TEN QUESTIONS WITH BRENT “THE BABE” THOMSON

IMG-20160412-WA0000

Following Michael Felgate’s excellent interview today on RSN with our great friend Brent Thomson, we thought we’d publish this post on “The Babe” again for those who might have missed it the first time around. Enjoy!

unknown 1

The first time I saw, who turned out to be Brent Thomson, was at the Kato Bar at Shatin Racecourse, everyone’s favourite watering hole at the time to meet after the races and celebrate or wallow in the miseries of losing. What made me do a double take was actually the stunning and statuesque blonde on his arm before checking out her companion- a short, handsome gentleman wearing a long scarf and an even longer overcoat. “Isn’t he bloody hot in all that gear?” I thought to myself before asking someone whether that was Darren Gauci or Alan Munro. It was the early Nineties and my embryonic days as a racing hobbyist, and was yet to know who was who and just what a Who’s Who of Racing Brent Thomson aka “The Babe” aka “BT” aka “The Wanganui Wiz Kid” was. Of course, this was not to be the last time, I’d see “Uncle” Brent with a stunner on his arm and dressed like Al Capone.

At that time, BT was riding for the most powerful stable in Hong Kong- that of Brian Kan Ping-chee, a character as colourful as he was controversial, and who struck fear in the hearts of jockeys, owners and racing administrators.

Continue reading

Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

CO-MINGLING: WHAT’S IN A WORD?

By Hans Ebert

Gawd knows, it’s been written about enough- sometimes as “commingling”, other times as “co-mingling”- but, other than the really hardcore punter, or Ye Olde School mainstream racing writer, what does this actually mean? Has this strange word, galloped off into more Racing Speak without all the homework and groundwork been done so that it doesn’t become another very niche, or else, confusing product that will never reach its true potential? Or will it have to make a strategic U-turn, start again, and educate that big old racing world out there what co-mingling/commingling is all about? The racing media can devote huge numbers of column inches on the subject, but inches rarely penetrate some fundamental problems about how this is all meant to work.

a word 1

Let’s cut to the chase. Co-mingling is a confusing and difficult to understand concept to the average punter. It has its place in corporate speak and in the board rooms of racing governing bodies where such concepts are digested as easily as porridge. The average punter doesn’t give a toss about how pools are mingled, co-mingled, expanded, joined together, bet into between racing nations. Confusing, isn’t it? Get the picture?

a word 2

This is where the KISS principle needs to be applied. Keeping it bloody simple, stupid and uncomplicated to the average punter. Develop a saturation awareness campaign on the many strengths of Hong Kong racing and the wagering products available to Australian punters to bet into domestically, and support it with two non-negotiables – extensive quality information and Vision. The information age has focussed more than ever on the availability and ready access at providing these non-negotiables at no cost to the customer (Punter). For vision, certainty of access through delivery free of charge on ONE channel rather than the existing and deplorable guessing game facing punters as to which of the three Sky Channels show different races on the ten or eleven race card on a weekend.

Continue reading

Posted in Australian horse racing industry, brett prebble, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, Racing NSW, The horse racing industry, zac purton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

KEI CHIONG AND HER SUPER SHATIN SUNDAY: AND NOW WHAT?

By Hans Ebert

SUPER SHATIN 1

The Amber Alert storm warning might have been a giveaway. Maybe it was the heavens opening up, and some even wondering if the race meeting would go on. But the show went on with the star being Kei Chiong, the first female in fifteen years to be licensed to ride in Hong Kong.

SUPER SHATIN 19b

Where does one start and end about what this ten-pound claiming apprentice, still very much a work in progress, accomplished at Shatin on Sunday without going overboard, and giving the young girl unnecessary pressure? How does one temper the fact that Kei Chiong rode four winners, and came so close to riding a quintet of winners?

Continue reading

Posted in HAPPY WEDNESDAY, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, JOAO MOREIRA, The horse racing industry, Tony Cruz, zac purton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE AUSTRALIAN TURF CLUB FROM ROB RIGG

writing letter

Dear Racing Bitch

Just my thoughts on the ATC.

With the Championships done for another year let me firstly congratulate all those involved in putting this wonderful event together with particular mention to the equine athletes, the jockeys and trainers who displayed courage, professionalism and good grace to make it a huge success.

With that deserving congratulation out of the way now let me address the dead hand of the ATC Committee and officials who have ensured that racing is now a television only event as evidenced by the poor crowds attending such a great carnival. The racetracks under the ATC, and in particular Randwick, have lost all “atmosphere” and that feeling of crowd participation which has always been integral to a day at the races. Gone is the excitement of the crowd cheering the horses down the straight, the roar of the crowd as the favourite wins in a tight finish and even those scholarly opinions about a losing favourite’s rider. Gone also is the feeling of expectation as horses come into the parade ring and punters watch their trainers and jockeys consult on tactics, the enjoyment of mingling in the betting ring and the laissez faire attitude of the crowd who have learnt that racing is the great leveller, that all are equal on the track.

Continue reading

Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, The horse racing industry | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

THE CO-MINGLING AND PIE IN THE SKY ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

THE SKY 1

CO-MINGLING: SEIZE THE DAY! BUT DO THEY KNOW HOW TO, TONTO?

THE SKY 2

It’s distressing enough to be confronted with the challenges which racing faces on all fronts. Imagine climbing Everest and Kilimanjaro with little or no respite?

Racing’s lifeline, with its revenue stream under siege, like never before, is the compelling reason why opportunities which Co-mingling offers the sport just cannot be lost under any circumstances. Dangerously, that’s the way it’s heading, however, unless racing acts with a sense of urgency. It cannot simply plod along as if everything is hunky dory. The honeymoon period ended some time ago, yet, from what we see, instead of forging ahead, it’s puttering along on a tuk tuk.

THE SKY 3

The existing Co-Mingling arrangements with Hong Kong and Australia’s Tabcorp and the major states which they partner with – NSW and Victoria- are little more than an exercise in posturing on a grand scale. From an Australian racing perspective, Co-mingling appears to be treated with scant disregard by the decision makers down under. To them, it’s almost an unnecessary distraction deserving not much more than being treated as an inconvenience. Pay it lip service and it will hopefully go away. Or at least, keep up pretences with false promises.

Continue reading

Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, Marketing of horse racing, The horse racing industry, Tommy Berry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

GARY MOORE: UNDERRATED AND MISUNDERSTOOD

By Hans Ebert

Zac Purton calls him “the most underrated Australian jockey ever with an amazing CV”. Zac is right. Too often, his sometimes bizarre antics on racetracks have, sadly, eclipsed his incredible feats and accomplishments in the saddle. At 62, Gary Moore has had more ups and downs than a yo yo in need of exorcism, but he continues to drink from that half-full glass. And there’s no Kool-Aid in it either.

MISUNDERSTOOD 1

The son of the Little Maestro- the all-conquering George Moore- “Gazza” was always groomed to be the heir apparent of the Moore dynasty. And for a long time, he looked to be well on his way to being exactly that- a naturally gifted jockey who had to grow up fast, no doubt lost his youth in the process, and quickly became an international success story. In Hong Kong, he won the Jockey Premiership seven times, there was a championship win in France, where he took out the 1981 Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe aboard Gold River as well as winning almost every major race in the country. These are credentials no one can take away from him. Ever.

MISUNDERSTOOD 3

MISUNDERSTOOD 3b

All was going according to plan with life in the fast lane being a smooth ride, and a future so bright one needed shades to see it. All this came to a screeching halt on February 20, 1986 when the now well-documented “Shanghai Syndicate” race fixing scandal blew wide open. It was front page news for weeks, and went through a number of very interesting and confusing twists and turns that continued until 1989. In the end, three local jockeys were jailed, with a number of characters playing important cameo roles proving that there’s no honour among thieves and cheats.

Continue reading

Posted in Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, JOHN MOORE, Tony Cruz, zac purton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RACING IN AUSTRALIA AND THE LONG MARCH

By Hans Ebert

LONG MARCH 1

It’s been a somewhat late Eureka moment, but, as the saying goes, better late than never, and the efforts by racing clubs and others to market the racing product in all its many manifestations to Australia’s burgeoning and powerful and wealthy Chinese- and Asian- communities gathers momentum. There was the War of the Roses, and this is more of a battle for the dim sum, and who ends up with the char siu bau.

LONG MARCH 2

Though there have been attempts to get this off the ground and reach its right demographic by the Kaylin Group and, more recently, the Moonee Valley Racing Club in partnership with the Australian Chinese Racing Club whose Teresa Poon is no fool in the area of marketing, promotions and racing knowledge, these were just trial runs.

Continue reading

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

THE “WHIPPING INTO NON ACTION” ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

BREEDERS LEVY: THE GREAT ESCAPE

WHIPPING 1

Australia’s premier annual yearling sale – the William Inglis Easter sale- kicks off in Sydney next Tuesday. The three day sale showcases le crème de la crème of Australia’s thoroughbred yearlings and, each year, record prices are paid by buyers from every part of the globe as the dreamers are caught up in the intoxicating atmosphere of pursuing the next potential champion. It’s a spending orgy par excellence, where normally, intelligent and highly successful businessmen and women, make bizarre, illogical and irrational decisions, collectively, or individually to voluntarily donate sizeable sums of their wealth into the bank accounts of the wealthiest sector of the racing industry – the Breeders. And there’s another story for this and hidden from view, which we’ll tackle another day. Nothing is ever what it seems, and dig deeper and there’s method and a raison d’être to the perceived madness. It’s not unlike all the money pouring into Hong Kong to purchase losing propositions in the F&B industry.

WHIPPING 2

For the breeders, meanwhile, it’s their guaranteed annual lottery win – the culmination of a near three month sales circuit, where corks of the best of the best in French Champagne are popped, and where every imaginable KPI in the breeding of racehorses is exceeded. If only such success could be replicated and guaranteed for the Australian economy, it would make Federal budget time an anachronism.

Continue reading

Posted in Australian horse racing industry, DOUGLAS WHYTE, FELIX COETZEE, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, JOAO MOREIRA, The horse racing industry, Tommy Berry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

IS HORSE RACING LOSING THE RACE TO MAKE CONTENT KING?

By Hans Ebert

content is king 1

There’s a long train running coming towards the horse racing industry with all systems go named Content. And before this becomes a runaway train, the subject should be tackled now and not when those ARC- Asian Racing Conference- and ARF- Asian Racing Federation- people woof together again in some exotic location for their annual junket for corporate junkies.

content is king 2

The use of content, who owns what, content providers versus partners from bigger industries and how these partnerships might be structured, must be discussed with very clear “rules” put in place before the genie escapes and the racing industry ends up where the music industry currently finds itself: dazed and confused and subservient to technology companies like Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal etc and in Mainland China, Baidu, Tencent, and it has to happen- Alibaba.

content is king 3

When the music industry stopped file-sharing site Napster in its tracks by taking legal action, there was much whooping and hi-fives by music executives caught up in the moment. But winning legal skirmishes don’t mean winning wars. MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Apple Music, Spotify etc arrived and created such a huge paradigm shift- and changed copyright laws overnight- that music companies are still recovering from whiplash.

Continue reading

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

THE NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN MOODY BLUES ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

PETER MOODY RIDES HIS SEESAW

BLUES ISSUE 1

If Australian racing’s underclass had its way they’d declare a national day of mourning to commemorate Pater Moody’s decision to take his bat and ball and leave the oval. The reason for his “hissy fit”, it appears from reading the many interviews and opinion pieces, was two-fold – he found it difficult to comply with the transitional arrangements for his caretaker trainer of choice David Brideoake to move into his stables, and, perhaps, Brideoake himself may have baulked at the inconveniences and challenges presented in the interim arrangements.

BLUES ISSUE 2

A combination of fatigue and the difficulty in copping the umpire’s decision combined to make the about- face a fait accompli. His vapid press conference, which, supposedly, was intended to shed some sort of light into his about-face to quit racing, gave the impression that he had lapsed back into the Peter Moody of old.

Continue reading

Posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, MOONEE VALLEY, SINGAPORE TURF CLUB | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment