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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THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE AND DAYS OF FUTURE PAST OF HONG KONG RACING

By Hans Ebert
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Someone was mentioning how and what made the dragon wake up. It wasn’t a dragon so much as the Durban Demon- South African Douglas Whyte, the champion Hong Kong jockey for a record breaking thirteen consecutive seasons.

This reign, made even more remarkable as the Aussie’s support system included mainly rides from two stables, that of Dennis Yip, who somewhat surprisingly won the trainer’s championship that season, and Caspar Fownes, ended during the 2013/14 racing season when after five years of absorbing it all and fighting all the time for everything that’s not come easily since arriving in Hong Kong in 2007, Zac Purton decided that enough is enough and brought the curtain down on this phenomenal winning run.

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THE DAY DOUGLAS WHYTE CRASHED THE TWO HORSE RACE PARTY

By Hans Ebert
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Tweeting is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…Sorry, where was I? Right. I was at a club straight out of a David Lynch movie where one of the worst singers absolutely butchered “Rolling In The Deep” while a buffet of Russian nymphets were marched in, sat there and waited for the local Tony Montana to walk in along with his tattooed posse, before doing whatever it is they’re paid to do.

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LOOKING AT THE HOTEL LOUNGE SINGER IN HONG KONG

By Hans Ebert
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It’s tough being what is often described as a “lounge singer”, especially in the bar of a 5-star hotel in Hong Kong and having to please everyone- the Food & Beverage Manager, the customers- mainly tourists wanting to hear something familiar and- quelle horreurs- sometimes, the head bartender who somehow sees themselves as an A&R genius who knows music.

The latter species reminds me of my days in advertising when the ad agency producer needing to say something just for the sake of saying something asked the session singer to record another take and make it “more punchy.”

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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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TWITTERING AND SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR HAPPY VALLEY TONIGHT

By Hans Ebert
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While those who make a study of such things- and count us amongst them- wonder about the sudden drop in almost one fell swoop of being on Twitter by many in horse racing, races are still being run and right at the bottom are not tips per se, but only what we like at today’s Carnivale of Actione at another Happy Wednesday. But Twitter? Hmmmm.

While Twitter will always attract those with an opinion, especially regarding the ebb and flow of politics led by the daily Trumpeting while there will always be tweets featuring cats, other cute animals, the sayings of online life coaches and some genuinely relevant news, other than those who’ve been tweeting away about the same things for the last 5-6 years, there’s a hush out there from the rest of the racing community.

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The night the sky turned pink and another Zac Attack was launched…

By Hans Ebert
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A rainstorm warning had been raised in the afternoon and I managed to make it to the Grand Cafe of the Grand Hyatt for a bowl of chicken congee, the best remedy when needing to steel one’s stomach when unsure where one might end up after the races on a Happy Wednesday and eat anything placed in front of you without thinking. It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy’s stomach. A hot bowl of congee with all the trimmings is an anatomical Great Wall of China.

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DOUGLAS WHYTE: ONE CANNOT PUT A PRICE ON PROFESSIONALISM

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Horse racing has been around since the chariot race between Judah Ben Hur and Messala. Probably even earlier.

These days, this pastime has become a spectator sport where the best- the riders, the trainers, the owners of the champion horses- are worth many millions and even billions. “These days” really wasn’t that long ago.

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SUNDAY AT SHA TIN AND BUSINESS AS USUAL

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It was like the day after the Big Storm, at least to us foreigners who have been following the recent comings and goings of Hong Kong racing, and some here, but those mainly overseas, thinking Quasimodo was ringing the bells of doom.

To the thousands of local racing fans, Sunday was business as usual with a turnover of over HK$1.6 billion. The clouds had disappeared and the sun was out. It was a revealing dose of reality bytes and how racing is viewed by the masses: a chance to make money. Period. All the back stories? No interest. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and whatever happens in horse racing is not anyone’s business unless a race meeting is called off. Then there’s cause for handwringing.

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SAYONARA, JOAO MOREIRA, HELLO NEW BEGINNINGS

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Apparently, his heart is not in it anymore- being in Hong Kong. Guess he’s outgrown the city. Stone, paper, scissors and the heart wins over everything else including money. Joao Moreira has more than enough. He’s dead set on making his dreams come true in Japan and he’ll keep trying to pass all the tests including being able to speak and write Japanese to become only the third foreign jockey along with Christopher Lemaire and Mirco Demuro to ride in Japan on a full time basis.

It’s something he’s being trying to master for almost two years. So this has hardly been a shock move. The tea leaves were there to be read and from everything we know, he stayed on for an unplanned extra season.

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