JAMES MATHERS AND HIS THANK YOU NOTE TO PETER V’LANDYS

Sunday morning at Kincumber: I was strolling through the hardware store and bumped into an old colleague Dave Hodgson. He was looking for something to do with irrigation and we quickly started to chat about bores, flow rates, water quality and pumps; all interesting stuff to those of us “down under” concerned about water. At one point in his life, Dave was in charge of the tracks at the AJC and is now employed by RNSW to oversee all the tracks and infrastructure at racecourses and training centres in New South Wales. Dave is a great guy, a really open and honest person. He’s a “dinky di” Aussie.

He opened with a comment and a grin…. “I see you didn’t get elected to the board of the ATC”. I said “no”, ” Maybe I didn’t try hard enough and I tend to upset a few people with some of my comments, however I don’t apologise for that” .He was still grinning and then said “at least you speak the truth”. That was nice …I still wasn’t elected.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, Peter V'landys, Racing NSW | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

READY FOR A BIG RACE DAY OUT AT HAPPY VALLEY?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

The only day meeting of the season at Happy Valley with four senior riders sitting out suspensions- Joao Moreira, Karis Teetan, Brett Prebble and Chad Schofield- and everything pointing out to a Big Day Out for Zac Purton, Nash Rawiller and The Poon Train.

There really doesn’t seem to be any reason to look elsewhere other than perhaps to leave for Sri Lanka for Lithuania and be the Wolf Of Wall Street for the next week.

Today’s race meeting looks to be quite a drab affair, there’s no Happy Wednesday and next weekend sees an all-weather meeting at Shatin.

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Posted in Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, JOAO MOREIRA, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE CRAIG WILLIAMS INCIDENT: WHO’S TO BLAME?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

On Friday night at Moonee Valley, a disgruntled punter talked through his pockets by opening his mouth and spitting at Craig Williams after the jockey lost The Manikato Stakes aboard the short priced favourite Vega Magic. Who was this person? Was he charged? Was he suspended for life from attending any sports event anywhere in the world? Hope so though news has been sketchy. And here’s lies a problem all its own: Unless these louts are named and shamed, incidents like these will continue to rear their ugly heads again and again.

It’s like “marketing geniuses” in racing in Australia dragging out dear old Daryl Braithwaite for one more rendition of “The Horses” when the Moonee Valley Racing Club was given- for FREE- a song written specifically for Winx. After approving the demo, the writers spent time and money to the tune of AUS$12,000 to record a final version of the song which was sent immediately to the club. Then came a Roaring Silence before the Big Runaround by the Moonee Valley Racing Club and others associated with the club including- please don’t laugh- asking if the HKJC could be involved in promoting this song. Huh? The email exchange we have on this subject makes for riveting reading. Nudge nudge, Winx Winx.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LIKE DJANGO, HORSE RACING UNCHAINED…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Synchronicity happens for a reason. It’s like playing mental Snap. The night earlier, South African based racing writer and friend Robyn Louw was talking about how she feels the sport could do a better job of promoting and marketing its own heroes before bringing in celebrities for cameo appearances. What prompted the conversation was Usain Bolt being flown in to add some extra marquee value to one of South Africa’s biggest races, The Sun Met, and Robyn quite rightly wondering, And then what?

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, JOAO MOREIRA, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE MAGIC MAN RUNS OUTTA RABBITS AT CAULFIELD

Yesterday’s Caulfield Cup Day was a huge big day out for the team of Adrian Bott and the always upbeat even when she should be downbeat Gai Waterhouse, who trained three WONDERFUL winners, Darren Weir who trained a quartet and the Hayes-Dabernig team who trained Cup winner Boom Time for the hardly well-known young rider Corey Parish. It was great for the young hoop, but the race was otherwise appalling replete with team riding that went horribly wrong and some rides that should not be entertained on a race day that’s one of the biggest in the Australian racing calendar. Boom Boom and Bang Bang and Oingo Boingo, Lloyd Williams.

It was also a great day for the very much in-form Stephen Baster who rode a double for Lady GaiGai and Damian Lane who chimed in with a brilliant treble for the Weir camp.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, JOAO MOREIRA, The horse racing industry, Tony Cruz | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CONQUERING HORSE RACING’S GREAT DIVIDE

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

It’s been asked here before and it will keep being asked as time is running out: Why can’t horse racing, meaning racing clubs, attract good creative talent- creative in all its many ways where management and people skills intermingle with strategic thinking and The Art Of War.

Having good horse racing executives is one thing, and even here, it’s too often a bit of pot luck as some of those who get manage to pass the litmus test keep failing, but are still kept on because misery loves company and they all blend into one soufflé of blobby ineptitude.

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Posted in HAPPY WEDNESDAY, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, JOAO MOREIRA, The horse racing industry, WINFRIED ENGELBRECHT-BRESGES | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HONG KONG HORSE RACING: WHAT A LONG AND STRANGE RIDE IT’S BEEN

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

My aunt and uncle were the only racing fans in the family though family friends were loyal supporters of the sport in Hong Kong. My father would always remind me that Ceylon, where we came from, was, with India, the first country in Asia to have professional horse racing and where an Australian jockey named Ted Fordyce, below, ruled the racecourse in Colombo.

Years later, when George Moore returned to Macau via Hong Kong, whenever we would meet, he would tell me the same thing, adding that Ted Fordyce, below, was known to him as The Railwayman. After that it would be some story about Lester Piggott that could never be published. Old George could impersonate Lester better than anyone.

The sometimes locked down memory bank was jolted open when explaining to a friend that unlike her and her friends, no one living in Hong Kong has grown up around horses. We’re not “horsey people” and don’t have that passion for horses that often spills over into horse racing and, these days, discussing horse racing on social media. Seen any farms and open pastures recently in Hong Kong with kids riding horses?

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Posted in Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH ISSUE

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

It can’t be said often enough: Derek KC Leung is the most improved rider in Hong Kong. Now let’s lose the term “local” when describing him as he really deserves some opportunities overseas, perhaps starting with a chance to ride in Perth though some who know good from average when it comes to riding believes he can hold his own with the top five riders in Sydney.

That’s a big call, but maybe this should be shouted loud while losing that “local” tag which can often be an albatross.

If into stats, Derek Leung’s strike rate in October is close to 18 percent and watching him ride, he gives everything he’s onboard every possible chance. On Wednesday, he rode another winner- a very good ride to win on Ho Ho Feel on a night where there were some rides that looked to veer towards the strange side of the Blue Velvet fence.

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Posted in Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, JOAO MOREIRA, JOHN MOORE, The horse racing industry, Tommy Berry, www.fasttrack.hk, zac purton | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FASHIONISTAS: THE EVOLUTION OF THE HAPPY WEDNESDAY BRAND CONTINUES…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

First there was the Beer Garden. Of course, before everything, there was Happy Valley racecourse and the horse racing, but that Beer Garden became an oasis- a magnet for food, fun and thundering hooves that brought people together. It transformed the face of racing. It put a smile on its face and got rid of the wrinkles.

As people needed something more to occupy their time between those twentysomething minutes between the races, there was the added attraction of ‘live’ music. Horse racing suddenly became more entertaining.

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Posted in HAPPY WEDNESDAY, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

HAPPY WEDNESDAY AND THE RACE CREATED TO DERAIL THE RACE THAT STOPS A NATION

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

What always makes me queasy is when the Racing Twitterverse led by the usual cheerleaders in Hong Kong jump the gun and over-hype horses and, sometimes, new riding talent.

Over the years, we’ve seen it with Matthew Chadwick, the mysterious disappearing act of Divine Calling, which, the last time we looked, was still with Fred Kersley in Perth, Jing Jing Win, Kei Chiong, and the enigmatic Pakistan Star.

Speaking of which, does anyone else out there think that the horse just doesn’t want to race and even if he does that no one will back him? Perhaps recruiting Monty Roberts aka “The Horse Whisperer” might be a last resort?

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Posted in HAPPY WEDNESDAY, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment