THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF THE MOREIRA FACTOR

By Hans Ebert

Not even the constant drizzle over Sha tin could rain on Joao Moreira’s parade. He couldn’t be stopped from showing the world his happiness- pumping his fist in the air, whooping it up, giving everyone his signature thumbs up sign (with accompanying smile), and when it all became too much, an emotional release with his wife that many of us understood or felt. It gave the sport a new sense of soul and sincerity.

When he thanked the entire John Moore team and, especially God for this win, only the most callous could not have been moved.

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BRING ON HONG KONG’S STAR WARS: THE 2017 BMW HONG KONG DERBY

By Hans Ebert

It’s Star Wars this afternoon starring the best four year old gallopers to make the grade in Hong Kong. After months of wondering who’ll make the cut, weeks of reading about the runners’ chances from their trainers, and much internalising and analysing and debate between racing fans and friends, we’ll know by around 3.40pm this afternoon who’s won the 2017 BMW Hong Kong Derby.

As usual, John Moore has the strength in numbers for the race with his Rapper Dragon described by many as a past the post winner.

On paper and from the lead up work and jockey Joao Moreira doing a little salsa when the barrier draws were announced, the Rapper definitely looks more Eminem than Vanilla Ice and it would take giant cajones to bet against him. But there’s quite a strong crew out there that will be doing just that: Betting against him.

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KAT, THE CAT AND THE TALE OF TWO COETZEES

(Courtesy of Fast Track)

By Hans Ebert

They couldn’t be more different. He’s soft spoken, reserved, and almost restrained. It’s all very disciplined, no doubt something ingrained in him from a very young age when an apprentice at the prestigious South African Riding Academy.

In Hong Kong, Felix Coetzee is known for his wonderful partnership with Hong Kong’s greatest race horse- Silent Witness. There’s even a statue in their honour. You don’t get one of those for nothing.

Together with Tony Cruz, they were the C Team that was The A Team- a champion trainer who was a legendary jockey working with one of the greatest judges of pace when it came to race riding. Three legends of the turf.

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THE FAKE NEWS ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

“FAKE NEWS” SURFACES IN VICTORIAN RACING

Imitation is not always the greatest form of flattery. And it took less than 24 hours for the Herald Sun’s own version of “fake news” to be exposed for what it was – a front pager on Sunday morning with the by-line of Victorian racing’s intellectual colossus Matt Stewart, below, reporting on “discussions between senior Victorian racing officials” centred around recalibrating Spring carnival racing dates and a shift of the Melbourne Cup date away from its traditional “first Tuesday in November”.

No, it wasn’t April Fools Day, although many in racing fell for the Herald-Sun’s feeble attempt at getting a cheap laugh in one of the pubs in the city’s suburban bogansville. As was expected, there were no names or titles of the quoted faux “officials” who were allegedly giving serious thought to a fabrication of grand proportions. But then, who in their right mind would have been a willing accomplice to having their sanity questioned by having their names associated with such a puerile piece of “d-grade” fiction?

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THE AUSTRALIAN CHINESE JOCKEY CLUB: A WIN WIN SITUATION

By Hans Ebert

It was a timely idea- perhaps even overdue by about five years- and one that can only help turnover and attendance in racing in Australia along with the enjoyment of ownership syndicates of horses by attracting Chinese to the sport.

Wait: Make that more Chinese, because, away from the almost ceaseless talk of “the punt”, some of the most cash-rich players in horse racing in Australia are Chinese. There’s Sun International Racing, formerly Eliza Park, with its roots deeply imbedded in the casino business in Macau. There’s horse owner and full-time billionaire Pan Sutong, below, who bought Lindsay Park and renamed it Goldin Farms. Pan Sutong buys just about anything that moves- vineyards in Napa Valley and Bordeaux, more and more horses, and is adamant about introducing polo and lawn bowls to Mainland China. Yes, lawn bowls.

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OUR BOOMING DELIGHT FOR SAM CLIPPERTON.. AT ROSEHILL

(Courtesy of Fast Track)

By Hans Ebert

There must have been a helluva loud whoop of delight from his muchos supporters in Oz and Hong Kong when Sam Clipperton won the second race at Rosehill yesterday on the Snowden-trained Artistry, beating favourite Dothraki in the process.

There was an even louder whoop when his ride on Silent Sedition had to settle for a very close second at pretty big odds to the Tye Angland ridden Heavens Above in the Group 1 Rosehill Coolmore Classic, Angland being another name well-known to Hong Kong racing fans after his successful seasons riding here around the same time as The Hobbit- Tim Clark, below, who’s riding at the top of his game.

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THE THOUGHTLESS ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

CAULFIELD CUP CHANGE: A NOT WELL THOUGHT OUT BUBBLE…

It is easy to see the commonality between the “Everest” concept and Melbourne Racing Club’s proposed change to make its signature race – the 2400 metres Caulfield Cup- a weight for age contest from its present Handicap conditions. Both have been conceived in haste as “thought bubbles”. Neither have been thought through before being foisted on an unsuspecting Australian racing community with a degree of contempt and parading the dysfunctional state of racing for all the world to see.

Like the Everest announcement, the MRC decision lacks any important sequential detail in race programming and scheduling during Victorian racing’s most important time of the year – the Spring Racing Carnival.

And judging by the responses from the other two Metropolitan Race Clubs and Country Racing (remember them?), and the governing body Racing Victoria and Trainers, there appears to have been precious little consultation on the MRC thought bubble.

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MOREIRAMANIA!

By Hans Ebert

We understand that a few songs might have been going through the heads of some jockeys while sitting in the jockeys room shell-shocked after Joao Moreira’s Magnificent 8 at Shatin last Sunday. The names of the songs? Probably, “There’s A Kind Of Hush”, “The Sounds Of Silence”, and “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place”.

What no one can get away from, not even those angry illiterate “racing analyzers” on Twitter with their vitriol runneth over so much that their rants read like schoolboy petulance combined with old age shrinkage, is fobbing off Joao Moreira as just another very good jockey. He’s more than that and numbers and achievements don’t lie.

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Posted in Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, JOAO MOREIRA | 6 Comments

IS CRICKET HONG KONG BEING HONG KONG ENOUGH?

By Hans Ebert

(Courtesy of Fast Track)

Some of us learned to play cricket in our backyards. Some of us had to make do with a plank of wood for a bat and bowled with a ball made of socks or a coconut husk before ever holding a real cricket ball. And how good did gripping that cricket ball for the first time feel?

There was then the idol worship of watching local cricket heroes play. Those batsmen were knights in shiny whites with their gloves and pads standing up to warriors running down the pitch and hurling missiles their way. The knights would duck away from these bouncers, keep the googlies out and seize every opportunity to drive, cut, late cut and simply wallop that ball over the fence for six.

And then, there you were, suddenly at the centre of a real cricket pitch- bowling, batting, fielding and understanding how the game all came together. Some of us had mentors who fine-tuned whatever strengths we had and introduced us to cricketing legends like Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott, Frank Worrell- all those wonderful cricketers from the Caribbean who played their own version of the game.

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HAS RACE CALLER ANTHONY MANTON GONE AND SOLD HIS SOUL?

By Hans Ebert

When does a reality show become an unreality show? Guess when one of those appearing in one is popular young race caller Anthony Manton.

How does a race caller become part of a reality show called “Married At First Sight”? Guess when the race caller is Anthony Manton.

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