What a strange few days it’s been for the world. There was Metallica performing in Hong Kong on Friday night during which time America was swearing in its 45th President who started off by describing the Obamas as being “magnificent” before making an abrupt U-turn and raging against the White House machinery, and proclaiming that he was the saviour of the people for the people by the people Really? Was this Bane back to destroy Gotham City? Where was Batman?
The world watched in a combination of shock, horror, confusion, fear, anger and wondering how to put this orange genie back into the bottle. Yesterday, while many were watching the United States of America come apart at the seams with battle lines being drawn, many around the world walked the walk and went on a Women’s March.
The Orange One was oblivious to all this. He was attending the National Prayer Service at Washington National Cathedral.
Today in Hong Kong, at least some of us can switch off, go to Shatin and see whether Rapper Dragon wins the Group 1 Classic Mile, or if a new Pakistan Star arrives along with more merchandise and blows his competition away.
Thank goodness for sports- the Australian Open, hugely respected sports heroes like Roger Federer, and all those interludes we have been given to take our minds away from the madness going on in the world.
So, win, lose or draw, enjoy this afternoon’s races at Shatin. Discuss the results. Celebrate the wins. Laugh. Never lose your sense of humour. And thank our racing heroes for taking us away from the darkness for even a few hours, and shining a light of positivity in our direction.
We need this to gather our human resolve to do what we can to create a better world. And in its small way, a day at the races can help. It really can.
THE THREE AMIGOS WALK A CLASSIC MILE TO SHATIN…
A 1000 metre sprint down the Shatin straight where many will be looking for those drawn the outside barriers- the closest way home unless caught up in a traffic jam, or trying to avoid apprentice Dylan Mo having steering problems.
While the learner apprentice is not in this race, all we can do is wait for The Poon Train- apprentice Matthew Poon, below with Kei Chiong- to return to Hong Kong after what has been a hugely successful two year learning experience for the extremely talented young rider in Adelaide.
This kid is a star like La Bamba in Adelaide, and he certainly won’t need to be hunting for rides when he returns to Hong Kong in July. He’ll hit the ground running- and winning- and will be the most exciting local rider we’ve had here since Matthew Chadwick.
As for this race, some in Hong Kong will be hoping that Tommy Berry can deliver on Victory Music (9) after they took a terrible beating at Randwick yesterday when his ride, the very heavily backed Hawkes runner Eden Roc, struggled to run second to Exceeds ridden by the Lasqueti Spirit of El Brenton Avdulla, surely the best rider in Sydney these days.
Frankly, it was a nightmare day at Randwick if part of the flying squad of muchachos from Hong Kong that made a quick trip to the land down under on Thursday night hoping to clean up on all the good things being tipped for Saturday…starting with a bang with Eden Roc. The only things many were cleaning up before taking that quiet nine hour trip back home were buckets of tears. The Postman failed to deliver the quesadillas. Aye yai yai, bambinos, but we have to hold our bellies and do a little dance and get down right now.
Getting back to this curtain raiser, there are seven debutants, and we’ll just Keep Moving (6) with El Callano aka The Iron Man.
Señor Joao should dictate terms and take this out on Right Call (1), but don’t leave Rattan (4) out of your tierces and taco fillings. His trainer Richardo Montalban Gibson has been having all kinds of problemos these days with scams, hacking of computers and nasty fake news. But the last run of Rattan was too good to miss, and if Who Dat Singa makes all the right noises at his second start, Ricardo could be back welcoming guests on Fantasy Island with Tattoo. Da plane! Da plane!
Not our favourite race with only two horses- make that one- King Winsa (6) with Brett Prebble up, and who’s finally getting the stable support he deserves and once had. What’s good for the quinella, burrito etc? Apart from Plain Blue Banner (3), it’s muchos confusing.
The first leg of the Triple Trio, and as usual, it’s a wobbly one to get straight. CP Power (8) should run into the first three placings whereas with Nash Rawiller back after what seems like an eternity in the rancheros of suspensions, don’t be surprised to see those arms working- and woking- overtime and unleashing Wild Boy (1) down the outside like an avalanche of fried rice with plenty of hot tamale sauce.
For those who throw caution to the wind along with facts and figures and the nattering of Twitter tipsters, include the John Size-trained first starter named Nothingilikemore (7) which will be ridden by a Moore- a Ryan Moore. Hello, amigo Ryan.
The first leg of the Six Up where there are around seven winning chances- maybe even fourteen. It’s one of those races where nothing will surprise.
Another 1000 metre dash where Super Wise (6) will be a short priced favourite- but a vulnerable one. Frankly, we’re wondering what antics first starter Big Flash (7) might get up to.
Quelle supris- Monsieur Gerald Mosse is back for this meeting, and with his great judge of pace, it would not be a surprise to see him win on Packing Dragon (7) at reasonably good odds.
The danger is the John Moore-trained Basic Trilogy (2) which has been very unlucky not to win his last two outings. Maybe it walked under a trilogy of ladders?
The exciting DB Pin tackles 1200 metres in Shatin for the first time and looks a class above the opposition here. But should it have any problems going around the Mercedes bends, the only dangers are Water Diviner (11), Keen Venture (10) and Merion (1), which could have done with a better ride last time out. And really now, can racing writers give the term “Rakegate” a nice siesta when mentioning DB Pin? Haven’t they heard the Fat Lady sing?
The HK$10 million Group 1 Classic Mile and what a great lineup of four-year-olds- the best four-year-olds assembled in Hong Kong in a very long time. Having said this, it’s hard to go past Rapper Dragon, the Snoop Dogg and Wu Tang Clan of Hong Kong racing. And when Señor Joao gets breathless talking about the horse and cannot contain his ear to ear grin, it speaks to us like Julio Iglesias singing, “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before”.
The co-stars? Take your pick- Beauty Generation, Eagle Way, Pakistan Star with this time, new rider Sylvestre de Sousa aboard, and John Size calling on Ryan Moore for his runner Western Express. Trainers John Moore, below, and Tony Cruz saddle up eleven of the fourteen runners engaged.
On the subject of Señor Sylvestre de Sousa, it made for interesting and entertaining viewing having him be the special guest this week, and break a few tortillas with those other Three Amigos hosting that ground-breaking tipping show produced with no expenses spared -Raging Bull To Win.
Though already muchos exciting with smooth talking Amigo Andrew Le Jeune, below, apparently a former member of Menudo, opening each segment with a smile that brings to mind Norman Bates and the shower scene from “Psycho”, it might be an idea for Amigo “Dilly” Lally to take a leaf from the book of tipsters in the racing twitterverse and scream out “BOOOOOOM” when tipping his Best Bets. Just a thought. Either that or turn the programme into a ‘live’ broadcast from the Argentinian steak house called Pampas while sitting on burros.
And for those who’ve asked, No, we have no idea why the theme song for the programme that refuses to die sounds like a mariachi version of “Band On The Run”.
A bit of an anti climax after the previous race. And if not making an early getaway to beat the traffic, or need to quickly get your leg over, this is a fairly interesting Class 3 affair d’amore for the simple reasons that it is the last leg of the Six Up, Treble and third Double Quinella. There could also be a hefty Quartet payout if a couple of roughies run up your jeans and into the first four.
Of course the horse to beat is House Of Fun (5) after its incredible wind-assisted (beans? Blazing Saddles?) last start win. Having said this, Señor Sylvestre de Sousa looked as if he had swallowed Tweety when asked about the chances of his ride Time Warp, the first starter from the Tony Cruz yard. That’s got to go in. Señor Sylvestre also looks like he wouldn’t mind coming to Hong Kong for a long stay at the Shatin Heights ranchero.
Race 9: Rapper Dragon
Race 8: DB Pin (7)
Race 7: Packing Dragon (7)