If Waikuku doesn’t win the HK Derby, someone close to me won’t be happy. And as misery loves company, this will mean sharing the disappointment and and going out for dinner sure to be a downbeat and hardly a fifty shades of grey evening.
This is why, I want Waikuku to win. This is my emotional attachment to the horse. Knowing how much winning this race means to her- her favourite horse racing in Hong Kong- and how it might spice up the relationship. One lives in hope.
It’s like feeling for friends who saw their extremely promising galloper Jumbo Ozaki, the $1.90 favourite in the second race at Flemington yesterday, find itself on the inside with rider John Allen unable to extricate himself from the traffic jam until it was all too late. It was like watching Mr Bean driving into dead ends.
Jockey Dwayne Dunn, who’s going through something of a Renaissance period and rode a treble at Flemington, had outridden “Punkzy” Allen on Outrageous.
As for Waikuku and the HK Derby, though drawn the widest barrier-14- and racing for the first time over 2000m, the former John Oxx trained galloper, pictured below before being purchased for Hong Kong and for some very very big bucks, should win.
According to racing pundits, it’s really a two horse race- Waikuku and former Queensland Derby winner Dark Dream, below.
The former will be ridden by Joao Moreira whose turn it is for the rabid Chinese racing media to turn on him, especially after a series of unusual barren spells in Happy Valley. But were his book of rides, for example at the city track on Wednesday any good? They seemed on the average side of Okay, but still ended being well under the odds.
After growing a beard and looking a bit like one of Pancho Villa’s long lost relatives, this has come off. Maybe it was bad joss? Jockeys are usually asked to shave their heads to get rid of those luckless times. Joao Moreira grew a beard.
So while the Brazilian magic man might not appear to be Mandrake at the moment and is going through a somewhat lean trot, Dark Dream will have the services of the Zac Attack- Zac Purton, who’s riding so consistently well and at the peak of his powers that it’s almost spooky. He even won on first starter and main course Fat Turtle last Wednesday. Zac can’t grow a beard even if he tried.
What makes this HK Derby even more absorbing is that Dark Dream is trained by Frankie Lor who has two other runners in the race and is the former Assistant to John Size, yes, the trainer of Waikuku. It’s the Sorcerer And Apprentice stuff.
Size of course matters and he also has Enrichment with Ryan Moore aboard, Red Warrior and Mr So And So in the race. Is this a two-horse race? That’s what the script might say, but rewrites always happen when the plot thickens and the race unfolds.
Another Lor runner and last start winner Mission Tycoon could easily be the fly in the ointment whereas one can never ignore those runners trained by Tony Cruz. He has blue tooth aliens on his side.
The Derby aside, there are some extremely open looking races and with exotic bets like the Triple Trio and Six Up looking to be packed with value. The question is what to back and how best to analyse and then strategise how best to profit from one’s investment.
Tips? Don’t have any. Don’t know, never ask. Hunches? Plenty. Too many. It’s the reason for running away from Tips Ahoy and information overload.
The only information to share is that James McDonald is riding at Sha Tin after winning on the China Horse Club’s very impressive Cosmic Force, trained by Peter and Paul Snowden and now a favourite for the Golden Slipper. The ease in which Cosmic Force won on the heavy 9 Rosehill track with the rider having a sustained look to see how far back the chasing pack were was reminiscent of Leonardo DeCaprio in “Catch Me If You Can”. Alas, with Big Mac committed to Godolphin, the plum ride has gone to Mark Zahra. Pretty cosmic.
Hugh Bowman is also here, mainly to partner his old mate Furore after having to play third fiddle at Flemington on Alizee to the aptly named Mystic Journey.
Here’s where fairy tales do come true. Here’s where, together, Twitter and horse racing can paint more positive pictures.
Trained by the pretty much unheralded- for the time being- Adam Trinder and ridden by Anthony Darmanin, hardly the most in-demand jockey in Australia, Mystic Journey, an AUS$11,000 purchase from Tasmania, ran away with the inaugural running of the All Star, the richest one mile race in the world.
Here, credit where credit is due. Plaudits to Racing Victoria for not turning this new race into another three ring circus starring clowns and buffoons and bullies and racing media sycophants along with red sails in the sunset.
Word of mouth advertising where the product speaks for itself is always the most effective.
Mystic Journey winning the All Star Mile race was karmic. It was what horse racing needs: a level playing field where the best horse on the day won- a $11,000 purchase and not the most expensive galloper in the race won “the world’s richest mile race”. Irony, or what?
This battle of the Haves and the Have-Nots, and worse, the Haves versus the Have-Mores is tacky stuff that’s a turn off to many. Who needs it? Who wants to be part of it? It’s kinda like showing off one’s big new boobs on Instagram. And those are just the male fitness nuts who have a need to flex their photoshopped biceps.
Getting back to the HK Derby, it will be a good race. To have even the smallest emotional involvement in it is what horse racing needs. It creates memories long after the race has been run. Remember memories?
Like life, horse racing shouldn’t be a sprint. But just try telling that to the die-hards and dullards in racing clubs given the task of trying to attract a wider audience. But with what?
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