Last season, we did our best to try and make you see that blindly betting on win/place bets was not exactly the way to enjoy those Happy Wednesday Nights at Happy Valley Racecourse.
Following your favorite jockeys- mainly Brazilian Joao Moreira in every Jockey Challenge- paid off dividends.
Some of you also discovered that there is life at The Beer Garden- and life AFTER it in venues like Adrenaline and the Gallery at Happy Valley and, especially, the superb Millions on the third floor of Entrance C which was opened for three Happy Wednesday Nights where one could cross-bet in a style never had before.
Long may the Millions Cross-betting Experience Prosper.
With a few months left before the 2014-15 racing season starts up, below are some tips on how to learn more about the sport while for those who wish to improve their experience at the track and hold a winning advantage, provided is riveting information that might make your head spin faster than Linda Blair’s did in “The Exorcist”.
*Don’t go to the races in Happy Valley or Shatin this week, next week, or next month, ok? There are no races.
The new racing season starts on September 14 at Shatin while racing at Happy Valley revs up at the revamped city track on October 22.
If the mood strikes you and you’re lost as what to do on a Wednesday night, you can always go to the Happy Valley track and stare at this great big gaping hole just past the winning post.
* Learn how to read and understand that very BIG board in the middle of the racetrack with all those numbers all over the place that looks like an arrival and departure board at the airport.
These numbers are the odds for all the different ways you can pick horses to try and win, and, yes, if you have no idea what these ways of winning are and how they work, this board lit up like the alien starship from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind is only good to stare at and trip out on into the unknown.
This big bright board is NOT called Field Of Dreams. This is called a TOTALISATOR board, the first one being created by William Brownie Garden when, we guess, he had too much time on his hands, and, no, we have no idea either why it couldn’t be called Field Of Dreams though Mr Garden built it and many come to stare at it as if it had magic powers.
* Spend the next few months studying all betting slips, how to fill these out, and then find a friend to pretend to be a Telebet operator and practice how to place your bets by speaking calmly and clearly.
* We’ve told you this SOOOOO many times, but as you still ask, if a horse you’ve picked to come first, comes second, you win nothing despite how close it might have been.
Similarly, if you pick, let’s say, number 4 to win, and either numbers 3 or 5 win, you get nothing for picking a number “close to 4”.
* A Six Up has nothing to do with a 7-UP. A Six Up is trying to win often very big money by picking horses to come first or second in the last six races of a race meeting.
A 7-Up with a triple vodka is usually needed if your horse comes third in the last race of your Six Up.
* Try and get the private numbers of every top racing executive.
These will come in handy if completely lost at the races about what to bet on, where to bet, needing to know why jockeys wear such LOUD looking blouses, where to get a decent pizza etc.
But be careful: Some racing executives we know are more clueless than you are about almost everything except where to find a pizza. And a beer.
* Jockeys are not allowed to bet. This is a Big No No- but their wives, girlfriends, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, children- if over 18- can.
No, jockeys are not allowed to bet because they’re too busy riding horses. Au contraire. They’re not allowed to bet as this is Against The Rules Of Racing. Yes, these Rules are like The Ten Commandments, but, no, God did not create them.
God doesn’t have such a goofy sense of humor.
* We’ve told you this before- and we’ll tell you again: What you think are blouses or pajamas are called SILKS and, apparently, goes back to medieval times when knights jousted wearing armour emblazoned with various emblems.
Why are they called SILKS? No idea. Maybe because they’re made from silk?
Every horse owner has their own “colours”, or silks, which jockeys MUST wear when riding that owner’s horse or horses.
No, they cannot refuse to wear silks they might deem to be unfashionable, uncool or just plain tarty and offensive to Joan Rivers and The Fashion Police.
Can you redesign an owner’s silks? No.
* Know that space-age looking table at the venue called Adrenaline at Happy Valley Racecourse that looks like something outta the Starship Enterprise?
Don’t lie on top of it, and expect Scotty to beam you up.
This is an IBU table and is stored with information to help you understand various ways of winning at the sport.
There are always some very nice ladies around these table who are Racing Experts and able to answer questions and show you where to insert your Smart card.
* Unlike football, biting during a race is not permitted though it must be noted that some jockeys have nicknamed tough Irish jockey Neil Callan, pictured below with wife Trish, “Suarez”.
* Jockey are, sometimes, known as riders, but, no, the term “jockey” has nothing to do with Jockey underwear.
Jockeys are usually between 4′ 10″ and 5’6″ and weigh around 108 to 118 lbs, and need to control horses weighing around 1,200 pounds and traveling at 40mph.
Riding in Hong Kong until late last season was one of the tallest jockeys in the sport- Tye Angland- who dwarfed over many horse owners and often looked like author Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver in Lilliputh.
Alas, he never rode a horse named Jonathan Swift, which, we think would be a great name for a stallion, or, okay, a gelding- a male horse that has been castrated to make it better-behaved and focused during a race instead of running after fillies.
* Spend the next few months trying to be a race-caller by watching replays of all races with the sound switched off. When the new racing season begins, impress your friends with this new talent.
* Riding in Hong Kong are jockeys from Brazil, South Africa, Mauritius, Austria, Italy, the UK, France, Hong Kong and, yes, from Australia.
In fact, Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira was voted Hong Kong’s Most Popular Jockey for the 2013/2014 season.
Yes, Australian jockey Zac Purton- and a damn fine jockey, he is, too- won his first Hong Kong Premiership last season- and thoroughly well-deserved.
South African riding legend Douglas Whyte had previously won this title for thirteen consecutive years- with little or no fanfare- and before him, another long-serving Hong Kong champion from South Africa named Basil Marcus- something seemingly lost to some swept up in the din of the “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” chant of parochial chest pounding and trying to create unnecessary childish bad vibes. Bummer, man, bummer.
* Spend an afternoon with champion trainer Caspar Fownes listening to his bang-on impersonations of trainers David Ferraris, Tony Millard, Tony Cruz and John Moore, jockeys Douglas Whyte, Karis Teetan and The Zac Attack, HKJC CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges and the local Chinese punter looking for “sooo-er weeens”.
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