As for connecting with this next generation of race-goer, what racing clubs, their Dad’s Army of executives, ad agencies and survey groups fail miserably to understand is that there also exists a new generation of young athletes in racing today.
As we have always said, jockeys and trainers are people, too, and, puhleeeze don’t tell us that young guns like Tommy Berry, James McDonald, Jamie Kah, the Schmidt sisters, Umberto Rispoli, Maxime Guyon, Mikhael Barzalona, Kathy ‘O Hara- still a smoking hot gun in our books- Harry Coffey, er, Matthew Chadwick, Tye Angland, Chad Schofield, Jacqui Berriman, Adam Hyeronimus, Joao Moreira etc cannot work with and help racing clubs understand and connect with this next generation of racing fans- who, in many ways, share similar interests in fashion, music, cars, investments, clubs etc?
Oh, come now, here is a ready-made and relevant “consumer survey group”, and no one is asking them for their thoughts or weaving them into bona fide marketing programs?
Instead, it’s more corporate decisions based on second-guessing consumers and navel guessing and over-intellectualized and pseudo-intellectualized end results that constantly miss the mark.
The tail is madly wagging the dog and false media prophets are being elevated to stupid heights of Suckdom by old schoolers while clueless-and lazy- racing executives, who only care about ensuring they can con all of the people all of the time, remain oblivious to the fact that the mantra, But What Does He Actually DOOOOO? which has been asked for years, has now becoming a very loud battle cry.
And while these over-paid, over-fed, over-protected species keep being mollycoddled, the Them versus Us chasm becomes wider until racing reaches the tipping point the music industry reached twelve years ago.
This was when music companies lost all respect and credibility and relevance with music fans through tried to teach them to suck eggs and blackmail them into doing it their way or the highway.
Music fans chose the highway, created their DIY world and owned social media.
Racing is VERY close to this happening as many in racing clubs are disliked, which means racing clubs are disliked, and anything produced by them is seen by young race-goers as being outta sync with the times.
Many are as most racing executives- along with a very blinkered racing media- are simply not in the loop to stay ahead of the curve and realize that something like social media was tackled by music companies over a decade ago.
In 2014, racing clubs have had a Eureka Moment, stumbled on this “new” buzz phrase called “social media” and with the Great Uninformed tripping over each other to make up for lost time.
Hell, Tommy Berry, Neil Callan, Kathy O’Hara and a few others know far more about how to use social media than any, for example, racing club-created twitter account- always boring, always tepid Corporate Speak for the racing tragics and with not an Instagram account in sight.
Most racing clubs have not lost the plot about connecting with all the different customer segments under “newbies”.
They haven’t understood the plot in the first place and just dived in head-first well into the fourth act with the wrong team in place and no idea what steps to take.
Meanwhile, add another young gun to the Aussie riding ranks- Luke Dittman.
Apart from being the son of the legendary “Enforcer”- Mick Dittman- who it’s said, didn’t want his son following in his large footsteps, there is the fact that this apprentice has spent considerable time abroad and has a more universal understanding of the world than most young riders in Oz- and he rides well.
We- and many others- also think, the lad was absolutely robbed at Belmont over the weekend when he was first past the post on Trading Day, but had the race taken off him on protest through one of the worst cases of parochial and biased Stewardship- and Perth racing has seen many over the years- and which is why racing in Western Australia will never enter the main psyche of followers of the sport.
We gave Richard Burt, Chief Executive Officer of WA Racing, the benefit of the doubt when he was given this gig despite many who had worked with him writing the man off.
Now, we have to wonder if Burt cares more about his suits and hair than he does about the image of racing in WA.
The Trading Days controversy has put a huge dent on WA racing and turned Luke Dittman into a racing cause celebre- a tall lad, but then, so is the very good Tye Angland- and, perhaps, with all this change, we’re also seeing a different breed of young jockeys appearing on the scene and not needing to go through the physical slog the generations before them had to go through?
Mental toughness- as demonstrated so well over the past few months by Tommy Berry- a class act- is key- and if new riders have found ways not to savage and ravage their bodies through the rigors of wasting, well, about time as, in the end, health matters, and competing in a race is a big enough risk without having that body take a pounding to ride in a race before it finally caves in and riders having no retirement backup plans.
This is where the top European jockeys signed to the big stables and with an incentive scheme to have shares in the horses they ride that have stud value has meant a great “loyalty program” to have them stay put.
Going back in time, the great Lester Piggot had such an incentive going for him, but, Lester being Lester, failed to report this in his taxes and landed in the clink.
Michael Kinane, however, and his partnership with Sea The Stars, opened the doors to life after race riding without the only other option for jockeys who’ve ridden their last race being to take out a trainer’s license and go through a different type of stress and limited lifestyle or become a racing pundit on television.
On the subject of different career paths, the strike rate of the newly-formed tipping service- https://www.mickdittmanracing.com/ had a field day on the weekend with its on top selection in Race 11 in Singapore saluting at $14.60 and making very happy campers of many.
Mick (The Enforcer) Dittman is a brand and how he and those around him keep building and marketing this brand- and once the tipping service that carries his name starts looking at recruiting new members to punt on Hong Kong racing, is something we’ll be closely monitoring.
Co-mingling WILL happen and the question for Mick Dittman Racing is what A Team will be put together on the tipping front and if the site will go bilingual and open up an entirely new ballgame.
NEW STUFF FROM THE HK GOLD FISH BOWL.
As we all know by now, the gold fish bowl world of Hong Kong racing where everyone at Shatin Heights seem to be living in each other’s pockets results in a rumor a day.
For months, Chief Stipe Kim Kelly has been “leaving” to take up a similar post in his hometown of Queensland.
But offers don’t stay open forever and so, while this rumor has become a hum, the LOUD rumor over the past month has been about changes within the Stipes “club”.
If correct, some we know hope this leads to a bigger role for Stipe Philip Dingwall, who has always had the respect of many in the local racing game.
Frankly, we always wonder what the HKJC would be without Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges. It’s a scary thought.
Hong Kong racing and dreams of anything to do with horses in China without E.B?
As one trainer put it, “That won’t be nearly fine.”
Meanwhile, some wags were mentioning that the riders on show at Shatin on Sunday confused them as to whether this was a Randwick race meeting and how all that was missing was Chris Waller and the horrendous tipping of the fawning The Fat Man.
In one race there were SIX Sydney-based riders while others were asking if Hong Kong had forgotten a city named Melbourne and the jockeys down there- new names like Chad Schofield, Jye McNeil, below, Damien Lane and even the established Luke Nolan as opposed to the usual suspects- many of whom would not be welcomed back to Hong Kong.
We’d vote for Domenic Tourneur- and, a year from now, Timmy Bell, both pictured below.
They left after taking their pound of flesh out of this city and remain pariahs to local punters and the Chinese media for that well-circulated $100,000 a tip “business model”. All lies, of course.
For us, we were drawn to trainer John Moore’s calculated line to the SCMP after the win of What You Dream ridden by Hugh Bowman that he has that wonderful choice of having “two of the three best jockeys in Australia in Hong Kong”- Bowman and Tommy Berry.
So, who is the third, John?
Damien Oliver? Nash Rawiller? James McDonald? Neil Paine?