HONG KONG CHAMPIONS DAY: THE DAY WE SAW STARS…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s needed time for everything to sink in. Plus, when hosting friends from overseas with zero knowledge of horse racing, there’s always something new to learn, absorb and think about. “I never realised horse racing could be so enjoyable,” said one very good friend. “The races I’ve been to have been all about what to wear and which milliner to use.”

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WHY RACING IN WA JUST MIGHT STOP CONTINUING TO STAY IN WA

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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“Common sense is not so common. We keep saying we could do this and we could do that, but nothing ever happens”.

Trainer Neville Parnham was being interviewed on TABradio this week after another successful race meeting for Family Parnham and reacting to hearing the hosts led by that excitable chihuahua Gareth Hall talk and talk and talk about how this race meeting and that race meeting in WA could be improved by doing this and doing that.

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TIME TO LEAD AND NOT TO FOLLOW

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Gawd knows where we went wrong, but we went wrong and many are still going wrong because they really think everything is going alright. Oh, but it’s not.

She is definitely not without her faults, but my daughter is grounded enough to know fact from fiction and has done extremely well for herself in the real world. She’s never yearned for fame, but has been successful with what she has achieved- tangibles and not this time wasting exercise of buying the illusion of fame- through hard work.

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THE ZAC ATTACK: FLOATING LIKE A BUTTERFLY, STINGING LIKE A BEE.

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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On a day when the racing news took its cue from the 15 month disqualification of leading jockey Nash Rawiller which has bitterly disappointed those of us who know and like the soft spoken rider, the Chinese racing media and the local online world latched onto this. It was overshadowing the race meeting later that evening.

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HORSE RACING IN HONG KONG ON A SATURDAY AND THOSE CH CH CH CHANGES

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s strange to think there was a time when Hong Kong only had racing on a Saturday- and only at Happy Valley racecourse.

Night racing at the city track was introduced later and had its surreal moments like the time when local rider Louis Ho simply stopped riding How Good, the 9.5 favourite, when having the race shot to bits. Think he was disqualified for six months. But it were those Saturday afternoon races in the mid Seventies and when Hong Kong was still a British colony that were big days for my family, especially my Aunt and Uncle who had their favourite jockeys and all kinds of conspiracy theories. When having seen local jockeys practice the art of jumping off horses in case they might have actually won a race, of course there were conspiracy theories.

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THE CURIOSITY PIECE THAT IS “RACING TO WIN”

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Yeah, yeah, Pakistan Star won his 1000 metre trial with Tommy Berry aboard earlier today, and with Silvestre de Sousa set to ride the galloper in the 1600m QE11 Cup. We’re not going to be part of another round of hype. A trial is not a race. Okay? How many trials has Pakistan Star won or passed? How many races has he wanted to win?

What we have always wondered out aloud is instead of these bans, tedious trials and jockeys merry-go-round, why, undoubtedly a talented galloper with a mind of his own, couldn’t just be reunited with his original jockey- Matthew Chadwick? Did Chadwick ever have to resort to flogging Pakistan Star? Don’t think so.

Surely all his antics AFTER Chadwick lost the ride following an unexpected loss has seen the galloper become so erratic and stubborn that even a chain reaction of so much of everything to mend his waywardness including The Horse Whisperer being brought to Hong Kong to work the oracle, has NOT brought about any real change. If it had there would have been no need for today’s trial in order to receive another passing grade to race again.

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AND NOW, ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF HORSE RACING AND REAL LEADERSHIP…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Perhaps racing writers have realised by now that apart from being pigeonholed with this label, horse racing is a very specialised field. It’s also a very narrow one when it comes to readership. And like newspapers moving almost completely into the online world and hoping to be a subscriber-based product where content is king and competing for readership in a crowded information highway, it means being about diversity. Really diversifying.

Continuing to play a role in horse racing could mean looking at adding more strings to one’s bow. Just as Rock journalism suddenly disappeared after less than a decade, horse racing writers are most definitely needed, but newspaper editors and others will and have become more selective in who they use. And how. Many don’t know because it’s not a personal priority.

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A QUIET BEGINNING WITH A STING IN THE TAIL

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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The sudden rain bucketing down probably helped turn what looked like a fairly predictable race meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday into a mixture of weirdness, definitely plenty of surprises and the continuing adventures of John Size and The Comeback Kid- Olivier Doleuze.

The weirdness was seeing all the dignitaries gathered to present the CUHK Alumni Cup, but with there being no winning trainer and jockey. With no one there any the wiser, an objection had been lodged by the rider of the runner up- Tommy Berry- against the horse and rider first past the post- Karis Teetan on favourite Namjong Plus. And so the HKJC executives and everyone else who were part of the presentation party kinda hung around for what seemed an inordinate amount of time. One almost expected someone to break into a soft shoe shuffle.

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THE MANY DIFFERENT FACES OF HORSE RACING AND DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s basic psychology: When good things happen to good people there’s a feeling of happiness that’s contagious. It’s been mentioned here many times: It’s The Likability Factor.

So when popular Italian jockey Alberto Sanna won the first race of the Happy Wednesday Goes Korean night- his tenth winner during his short term riding stint in Hong Kong, which has now rightfully seen his license extended until the end of this season- we cheered him on. The Italian girls in the Beer Garden screamed loudest for “Mambo Italiano”. He seems a good man, grateful to be here and knowing there’s always room for improvement.

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WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE AND WHAT’S AFFECTING RACING IN AUSTRALIA?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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“Horse racing in Australia is its own worst enemy”. I’ve been carrying these words with me now for over a week. They keep playing in my head with me thinking when’s all this going to end, where’s it going to crash and burn, when’s Humpty Dumpty going to be an omelette, how did it all become so much of everything, who’s minding the store…

During a recent whistle stop trip to Singapore and then to Sydney for business, I managed to meet up with a longtime friend in racing. He’s given up being in the game, but remains close to some youngsters coming up the ranks who he believes in. More importantly, he understands their need for counselling and mentoring to face what lies ahead. He’s seen it all before- all those one meets on the way up and the sudden lack of a safety net on the way down. As he put it, “That trip to hell is when you’re dancing with the devil because he’s the only company you have.”

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