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 SUNDAY RACING BUZZ

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Our heads are still spinning over all the reasons being discussed, especially online in Chinese amongst local racing fans, as to why owner Albert Hung moved his horses Rocketeer, Pablosky and Ruthven earlier this week from the stable of John Moore to that of Frankie Lor.

While passionate racing fan Andrew Hawkins, Hong Kong racing’s Jimmy Olsen of Twitter, who lives and breathes horse racing announced this “news” in English on Friday, the Chinese online world was in a tizz with various conspiracy theories the day before. Hong Kong racing fans thrive on conspiracy theories. It keeps that long train of intrigue and innuendo running.

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OF LOCAL HEROES AND A HONG KONG RACING HALL OF FAME…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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“They almost never get the credit they deserve. Never!” Someone with us at the races on Wednesday night at Happy Valley was both happy and frustrated after local trainer Me Tsui, below, had trained his third winner of the night. Tsui, below, went on to train four winners in the eight race card.

Apprentice Jack H.N.Wong, often overlooked when compared to the column inches devoted to the other two apprentices riding in Hong Kong right now, and especially the expatriate riders, rode off with the Jockey Challenge. He also completely out rode Joao Moreira most of the night with a brilliant ride to win aboard Good For You. This season’s Jack H.N.Wong is a new, improved model.

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WHY (JOHN) SIZE MATTERS

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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The remarkable thing about the news that John Size has been inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame is that most of his success has taken place in Hong Kong. But for a born and bred Australian to succeed so magnificently on “foreign soil” and having started his career here with only 19 horses yet went on to beat the great Ivan Allan by two to win the Hong Kong Trainers Championship in his first season, says much about the man wherever in the world he is.

As then Chief Steward of the HKJC John Schreck aka “The Sheriff” commented at the time, “I think what Mr Size has done reflects greatly on Australian racing people, for which I am very grateful.”

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HONG KONG CHAMPIONS DAY: THE DAY WE SAW STARS…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s needed time for everything to sink in. Plus, when hosting friends from overseas with zero knowledge of horse racing, there’s always something new to learn, absorb and think about. “I never realised horse racing could be so enjoyable,” said one very good friend. “The races I’ve been to have been all about what to wear and which milliner to use.”

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HORSE RACING IN HONG KONG ON A SATURDAY AND THOSE CH CH CH CHANGES

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s strange to think there was a time when Hong Kong only had racing on a Saturday- and only at Happy Valley racecourse.

Night racing at the city track was introduced later and had its surreal moments like the time when local rider Louis Ho simply stopped riding How Good, the 9.5 favourite, when having the race shot to bits. Think he was disqualified for six months. But it were those Saturday afternoon races in the mid Seventies and when Hong Kong was still a British colony that were big days for my family, especially my Aunt and Uncle who had their favourite jockeys and all kinds of conspiracy theories. When having seen local jockeys practice the art of jumping off horses in case they might have actually won a race, of course there were conspiracy theories.

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A QUIET BEGINNING WITH A STING IN THE TAIL

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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The sudden rain bucketing down probably helped turn what looked like a fairly predictable race meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday into a mixture of weirdness, definitely plenty of surprises and the continuing adventures of John Size and The Comeback Kid- Olivier Doleuze.

The weirdness was seeing all the dignitaries gathered to present the CUHK Alumni Cup, but with there being no winning trainer and jockey. With no one there any the wiser, an objection had been lodged by the rider of the runner up- Tommy Berry- against the horse and rider first past the post- Karis Teetan on favourite Namjong Plus. And so the HKJC executives and everyone else who were part of the presentation party kinda hung around for what seemed an inordinate amount of time. One almost expected someone to break into a soft shoe shuffle.

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THE MANY DIFFERENT FACES OF HORSE RACING AND DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s basic psychology: When good things happen to good people there’s a feeling of happiness that’s contagious. It’s been mentioned here many times: It’s The Likability Factor.

So when popular Italian jockey Alberto Sanna won the first race of the Happy Wednesday Goes Korean night- his tenth winner during his short term riding stint in Hong Kong, which has now rightfully seen his license extended until the end of this season- we cheered him on. The Italian girls in the Beer Garden screamed loudest for “Mambo Italiano”. He seems a good man, grateful to be here and knowing there’s always room for improvement.

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WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE AND WHAT’S AFFECTING RACING IN AUSTRALIA?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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“Horse racing in Australia is its own worst enemy”. I’ve been carrying these words with me now for over a week. They keep playing in my head with me thinking when’s all this going to end, where’s it going to crash and burn, when’s Humpty Dumpty going to be an omelette, how did it all become so much of everything, who’s minding the store…

During a recent whistle stop trip to Singapore and then to Sydney for business, I managed to meet up with a longtime friend in racing. He’s given up being in the game, but remains close to some youngsters coming up the ranks who he believes in. More importantly, he understands their need for counselling and mentoring to face what lies ahead. He’s seen it all before- all those one meets on the way up and the sudden lack of a safety net on the way down. As he put it, “That trip to hell is when you’re dancing with the devil because he’s the only company you have.”

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THE UPS, DOWNS AND THE LUCK OF THE IRISH IN HONG KONG RACING…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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When owners get involved in giving trainers and jockeys instructions on how to ride their horses, especially in a big Group race, the odds are that things are going to go horribly wrong. And which is what happened in the running of the Chairman’s Trophy at Sha Tin last Sunday. Too many cooks spoil the broth and all that other puff pastry stuff.

The moment one saw Karis Teetan bustling Fifty Fifty out and trying to get the usual back marker to lead at all costs, one just sat back and watched a comedy of errors take place. Forget the oddity of seeing stayer Time Warp starting the 2 to 1 favourite and the usual backing by the loyalists of Pakistan Star.

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