THE CURIOSITY PIECE THAT IS “RACING TO WIN”

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
Visit Hans-Ebert.com

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.

What you have is a very intelligent horse probably wondering why his old friend is not on his back.

So he passed another trial- not a race. Time will tell how this all pans out, but for us, it’s become all too familiar and very very boring.

Never boring are The Three Amigos who host the HKJC Masterpiece Theatre production called “Racing To Win”.

On one of those rare days when making the time to click in, then click out and repeating this chore eight times just to watch this HKJC Masterpiece Theatre Production hosted by Chapter Deux of The Three Amigos- Andrew Le Jeune, Brett Davis and Paul Lally- Amigo Brettoni put his cojones on the line when going through the chances on Happy Wednesday in the fifth race of the night.

“Only two horses cannot win”, he proclaimed knowingly to his co-hosts who immediately awoke from their siesta. Harrier Jet and the uniquely named I’m The Conquist (what’s a Conquist, anyway, William?) were the two horses given no chance. And so what happens? Right after Race 4, there’s an avalanche of money on one particular quinella- Harrier Jet and I’m The Conquist- with even more money coming in for each of the outsiders on a win line, especially the latter, which we gave a great place chance and was given a very good ride by the woefully under-utilised Matthew Chadwick.

Alas, they didn’t win, but they ran fourth and third, respectively, and helped some win the $40k plus Quartet. Easy peasy plus Amigo Brettoni saved his cojones for a happy ending.

Earlier in the night, Amigo Frenchie must have been chuckling to himself. On the same show, he had mumbled about the third race- the one where we just couldn’t have the favourite King Bountiful. He.gave.a.chance.to.outsider Art Of Raw which must belong to a sashimi lovers syndicate or members of the Hannibal Lechter Fan Club.

The Lally Man wasn’t having any of this merde from Amigo Frenchie and dismissed the idea with a wave of the hand and a wry smile saying the horse needed six miles to show his best. Not really as Art Of Raw won by a short head for jockey Keith Yeung over 2200 metres at around 19 to 1. In the process, Yeung deprived the Zac Attack of riding three consecutive winners and went on to ride a double.

As for King Bountiful, he must have lost his crown along the way. Either that or he didn’t feel himself enough to get going, something Amigo Brettoni warned viewers about the night before- the need to feel himself before he gets going.

While Derek Leung might be going through a lean cabbage patch these days, Keith Yeung, his friend from their days together as apprentices, is riding with far more confidence. Damn the odds of his rides! He gives them all every possible chance and it’s paying off dividends.

As for Racing To Win, though hardly breakthrough television, it is a curiously random show apparently aimed at a more hardcore and older racing audience. One could have beaten us with Ian Dury and the Blockheads rhythm stick with that one.

The “hardcore audience” we know barely knows it exists. They’re missing out on the goofiness of it all and The Three Amigos doing the best they can with what they’ve got. Which, apart from suits by Sam The Tailor, is not much.

Why whoever is behind the production doesn’t use some of the Happy Wednesday videos is baffling. Or maybe not. Cross-marketing and doing anything different to what’s been bludgeoned to death for the decades is simply not on radars. And so what you have is what’s been around since the days when Methuselah was a kid but with a different group of players. Mercifully they bring something new to an old background by being what they are: likeable.

Apart from sitting against a backdrop of a geometry set and then gathering around a supposed hi-tech touch screen where everyone except for The Lally Man plays around with the horsies on a Speed Map that’s rarely correct and just a waste of time and money, it all looks like a school pantomime taking place on a rejected set once designed for the Star Trek series. Somehow, it works. Guess it depends on what you’ve been smoking.

Actually the ‘live’ coverage of the races by the Trackside team the next night at Happy Valley which includes The Three Amigos and some other Amigos is even more entertaining when Amigo Blanco is let loose to answer a question and immediately gets on a breathless tootsie roll where mentioned at the one time can be horses, a soupçon of les mots de Francais, family, Ken Dodd and the Diddy People, Resin, trainers, stats, pomelos, Burger Joys, breeding, breathing yada yada yada and never ever breaking stride or exhaling. It’s quite extraordinary with one wondering when internal combustion might strike.

In the middle of it all and walking around the paddock area trying to look at the horses and being fawned over by her fan club is our gal Jenny, pictured below when running the Australian chapter of the Bay City Rollers Fandom, and probably thinking, “I’m almost a celebrity, get me out of here.”

Hand on heart, however, this slightly off kilter cast of characters adds to a Happy Wednesday night by just being so outré that it borders on high camp.

Forget their tips. It’s the HKJC Master Theatre becoming an irreverent Theatre Of The Absurd with a few Pete and Duds. It’s becoming quite the cult hit with the next stop probably being Netflix.

Of course the hit of Happy Wednesday night was another lethal Zac Attack, where apart from riding a treble after two meetings on the sidelines through a suspension incurred after riding on the first day of The Championships at Randwick, the extremely confident rider rode his 800th winner in Hong Kong, certainly something to respect in a tremendously competitive racing jurisdiction- only the fourth jockey to accomplish this achievement.

In a night of ironies, Zac’s 800th winner was on the David Ferraris trained Raichu. Ferraris is not exactly the greatest supporter of the Australian jockey. In fact after a decade of riding in Hong Kong, Raichu was only the seventh winner for this partnership of trainer and jockey.

With Ferraris away in the UK, perhaps he didn’t even know about the jockey booking? It didn’t seem to exactly bother the Zac Attack either way.

As his last winner for the trainer was also when he was out of town- and this was in 2014- he couldn’t help himself to quip, “Perhaps he (Ferraris) should stay away more often. I’m riding another one for him on Saturday.”

As for Joao Moreira, he took his usual Happy Wednesday siesta by going around with nothing to show for it, whereas the much in-demand man from Sardinia- Alberto Sanna- continued along his merry way with the eleventh winner of his short stint on Dr Race, which brought up a double for David Ferraris.

It was a hard fought win with Mambo Italiano just getting the better over the very strong finishing power of The Gnasher- Nash Rawiller.

What’s becoming more and more clear to many is that Alberto Sanna might not be the prettiest rider to watch, but jeez, like Karis Teetan, who was also amongst the winners, he never ever gives up on getting the most out of a ride. Their persuasive skills means taking no prisoners.

While the Joao Zac Show continues at the top of the Jockey Premiership, what’s interesting is the battle for third place between The Gnasher and The Mauritian Magician. It obviously means much to both along with the local riders competing for The Tony Cruz Award.

At the moment, it looks as if Derek Leung will ride away with this though there’s mounting pressure from Matthew Poon and Keith Yeung.

As for the racing tomorrow, both leading jockeys have their chances with Zac possibly having the better book whereas most interest will be on the performances of Harmony Hero, drawn out wide again with Nash Rawiller on board, and the extremely impressive last start winner Aerohappiness with Joao Moreira aboard.

Despite both having less than favourable barriers they should win- BUT whenever there are huge jackpots at stake, as there are tomorrow in the Six Up and Triple Trio bets, upsets are usually on the cards.

Will we, for example, take Harmony Hero one out in our Six Ups? No. Will we bet the house in Sri Lanka on Aerohappiness? Definitely not. We like that bungalow.

Skimming through the card what’s interesting are the number of Michael Freedman runners entered and with most being ridden by Joao Moreira his amigo from their days in Singapore.

That’s all well and good and good luck to the professional tipsters. Far more interesting is what The Three Amigos will have to say later today. It’s usually priceless.

#horseracing #hkjc #RacingToWin #PakistanStar #ZacPurton #AlbertoSanna #KarisTeetan #NashRawiller #KeithYeung #ThreeAmigos

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