NASH RAWILLER: THE CIRCLE IS COMPLETE. THE NEXT CHAPTER BEGINS…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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There’s a Martin Scorsese movie hiding in here somewhere with an incredible script, soundtrack and some truly absorbing characters: When Nash Rawiller, below, won on Harmony Hero at Sha Tin on Sunday, what some might not have realised or had forgotten was that fourteen years earlier, the jockey won his first big race aboard Elvstroem, the sire of this now Hong Kong owned galloper who had won both of his races in Australia before being sold to Hong Kong connections for a reported AUS$1.3 million.

Forget Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon. These two wins completed a circle for Nash Rawiller. It also brought back memories of those times when an often underrated galloper in “Elvis”- Elvstroem made his mark. With his rider, they’ve both travelled under the radar. They’ve let the results speak for themselves. Sometimes, others have to speak on their behalf for the words to resonate.

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HORSE RACING’S EASTER PARADE. ALL IT WAS CRACKED UP TO BE?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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For those who attended Sheikh Mo’s annual garden party in Dubai on Saturday or who watched the coverage of the races on television, well, it went according to script. The Sheikh’s Godolphin brand was to the fore all night, especially when their Thunder Snow won the Group 1 World Cup thanks to another brilliant ride by Christophe Soumillon and quite a phenomenal training effort by miracle man Saeed bin Suroor. It was an upset win? Really? It was absolutely flying! Godolphin was flying with five winners on the night.

There was the win on the dirt of the Aiden O’Brien trained Mendelssohn ridden by that man Ryan Moore and the quite extraordinary win of Mind Your Biscuits that had many choking on their kebabs.

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LEADERSHIP, TRUST ISSUES AND THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF HORSE RACING

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Instead of him working the room, some of us watched the room work the CEO of the HKJC on Wednesday. The room was the venue Adrenaline at Happy Valley racecourse and we were headed for the home stretch. The excellent band led by singer Jennifer Palor was performing a mix of old school and new school music and we waited to say our Hellos.

As is now part of his Happy Wednesday “schedule”, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges arrived after the last race had been run. Even CEOs need to chill out and just settle into the music being performed.

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MUSIC: NEXT STOP: ASIA

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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When one of the very very very few people you respect and with a globally proven track record writes to say, “The music industry has never been in such a mess”, one not only listens, there’s a certain sense of vindication- that what you have been saying and questioning for years isn’t just talk from Sleepy Hollow and how so many have allowed themselves to be bamboozled for so long that they’re utterly burnt out, desperately clutching at straws and believing this is taking them somewhere. Please.

Social media might be a nice place to show off that you’ve made yourself a nice salad and show some happy snaps from a holiday, but as platforms to market and sell music, especially if an unknown, please don’t embarrass yourself by uploading mawkish self-promotional jive on Facebook and Instagram even if you’re wearing a hibiscus behind your ear and wobbling trying to stay in tune. All this does is highlight the terminal deficiencies when it comes to having actual talent.

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MARKETING THE LIKABILITY OF HORSE RACING

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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By now, some of us look at racing at Happy Valley as one big party- ‘live’ music, food, beer, and eight horse races every half hour and where one might wave to champion jockey Joao Moreira, but seldom, if ever, follow him at the idiosyncratic city track.

Forget what the professional tipsters say. Even magic men need some time to chill. And with Happy Valley very seldom being his happy hunting grounds, one lost count of the favourites on which Moreira didn’t even run in the top two on Happy Wednesday. Maybe not even in the top three. But Joao Moreira is likeable and likability is a major asset in success or failure in Hong Kong. One doubts it’s something not lost on horse racing’s new kid on the block- Alberto Sanna.

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WHY IT’S GOT TO BE MUCH MORE THAN SOME SONGS AND LOOKING AT THE CHINA ENTERTAINMENT MARKET WITH THOSE WHO REALLY KNOW IT

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Writing this with a repeat of Britain’s Got Talent flickering in the background and some random Spotify Playlist playing what could be described as “coffee shop music” while thinking about one particular well-known name dropping music blogger who is clueless about the world outside of America writing incessantly about embracing new technology and The New, but then goes on and on about the need for artists to tour and how touring gave the Grateful Dead their loyal Deadheads shows just how unfocused, hypocritical and confusing trying to make a career out of music has become. All the excitement and enthusiasm seems to have been sucked out and replaced with bland clutter and speaking in the vagaries of circles.

Trying to make a livelihood out of music today is almost an impossibility. Or so it seems. To those who’ve worked in music companies run as successful businesses by visionaries like Ahmet Ertegun and Chris Blackwell and grown up watching, and even getting to know, unknown artists become legends, it’s easy to come across being know-it-all windbags and dreadful bores in the process.

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A SNAPSHOT OF THE RECORD BREAKING 2018 BMW HONG KONG DERBY

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Italian jockey Alberto Sanna leaves race goers shell shocked and reeling by winning the first race aboard over 100 to 1 shot Smart Charade. It was an Italian Job no one expected.

Many faint when seeing how much the Quartet paid: over HK$690,000- for ONE DOLLAR and not the usual $10 for a full ticket!

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HONG KONG RACING AND THE MEDIUMS FOR THE TRILINGUAL MESSAGES

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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What many following Hong Kong racing from overseas often forget, or perhaps don’t even know, is that this is a bilingual and, more and more, a trilingual market made up of Cantonese, Putonghua and English.

Trying to explain this to musicians not in this region has always been an uphill task- the different tastes of music fans in Taiwan compared to those in Mainland China, how Chinese don’t consider themselves Asians, and just how irrelevant Hong Kong is these days as a music market other than being a celebration to narcissism, navels and kitsch.

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WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? WHAT’S MUSIC SAYING TO YOU

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It probably started with Chris Cornell: Slowing down an uptempo song and giving it a new twist just as he did with his amazing version of “Billie Jean”.

Michael Jackson and producer Quincy Jones had given the world a slice of slick, danceable pop aided by a hugely important music video during those early days of MTV which helped enormously in breaking a black artist into the mainstream consciousness when Sony Chairman at the time- Walter Yetnikoff, below, played hardball with the new music channel: Put “Billie Jean” on Heavy Rotation or else you don’t get any other video by Sony artists- Springsteen, Journey, Billy Joel, Cindi Lauper etc etc.

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HORSE RACING AND WHY WE LOVE COMEBACK STORIES

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Just when thinking we’ve regressed even further by taking music down a well trodden path of banality through a reboot of “American Idol”, there suddenly appeared David Byrne being interviewed by Stephen Colbert- sharp, well read, always the musical iconoclast talking about perhaps writing a musical about Jared Kuchner before taking viewers on a new take on everywhere music has yet to travel with “Everybody’s Coming To My House”.

The track catches you off guard. But you go for the ride and the further you do, there’s the feeling, Virginia, that really is a Santa Claus and all is not lost. There’s the flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.

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