THAT BEAUTY OF A RIDE BY DOUGLAS WHYTE (AND ABOUT WINNING OVER NEW FANS)

By Hans Ebert
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“You missed the best ride I have seen by a jockey.” It was a message sent by someone relatively new to horse racing. A female in her late Twenties. French Chinese. A regular at a Happy Wednesday meeting. Someone met around three years ago for the first time at Adrenaline when helping her fill out a Six Up ticket. She was talking about Douglas Whyte’s winning ride last night at Happy Valley on the John Moore trained Good Beauty.

Though out of Hong Kong, I had watched a replay of the race. To say it was vintage Douglas Whyte wouldn’t be doing the ride nor the rider justice. And certainly not to those still learning about the incredible career of the legendary South African rider. About how very very few ride the idiosyncratic city track better. Possibly no one.

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IS IT ONLY HONG KONG? OR HAS THE WORLD LOST ITS WAY?

By Hans Ebert
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It’s not what it was. Hong Kong. How long will a Hong Kong Belonger continue to live here? Really not sure.

Where did Hong Kong start to come apart at the seams? Probably when some of us thought everything was possible. And for some reason hit that brick wall of reality.

Everything changes. And not for the better. Friendships. Marriages. Careers. Trust. Priorities.

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IV OF SPADES. A WINNING HAND. FRESH FROM THE PHILIPPINES.

By Hans Ebert
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It’s a little reminiscent of Hansen and when “MMMbop” first hit the public consciousness. Young was being sold to especially pre pubescent girls. Not by a solo act. By a pop group- three brothers in fact- who could really play. They still can. But time and age often change everything.

A few years after Hansen came all those young Disney acts riding on the success of High School Musical. Yeah.

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KEEPING IT REAL

By Hans Ebert
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Something is wrong. Very wrong. It sounds like a murder of crows out there. But they’re the sounds of silence. The noise is emanating from the online world. You know, the one divorced from reality. The one with very little sense of humour. Or no humour. And where extremely angry people have an opinion about everything. Politics. Music. Hashtag movements. And of course, sports. Everyone is unfair game.

This online world is where anything goes. It’s a dysfunctional world that hides behind Freedom of Expression. And Freedom of Speech. But what exactly does this mean? And what are its side effects?

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HORSE RACING AND THE UPHILL TASK OF WINNING OVER THOSE “YOUNGER PEOPLE”

By Hans Ebert
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Those with zero knowledge about advertising and marketing and not knowing the difference between promotions, marketing and PR talking about how something or another is “reaching younger people” always sets off alarm bells. Especially when this something or another has nothing in it for them. Those “younger people”. Like horse racing.

In Hong Kong, it’s taken the HKJC around eight years for the idea of a Happy Wednesday race meeting to evolve from what was once known as “Sassy Wednesday” to what it is now. Sassy. It sounded old. Looked old. Didn’t work. Who approved this? Something that looked like a tacky escort club in Macau? Only The Shadow knows.

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HORSE RACING AND “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?”

By Hans Ebert
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“No doubt. The very wealthy are making it impossible for we schmucks to compete. That’s why we’re out. Saw the writing on the wall. And they’ve taken all the fun out of it too. If you’re a galley slave you need to have a bit of fun, but they have everyone working too hard and being miserable with it. But they just keep banging the drum, chuck the mugs overboard and care about no one but themselves.”

A.Non

They’re intangibles. Things like motivation. And inspiration. There’s then always about ensuring that priorities are not lost in the clutter. Real priorities. Not the small stuff. But, for various reasons, many of us are bogged down by the small stuff. Perhaps even addicted to them. Scared of them.

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THE PROBLEMS (AND SOLUTIONS) OF HORSE RACING…

By Hans Ebert
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It’s not just about looking forward to the horse racing. Not in 2018 and the world hurtling towards 2019. It’s about that on course experience. Easy enough to say, but difficult to do, especially when not really understanding what this means in the context of horse racing. And first creating a product that appeals to those different customer segments. Are there that many? Maybe not.

Maybe it’s only the Haves and the Have-Nots and the purists/traditionalists and those “iconoclasts” who don’t have a clue about the “protocols” of horse racing and, supposedly, the need for them. To this group, it’s about keeping it simple. It’s not about going to the church of racingology. Or as a singer friend mentioned the other day, learning to speak Jockeynese.

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THERE’S NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT

By Hans Ebert
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Many more will leave us. Friends, some more famous than others, musical heroes, music icons, political heroes, sporting legends and everyone in between. It’s the inevitability of life. Death catches up with everyone so it really comes down to what one does in the Now and in the Living. Without wishing to sound like a Hallmark greeting card…

Looking back isn’t the answer as it always means coming up against a wall of regrets. But there’s no time for regretting. The past has packed up and walked out the door. It’s now all about what can be done today which segues into tomorrow and knowing that something positive- no matter how small and insignificant- has been achieved.

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THE RUNAWAY TRAIN THAT IS MUSIC…

By Hans Ebert
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One friend was wondering if we’d ever hear what he termed “real songs by real songwriters”- tunesmiths like the teams of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Lennon and McCartney.

There were then those songwriters who wore their hearts on their sleeves led by Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Jimmy Webb, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the musical stories of Dylan, the Brill Building commercialism of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Sedaka and Greenfield, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Boyce and Hart, Neil Diamond and so many others.

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IF THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE, HOW MANY MEDIUMS REALLY WORK FOR HORSE RACING?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Twitter has made everyone think they’re a “writer” though many still don’t know the difference between “they’re”, “their” and “there”, which, one supposes, is no different to many calling themselves “musicians” because they can tap a few keys on their laptop to “create” some sounds.

It’s become a push button world where everything has been reduced to being accepted by those with a minimum attention span as there’s just so much of everything and this voracious appetite to inhale it all in and damned the torpedoes of selectivity and exclusivity.

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