By Hans Ebert

It was a horror day for most punters in the land down under yesterday where many “good things” declared by racing pundits were rocked and rolled.

The biggest upset win came from a galloper well known to many in Hong Kong named Redkirk Warrior. He’s still known as Redkirk Warrior, but he’s gone through a personality change. While being trained to be a stayer here as he had been in the UK over 2000 metres, the team of Hayes, Hayes and Dabernig has turned him into an outstanding sprinter.

Yesterday, with young Regan Bayliss aboard who’s forged as great a relationship with the galloper as he has with girlfriend Sheridan Paine, they combined to come from the clouds at around 8 to 1 and overhaul the $1.80 hotpot in the 1000 metres Group 1 Black Caviar Lighting Stakes- Redzel- who is seen by many as Australia’s best sprinter.

When Redkirk Warrior lowered his colours at Flemington yesterday- redemption for young Bayliss who was going through an “in-house suspension” by the training team for an error in judgment for a recent ride- one couldn’t help but think of the galloper’s short, but drama filled career in Hong Kong, which even led to the lengthy suspension of legendary French jockey Gerald Mosse after an eye-catching fifth at his first Hong Kong start. Quelle horreurs, Batman!

While that first run had many believing they had seen something special, the Chris So-trained Redkirk Warrior, usually ridden by Joao Moreira, tackled mainly mile races with his main mission being the Hong Kong Derby. Hoof problems dented that dream.

Quietly sent to Australia by Hong Kong owner Jenny Tan, Redkirk Warrior re-emerged as a sprinter with trainer David Hayes saying he was a stable star. After some big initial success before going through a somewhat quiet spell, Redkirk Warrior returned yesterday with a loud Kung Hei Fat Choy bang.

There was a certain Hong Kong flavour in the air in Oz yesterday with Tim Clark aka The Hobbit, who rode so successfully in Hong Kong until family life saw him return to Sydney, ride a magnificent treble at Royal Randwick. Other than Brenton Avdulla, there’s no one riding better and more consistently well than The Hobbit.

Though the successes of Regan Bayliss and Timmy Clark were two feel good stories, one had to feel for everyone who waded into the Adam Durrant trained hotpot Assetro at Ascot in Western Australia.

With some in Hong Kong supposedly planning to offer some serious money for the galloper after the two year old’s recent debut win, this was labeled a “certainty”. The usually laid back Adam Durrant even mentioned that he was so excited about the race he had been having sleepless nights.

All one can say after watching The Rocky Horror Show unfold was how we wish the galloper had the hugely kaboom apprentice Brodie Kirby aboard, below.

Whether the surprising number of flops had to do with track conditions, just plain bad luck or brain freeze, it wasn’t exactly a barking welcome to The Year Of The Dog.

Here’s hoping, we welcome in the new Lunar New Year more successfully and with many making the trek to Sha Tin this afternoon to receive laisee packets from the HKJC CEO and hopefully watch Nothingilikemore win the Hong Kong Classic Cup.

But there are no certainties in horse racing as Nothingilikemore steps up in distance for the first time and there are some strong back markers in Singapore Sling, Rattan and the very interesting Doctor Geoff who could ruin the celebrations. Let’s hope not.

Some of the races might not have capacity fields, but they are highly competitive with the last race on the card- there are eleven races- having at least five winning chances- and even these could lose.

Whether the mysterious Keyser Soze shows up with his tips for this afternoon after an extremely profitable day for his followers on Wednesday only time will tell. But whatever happens, enjoy yourselves and always remember to Put On The Ritz after the races. Kung Hei Fat Choy!

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