JIMMY “THE VOICE” CUPPLES ADDS TO THE EXCITEMENT OF LONGINES HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL RACES

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He’s the voice behind the latest theme song for Happy Wednesday titled “We’re Having A Happy Wednesday”.

He’s also the voice behind “We’re All Here Together”, an anthemic song about racing and, especially, the Hong Kong International Races, and another original written by music executive Hans Ebert and producer/engineer Trevor Carter, co-owner of Studio 52 in Melbourne, where the recordings were produced.

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And now the voice behind these recordings- Melbourne-based Jimmy Cupples- will perform ‘live’ in Hong Kong at Happy Valley on December 7, the night of the 2016 Hong Kong International Jockeys’ Championship that will see some of the best riders in the world compete including Ryan Moore, voted the Best Jockey In The World, Australia’s Hugh Bowman and Hong Kong’s globetrotting Magic Man Joao Moreira.

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THIS YEAR’S INTERNATIONAL JOCKEYS COMPETITION ON A HAPPY WEDNESDAY: WHY IT’S SET TO GET PULSES RACING.

By Hans Ebert

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It’s easy enough to say: Happy Wednesday. Add to that Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong. But how the HKJC created this experience for customers- and just what an entertaining experience it is- would be short-changed if confined only to the racing pages of newspapers. It deserves and needs to be known to as wide a mainstream market as possible, in Hong Kong and overseas, using what was once called “trade and consumer advertising”, and are today all the delivery platforms that make up social media. The Happy Wednesday brand should be a magnet for advertisers wishing to communicate to a captive audience of millennials and friends of friends of friends of millennials.

Happy Wednesday is a brand and game changer in a sport still banging on the door to be allowed in with all the other big boys and girls of sports entertainment- football, tennis, cricket, golf, basketball.

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Nowhere else in the world can there be anything close to a Happy Wednesday at the horse races. It almost redefines the sport by making it appealing and attractive to an entire generation who have been ignored, or else led to believe that horse racing is something irrelevant and belonging to the past, and a previous generation interested in a sport saddled by those words called “gambling” and “betting”. But attend a Happy Wednesday night at Happy Valley Racecourse, and what you have is an incredible melting pot of nationalities- young, fashionable people- taking it all in- the racing, all the activities, all the ‘live’ music in the Beer Garden of this giant outdoor “club” located smack dab in the middle of the neighbouring skyscrapers. It’s all a bit like a cross between a happy Gotham City that’s somehow met the positivity of that Field Of Dreams. Someone built it and they came. And keep coming in the thousands.

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THE QUIRKS AND SUPERSTITIONS OF RACING IN HONG HONG

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

Let’s face it, jockeys sending out different signals to their backers as to when to put the money on has been going on since the days of the chariot race in “Ben Hur”…and to varying degrees of success.

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There was, for example, the time in Macau around fifteen years ago, where all was discussed the night before the races with the jockey and the owners. The horse was ready, he had drawn the perfect barrier, the trainer was kept in the dark, and 3-4 jockeys had been paid off to play “defence”. But, as the Martell Cordon Bleu flowed and the beauty parade at Club De China was presented to the owners, life to them became one big blur.

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On the day of the race, they arrived at the track looking as though they had already celebrated their win along with their horribly dressed Russian conquests- white boots, mini skirts etc. Well, you get the picture. It’s a nasty one. With no one able to remember whether the signal to bet was if the whip was under the jockey’s left arm or the owners’ left, the 50/50 decision was made. It was completely wrong. The horse hadn’t felt right the moment the jockey climbed aboard and he had given the signal not to bet. He had not been on the horse in its last piece of work, the trainer had got to know that he had been cut out of this supposedly best of laid plans and something had been done, or not done to the feed and the runner had run its race. The owners were turfed out of the stable and the jockey never rode again for the trainer.

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There was also the time some time ago in Hong Kong when the signal to bet from one of the few French jockeys riding here was that he pull his goggles down while taking his horse around the parade ring.

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GIVE YOUR FEET THE RESPECT THEY DESERVE DURING HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL RACES WEEK

By Hans Ebert

Whenever a few jockey friends we know arrive in Hong Kong for HKIR week, they immediately head off to their favourite sauna before being able to face the world. It’s an annual ritual and with their favourite places to unwind usually being in Causeway Bay which they’ve been frequenting for years.

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For us, nothing beats a couple of hours of reflexology- a complete foot massage with all the trimmings at any of the 2-3 that can be found on Caine Road.

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We have our favourite place- Gao’s Foot Massage- and try to get our favourite masseur or masseuse who kneads, uses their thumbs, and even their elbows on one’s calves and soles to the feet that are placed inside buckets of warm water. As they go to work on one foot and then the next, you scream bloody murder.

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The screaming is part of the ritual and is a combination of orgasmic pleasure mixed with real pain as pressure points are hit and massaged hard until the bad stuff disappears. One is given a diagram of a foot before the ritual begins. Every pressure point on your foot and feet are connected to your entire being- kidneys, liver, heart, head, that important third leg etc. And whenever and wherever the masseuse hits one of these points that makes you cry for mama, just let them continue to squeeze and knead and press their magic fingers where it hurts the most until the pain subsides. This means that apart (add what I added). After the pain and the pleasure, one has a new spring in their step and renewed vigour to take on a tribe of hungry Amazons.

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HONG KONG. DECEMBER 11. WHEN ALL THE QUESTIONS BELOW WILL BE ANSWERED.

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SAM CLIPPERTON: CERTAINLY NOT “TOO YOUNG” TO RIDE WINNERS IN HONG KONG

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

He’s certainly proving his doubters wrong. An all-too-familiar mantra, especially emanating from certain quarters in the land down under whenever a young Australian rider is granted a license to ride in Hong Kong is that they’re “not worldly enough”. Added to this is that they’re “too young”, “too inexperienced”, and how Hong Kong will “eat them alive”. We enjoy our dim sum at Mott32, but we’re not exactly walking around with voracious appetites to devour talented young riders.

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And so it was with Sam Clipperton when announced that he had been granted a three month license to ride in Hong Kong. Perhaps some were very sure that this position would go to Blake Shinn? Though an enigmatic and polarising figure in Australian racing, the man is brilliant when he turns it on. One hopes Hong Kong racing fans get to see Shinn ride here on a permanent basis though we know only too well that he would be a controversial addition to the riding ranks. Rumours of a run-in with another jockey after Oaks Day won’t help. Still, he’s a real talent.

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As for Sam Clipperton, who served his entire apprenticeship with the great Ron Quinton, when interviewing him soon after his arrival to these shores, he was frank and realistic that riding here would be no stroll in the park. But he was confident that hard work would pay off along with his own God given talents as a rider. His wish was to see his contract extended for the entire season and how his partner Morgan was looking out for job offers.

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He came off as a nice guy with his feet firmly planted on the ground. And, at that time, his feet firmly planted on the ground with a new pair of boots which he was very proud to have purchased. Did I expect him to stay longer than his three month stint? Not really, because getting stable support here to prove one’s self is so darn hard.

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THE CHAMPAGNE BAR, THOSE CHAMPAGNE YEARS AND THE HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL RACES…

By Hans Ebert

“I’m Avis and aaahhhm from Las Viiiiigas!” shrieked the singer before launching into something from Gladys Knight. It was your typical hotel lounge shtick, but when outnumbered by visiting mature L’il Abners who buy into average singers performing songs that are part of every has-been’s repertoire who’s fortunate enough to find a gig in Asia, one just downs a few mojitos until those senses are numbed and you can inhale all the bullshit going around you.

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This was happening at the Champagne Bar at the Grand Hyatt a few nights ago- a very special place for many of us as the countdown to Hong Kong International Races week begins. As Lennon sang on “In My Life”, there are places I’ll remember. One of them will always be the Champagne Bar- the original Champagne Bar that smelt musky, where it had its odds and sods of regulars like Cheers, a gracious host in General Manager Gordon Fuller, staff who used to invite us to “siu yay” after their shifts, the late Johnny on keyboards playing “Beyond The Sea” whenever he saw us, and some of the more surreal experiences in life. Entering the Champagne Bar was always curiouser and curiouser. It was like Alice falling through a rabbit hole.

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When with EMI Music, some called it my office. There were more deals signed, sealed and delivered there than in any conference room. There was more and better time spent doing business at the Champagne Bar than schlepping over to Kowloon side just to show my face in the real office. When Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, who were in the middle of creating Gorillaz visited Hong Kong, we met up at this office before letting the night take us to wherever and back. It was at the Grand Hyatt that the song “Hong Kong”, which had nothing to do with Hong Kong was written by Damon.

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WHAT TO DO, WHERE TO GO IN HONG KONG: OUR GUIDE TO GETTING THE MOST OUT OF 2016 LONGINES HKIR WEEK (PART 2)

Whenever a few jockey friends we know arrive in Hong Kong for HKIR week, they immediately head off to their favourite sauna before being able to face the world. It’s an annual ritual and with their favourite places to unwind usually being in Causeway Bay which they’ve been frequenting for years.

part-2-1

For us, nothing beats a couple of hours of reflexology- a complete foot massage with all the trimmings at any of the 2-3 that can be found on Caine Road.

part-2-2

We have our favourite place- Gao’s Foot Massage- and try to get our favourite masseur or masseuse who kneads, uses their thumbs, and even their elbows on one’s calves and soles to the feet that are placed inside buckets of warm water. As they go to work on one foot and then the next, you scream bloody murder.

part-2-3

The screaming is part of the ritual and is a combination of orgasmic pleasure mixed with real pain as pressure points are hit and massaged hard until the bad stuff disappears. One is given a diagram of a foot before the ritual begins. Every pressure point on your foot and feet are connected to your entire being- kidneys, liver, heart, head, that important third leg etc. And whenever and wherever the masseuse hits one of these points that makes you cry for mama, just let them continue to squeeze and knead and press their magic fingers where it hurts the most until the pain subsides. This means that apart (add what I added). After the pain and the pleasure, one has a new spring in their step and renewed vigour to take on a tribe of hungry Amazons.

Continue reading

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NORM SNOWDEN WRITES IN ON ANALOGIES, THE ATC AND THE SILLY SEASON

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Ah, the silly season . . . the ATC out of hibernation . . . the distraction of a spring Carnival . . . forums, elections, AGMs . . . oh, and of course Christmas, the actual silly season . . .

You know, believe it or not, I hate doing this, but what I hate even more is apathy, being taken for a fool and people in charge just being slack and then getting all bent out of shape when someone calls them out on it.

I start by asking a couple of rhetorical questions, that are basically an analogy. Is that a thing ? Well, who cares, as you will see. Anyway . . .

Would you leave a vase of dead flowers sitting in the front window of your home ?

Would you give false directions and cause the runaround to a lost stranger ?

Would you give a present in a box that was empty ?

Welcome to the ATC website.

Firstly, can I say that I hate websites that require you to click through to further lists. Websites that have drop downs when you hover the curser over a heading, win me.

The ATC website is the window and doorway to the Club. But all you get is notices on the front window and door of the ATC Homepage, behind them is a nightmare.

Now, go to www.australianturfclub.com.au

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WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO IN HONG KONG: THE 2016 LONGINES HKIR TRAVEL GUIDE

For those making that annual pilgrimage for Longines Hong Kong International Races week in December, a few pointers, observations and writing through first hand experience, much schlepping around, and knowledge: Hong Kong today is no longer what it was. It’s no longer about meeting up at the Champagne Bar of the Grand Hyatt before heading off to the China Club or the Hong Kong Club or the Red Pepper for dinner followed by a night out in Lan Kwai Fong. Nothing lasts forever.

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The Champagne Bar is rather cold and empty whereas Lan Kwai Fong has run its course and is over-run by cheap bars, sheesha joints managed by new arrivals from the sub-continent and where the clientele is not who one would take home to break naan with mama. Even a brief stopover at Al’s Diner for old times sake, and where Shane RS Dye once held court during HKIR week while sipping a Coke, can be depressing as hell.

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Apart from the almost “communal” Mexican eatery Brickhouse, tucked away in a back alley, but known to those in the know, the favourite casual restaurant in the area and a favourite with the Purtons, the rest are stragglers from Saginaw and gawd knows where else. And whatever you do at any of these other joints with circus barkers begging you to come in, don’t eat the food and demand to see the brands of alcohol used to mix cocktails. Abs Vodka is not the new Absolute. Better yet, just stick to Brickhouse.

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