THE CHANGING FACE OF HORSE RACING IN A CONSTANTLY CHANGING WORLD

By Hans Ebert
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A friend was keeping me company as I watched the cricket test match between England and India where the latter crumbled like soggy papadums after the dismissal of their captain Virat Kohli.

We had been watching the match for three consecutive nights and it didn’t take her long to understand the rudiments of cricket. Being a lawyer, she’s no airhead. During the intervals for lunch and tea, we had talked about where to go out for dinner or a late night drink, but just how “monotonous” it all is these days. And how boring most of the people we meet can be. Negativity is contagious. Who needs it?

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UNTIL HAPPY WEDNESDAY NEXT SEASON…

By Hans Ebert
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Either it was Sunday or bust or, at first, without even a ride in the last tonight, it seemed as if he was rushing home to watch the second World Cup match of the night.

One cannot remember Joao Moreira having quite such an El Yawno book of rides as he has tonight at Happy Valley since arriving in Hong Kong and dominating local racing, rewriting the history books and, lest one forgets, winning a few Jockey Premierships.

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HAPPY WEDNESDAY SAYS ADIOS TO THE CULT OF MOREIRA

By Hans Ebert
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Win, lose or draw, there will be six winners at the end of this Hong Kong racing season- Pakistan Star for being his own man, the brilliant training achievements of John Size and Frankie Lor, very possibly trainer Tony Cruz for never wavering from believing in the Blue Tooth Fairy, and the Joao Moreira-Zac Purton battle for the Hong Kong Jockey Premiership.

Before the twitteraratti get on their high horses and ride through the Tall Poppy Syndrome, of course special mention must be given to Zac Purton who became the lethal Zac Attack and took this season’s jockey premiership to another level and will always have this writer’s respect. Is he misunderstood by some in Hong Kong? Yes. Just as Lewis Hamilton is a brilliant Formula 1 driver, and Federer and Nadal will always win hearts and minds over Djokovic and Ronaldo will trump Messi, often, success is eclipsed by popularity. And with Hong Kong racing fans, Joao Moreira remains Top Of The Pops.

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SHA TIN, HONG KONG: 8-7-2018

By Hans Ebert
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It wasn’t meant to be the race meeting that it became, especially with many still suffering from World Cup fever, and it’s tough to know what was the highlight of the races on Sunday at Shatin.

Was it the complete mastery and domination of riders Zac Purton from Australia and Brazilian Joao Moreira who rode four winners each and battled out four Quinellas? It was much more than a “battle to the wire”. That would be too easy. It had to do with the pursuit for perfection and competitiveness taken to another level. Both riders should be applauded.

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Why the races at Sha Tin can be a game changer

By Hans Ebert
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World Cup Fatigue had struck as hard as the three goals the night before by Ronaldo, so we never made it to the races at Sha Tin.

Truth be told, we extremely rarely go to Sha Tin- and especially if there’s racing across the Big Waters on a Saturday. It’s hard to imagine these days that once upon a barren rock, there was only horse racing in Hong Kong on a Saturday- and only at Happy Valley.

Kowloon was where the nightlife and everything else throbbed- the clubs, the nightlife, the gorgeous dancers back from the USSR and working at upmarket escort clubs Club BBoss and Club De China.

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A TRIP THROUGH RACING’S FIELD OF DREAMS

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s not so much that he’s lost his mojo, but realising that even magic men run out of tricks or that others learn new ones which work better.

Happy Valley has never been happy hunting grounds for Joao Moreira and he’ll be the first to admit it. And though he rode a double, at least to someone who’s written about him being “poetry in motion” and “being one with the horse”, what at least I saw on Happy Wednesday looked like a desperate chihuahua zig zagging all over the place and getting two winners, but, overall, looking nothing out of the ordinary. He must have been having an off day.

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THE HAPPY WEDNESDAY RACING BUZZ AND UNDERSTANDING PAKISTAN STAR

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It was a four timer for Zac Purton at Sha Tin on Sunday including, below, the first win in Hong Kong of the former Bott/Waterhouse trained Montreal, which means he’s only four wins behind Jockey Premiership leader Joao Moreira.

With the Brazilian Magic Man forced to sit out two upcoming race meetings after pleading guilty to a careless riding charge, the rampaging Zac Attack can afford to chillax a little bit and smell the dim sum. Not that he will. There’s too much at stake to drop his guard. Joao Moreira is no pushover.

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THE HKJC AND ITS FIELD(S) OF DREAMS

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Not to sound corny or come across as if alien fairies abducted me to visit Never Never Land before returning me to Planet Earth, but after a somewhat low key start to this racing season in Hong Kong, it’s suddenly blossomed into a field of dreams happening in the real world.

While Adele once lamented how “we could have had it all”, someone’s suddenly pressed the On button and the show has begun in earnest with almost every meeting over the past few months giving racing fans something new to cheer about.

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