WINXELLENT, HUGHIE!!!

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you, sometimes, one monkey don’t stop no show, and then there are those special days when one extraordinary horse saves a country’s entire weekend of racing.

Yes, yes, spring is in the air in Australia, the Melbourne Spring Carnival is around the corner, and it’s great to see some very good equine talent make giant strides through their reappearances, but last Saturday, and when so many we know expected so much in the way of winning on the punt, only to have much crashing and burning around them, the one and only salvation was the win of Winx. Hallelujah.

How would one describe this win? Breathtaking? Not good enough. A sense of nationalistic pride? Definitely. But the win was more than a litany of superlatives. Yes, it was great for racing, but also much more which really can’t be put into words.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

HORSE RACING NEEDS A SHARP NEW SUIT

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

And so, I’m writing this standing on the edge of a feather expecting to fly, and looking down from a precipice of self truths. They’re just words, but maybe they reach someone. Maybe there are some answers even if the main subject matter is what we have come to know as horse racing.

Firstly, I am not a horse racing fanatic nor a horse racing professional. Of course I have a handful of friends in the industry and enjoy a bet. If your horse wins, it wins, and if it doesn’t, there’s no point dwelling on it, so one goes searching for inspiration. At least that’s what one does in Hong Kong. Us “gambling mad Asians” are careful about how much of this “insanity” to allow in. As we keep reminding ourselves, there’s more to life than horse racing. What we make of this life is up to us, but as with anything, it’s about finding that balance and searching out new adventures.

Sometimes, these searches end up where you never wanted to go, but there’s usually some positivity around the corner if one looks hard enough. But what about horse racing as it gallops into the future? Who’ll be coming along for the ride? And what is there today in the way of inspiration to attract existing race goers, let alone those who might find the sport interesting enough to visit and then stay on- and play on? What’s there in this world of over-supply and demand today to make that pilgrimage to a racetrack worthwhile?

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

THE INS AND OUTS OF THE NEXT HONG KONG RACING SEASON

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

If only his family enjoyed the hectic Hong Kong lifestyle more, it would be great to have Tim Clark aka The Hobbit back riding here. There’s no one riding winners more regularly in Sydney right now than The Hobbit. But the odds of him returning for even a three month stint are as slim as a group hug between trainer Sean Woods and the Licensing Board of the HKJC. Yes, it really is that slim.

Still, time waits for no one and the new Hong Kong racing season is already less than a month away- a season that promises to be one of much interest and change, on and off the track.

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Posted in brett prebble, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS RACING.COM GALLOPING TO AND WITH WHO BY ITS SIDE?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

We’re not quite getting it. Then again, it’s been a long time since we understood how exactly racing in Victoria works. Or continues to unravel with no signs of a knight in shiny armour to put out the raging fire, not to mention the raging bull that’s been swept under the carpet ever since the word COBALT reared its many ugly heads.

It’s not exactly game changing stuff compared to the Cobalt Blues, the Moodie Blues, or the financials from the three codes of Victorian racing and its strange joint venture with the elephant in the room known as Tabcorp, but Sammy Hyland, below, being jocked off from his post race interviews on horse back will probably illicit a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders by some. It really shouldn’t.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, Peter V'landys | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TripAdvisor and Hong Kong’s latest attraction: Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley Racecourse!

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Disneyland and Ocean Park, supposedly two of the most popular tourist destinations in the city didn’t make it, but the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Sha Tin racecourse, and, especially its Happy Wednesday brand at Happy Valley, were recently awarded a 2017 Certificate Of Excellence by the hugely popular global website TripAdvisor.

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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 , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DEPRESSION AND WHY THE HORSE RACING INDUSTRY SHOULD BE FIGHTING IT

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Sadly, many- too many- who are leaders of the horse racing industry are hardly great role models. Some have allowed their self-serving agendas to create a divisive and dysfunctional industry with the future looking hardly bright while others have paid off to make problems go away. And unlike how what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, in this online world of “engagement” and “sharing”, news travels fast. If one racing club messes up, every other racing club gets tarred with the same brush and are “guilty” through association.

Add to this those who despite not having any clout to change a thing, decide to opine in 140 words or less about the state of an industry they know nothing about from a business point of view. These quacks and flaccid keyboard warriors are hardly the people to help put Humpty Dumpty back together again. All they do is drag the image of horse racing through the mud thinking they’re saving the sport by revealing its faults. Often these “faults” arise only about talking through one’s pocket.

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Posted in Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

JAMES MATHERS WRITES IN ABOUT HIS BEAUTIFUL DREAM FOR CANTERBURY RACECOURSE

I went to bed earlier this week somewhat confused. I was having difficulty understanding the ATC’s decision to spend about $3 million on a synthetic track at Canterbury racecourse, a racecourse where the only horses trained are those in quarantine….only the odd horse, primarily from Japan..

I woke up the next morning and realised that I had a dream, a nice dream. There were lots of familiar faces in the dream, a number of fabulous horses such as my favourite Chautauqua, a number of well-known trainers and jockeys, a number of prominent racing officials and owners, just a number of people. Michelle Payne featured as did my old mate Guy Walter with his chirpy but suspecting smile.

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Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

GOT THE HONG KONG POST RACING SEASON BLUES, MAN?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

It’s Wednesday, but it’s not a Happy Wednesday. It’s a Rainy Wednesday. And, like a Carpenters song, Rainy Wednesdays without races always get me down while I walk around talking to myself and getting old. Sometimes, I like to quit, nothing ever seems to fit, yes, Rainy Wednesdays without races always get me down.

Worse: it’s going to be six long weeks before the new racing season starts again on September 3 at Sha Tin.

We were so happy last Sunday watching Joao, Zac, The Poon Train and others ride winners and then jump for joy to grab a handful of plushies. So many plushies this season with many of us waiting for Poon Train plushy and the banging of gongs to start the 2017/18 horse racing season.

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Posted in HAPPY WEDNESDAY, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PETER V’LANDYS AND HORSE RACING’S OWN GAME OF THRONES

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

It’s taken a long and winding whirlybird route to get to where it is now. From being a copy of America’s Pegasus race, and through numerous changes that continue today, Peter V’landys, the Racing NSW supremo, honorary Sherpa, and Sir Edmund Hillary of Australian racing, has made his (?) Everest race a slot machine reality. We must applaud this effort. We’ll also gladly eat humble pie along with our initial cynicism and suspicion about the race. Wait: the cynicism remains.

Though The Everest, where the goalposts are constantly being moved, and, to some. still has more holes attached it than a spin wheel dryer in a Macau-based Chinese laundromat, the race will attempt to scale lofty new heights with the end result- a three year climb- definitely going to be interesting as The Man Who Would Be King continues his Long March to control all of racing in the land down under.

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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

WHERE ARE HORSE RACING’S DEFIANT ONES?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Whether we want to or not, social media has not only entered our lives, in some instances, it’s taken them over with seemingly no end in sight. We’re becoming, or have already become slaves to technology without even knowing it.

The music industry, for example, never saw it coming despite file sharing site Napster rearing its head and testing the waters some decades ago. Being part of the industry as a senior executive with one of the four major music companies, to us, Napster was a minor blip in the wall. Napster was nipped in the bud.

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