THE DAY DOUGLAS WHYTE CRASHED THE TWO HORSE RACE PARTY

By Hans Ebert
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Tweeting is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…Sorry, where was I? Right. I was at a club straight out of a David Lynch movie where one of the worst singers absolutely butchered “Rolling In The Deep” while a buffet of Russian nymphets were marched in, sat there and waited for the local Tony Montana to walk in along with his tattooed posse, before doing whatever it is they’re paid to do.

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LOOKING AT THE HOTEL LOUNGE SINGER IN HONG KONG

By Hans Ebert
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It’s tough being what is often described as a “lounge singer”, especially in the bar of a 5-star hotel in Hong Kong and having to please everyone- the Food & Beverage Manager, the customers- mainly tourists wanting to hear something familiar and- quelle horreurs- sometimes, the head bartender who somehow sees themselves as an A&R genius who knows music.

The latter species reminds me of my days in advertising when the ad agency producer needing to say something just for the sake of saying something asked the session singer to record another take and make it “more punchy.”

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STARGAZER: A CONTEMPORARY FAIRYTALE BY HANS EBERT

By Hans Ebert
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He wasn’t the slowest runner amongst the other horses so much as he did not understand the reason for all the running around. Was this what life was going to be all about?

Some of the older horses saw him as spoiled and arrogant while his younger friends thought that though a handsome young colt full of confidence, he was just not good enough. They were used to seeing him come in last during the trials that were used to get horses ready for the big races. And in the races where he would run, Stargazer seemed preoccupied.

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UNTIL HAPPY WEDNESDAY NEXT SEASON…

By Hans Ebert
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Either it was Sunday or bust or, at first, without even a ride in the last tonight, it seemed as if he was rushing home to watch the second World Cup match of the night.

One cannot remember Joao Moreira having quite such an El Yawno book of rides as he has tonight at Happy Valley since arriving in Hong Kong and dominating local racing, rewriting the history books and, lest one forgets, winning a few Jockey Premierships.

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HAPPY WEDNESDAY SAYS ADIOS TO THE CULT OF MOREIRA

By Hans Ebert
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Win, lose or draw, there will be six winners at the end of this Hong Kong racing season- Pakistan Star for being his own man, the brilliant training achievements of John Size and Frankie Lor, very possibly trainer Tony Cruz for never wavering from believing in the Blue Tooth Fairy, and the Joao Moreira-Zac Purton battle for the Hong Kong Jockey Premiership.

Before the twitteraratti get on their high horses and ride through the Tall Poppy Syndrome, of course special mention must be given to Zac Purton who became the lethal Zac Attack and took this season’s jockey premiership to another level and will always have this writer’s respect. Is he misunderstood by some in Hong Kong? Yes. Just as Lewis Hamilton is a brilliant Formula 1 driver, and Federer and Nadal will always win hearts and minds over Djokovic and Ronaldo will trump Messi, often, success is eclipsed by popularity. And with Hong Kong racing fans, Joao Moreira remains Top Of The Pops.

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SHA TIN, HONG KONG: 8-7-2018

By Hans Ebert
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It wasn’t meant to be the race meeting that it became, especially with many still suffering from World Cup fever, and it’s tough to know what was the highlight of the races on Sunday at Shatin.

Was it the complete mastery and domination of riders Zac Purton from Australia and Brazilian Joao Moreira who rode four winners each and battled out four Quinellas? It was much more than a “battle to the wire”. That would be too easy. It had to do with the pursuit for perfection and competitiveness taken to another level. Both riders should be applauded.

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THE ONGOING SAGA OF NOW AND THEN TV

By Hans Ebert
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It’s really a question of what more one can say about NOW TV except perhaps, cancel my subscription?

After months of first trying to reach a human on their “24 Hour Customer Hotline Service”, which is always busy before Ground Control finally reaching a Major Tom, and being given instructions such as unplugging my modem and then switching the television back on- this was an exercise in futility- to then having Team NOWTV actually visit my apartment and give both television sets a complete overhaul, everything began to hum and purr perfectly…for around a month.

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THE BOOM-BANG-A-BANG AND SHA TIN ISSUE

By Hans Ebert
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He might not exactly have the type of personality we warm to, but it would be churlish not to congratulate Craig Williams for his brilliant sextet of winners at Flemington yesterday. There wasn’t a hint of Willow making an appearance. Mr Craggles was in the zone.

And what about the completely effortless win of the Darren Weir trained and Damien Lane ridden Nature Strip over 1100 metres? Can it run out a strong 1200 metres? The comments below to the tweet from from now Singapore based Aussie trainer Lee Freedman make for fairly interesting reading.

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RIP KEVIN

By Hans Ebert
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We said our final goodbyes to our great friend Big Kev on Thursday- barrister, raconteur, and man for all seasons and reasons in Kevin Egan. In attendance were many from Hong Kong’s legal community, politicians, some from the horse racing community- a pastime he embraced with great passion- many from the constabulary, a few who successfully straddle both sides of the law, and longtime friends who were part of his circle of life.

There were two eulogies where we heard what some of us knew and a few things we didn’t. Big Kev played cricket? And the clarinet?

More seriously, we heard the toll the ICAC case against him and when, after almost four years of being relentlessly pursued before finally being acquitted, impacted his life. How here was this larger than life character who knew everybody and pretty much everything about everyone whereas we knew so little about our friend. That’s how he wanted it. No tea and sympathy for Kev.

While toasting him after the funeral, and remembering as much as he allowed us to know him, a mutual friend showed us a text about Kevin insisting that he had won his battle against what he described as “Spanish” cancer. How to assemble the troops together for a celebratory drink. This never happened.

Some of us never knew about this final fight and which wasn’t held in any courtroom. He fought it alone. In hospital. All he’d tell us would be how he would be out of town for a few weeks to see his brother. And then he’d be back, call every race day and say, “So who’s going to win us the Six Up?” It’s the only bet he was interested in. There’ll be no more calls on race day. There’ll be no Kev on our side with free advice. To say, “Mate, give him my private number. Let me see what I can do.”

As “Danny Boy” was sung and Big Kev left the building, minds were filled with great memories of a great friend who left us quietly and without wishing to burden us, but taught us so much without working at it. Without lecturing us.

By just listening to Kevin, we learned so much. He’s left us with a great gift- the gift of life and how nothing is quite what it seems but the good always trumps the bad.

RIP, Kev. We’ll still text you our thoughts for the Six Up just in case you want to have a bet.