HORSE RACING, “YOUNGER PEOPLE” AND THE GIFT OF GIVING

By Hans Ebert
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If someone who follows horse racing religiously and does the form, understands handicapping, track conditions, times, odds, track work etc, everything that follows below is not for you.

You’re what racing clubs put in the “hardcore” basket and say they know exactly your wants and needs and cater to all of these. Maybe.

Some might say that this is pretty narrow minded thinking- continuing to preach to the converted. But if this captive audience continues to make turnover tick and tock, why fix the wheel when it ain’t broke?

Why?

Well, coming from the music industry, and having seen this wheel fall off when music fans understood how to get music for free and saw the compact disc along with a music channel like MTV in its death throes- all those superficial VJs seeing their fifteen minutes of fame go up in flames was awful to watch- nothing is ever what it seems. Or goes according to plan. The consumer is always in the driver’s seat.

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TIME TO CHANGE FREQUENCIES, HKJC. PLEASE.

By Hans Ebert
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It was one of those rare- and often, Old Mother Hubbard’s bare cupboard- an all weather race meeting- at night and at Sha Tin- on a Wednesday. Yesterday. Golly gosh, Gee, I don’t know. Remember yesterday?

Those of us who live in Hong Kong, well, most of us, know what this means- eight races that one can either take or leave and, unlike a Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley racecourse, something that, especially on bilingual Channel 668 on NOW TV, takes one back to living with the folks and watching programmes like “Highway Patrol”, “Laramie”, “Bonanza”, Mrs Steed and when Roger Moore starred as Ivanhoe.

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IS HORSE RACING READY FOR IGNATIUS WOLVERINE-CHEUNG?

By Hans Ebert
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Ignatius Cheung, below is a little man, perhaps a little strange to some, with big plans. Plans to revolutionise horse racing, worldwide.

Known to friends as Iggy, the American born Chinese-Mongolian entrepreneur plans to become the racing world’s first horse owner, trainer and jockey with his own stables located wherever there’s horse racing.

Having been a child stunt rider in movies ranging from “The Black Stallion” to “Ben Hur”, and describing himself as a “hoarse whisperer” able to communicate with horses through a special technique learned when living with the nomadic tribes in Inner Mongolia and studying Mongolian throat music, Ignatius Wolverine-Cheung, the only son of billionaire and controversial Forex trader Augustus Wolverine-Cheung, below, came into his own when creating Wolverine Enterprises and its privately held computer chip business.

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AND SILVESTRE THE BRAZILIAN CAT RAN AWAY WITH THE SPOON…AND THE 2018 HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL JOCKEYS CHAMPIONSHIP

By Hans Ebert
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First things first…It might have been drizzling, but Irish eyes were smiling. This was when young Colin Keane, champion rider of Ireland, ran away with the first leg of the 2018 Longines International Jockeys’ Championship. Literally ran away with the race.

Despite drawing the outside barrier- supposedly not exactly ideal on the very tight Happy Valley track, especially over the 1000 metres of the race- Keane patiently allowed his mount to find its feet and the John Size trained Special Stars won eased down.

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HAPPY WEDNESDAY: WHAT A STRANGE TRIP IT’S BEEN GETTING HERE

By Hans Ebert
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It used to be only about the Beer Garden. It was actually a friend in horse racing from Melbourne who first told me about it. About its “vibe”. What more it might be.

He had visited it during one of his HKIR pilgrimages and was, quite rightly, impressed with its unique setting. The unique setting of Happy Valley racecourse. Especially under the lights.

These were during the days when Wednesday night racing at Happy Valley was named Sassy Wednesdays.

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WHAT’S COMING DOWN THE PIKE IN ONE SWIFT MOVEMENT?

By Hans Ebert
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A friend in horse racing describes him as “the Winx of riders”. Another calls him “freakish”. A racing executive, one of the few I respect, teases me that “The Cult Of Moreira” has, at least to me, become “The Cult Of William Pike”. He doesn’t share what he thinks is the “man love” for the Perth-based rider. Thinks. Following him in a race can be heart stopping stuff.

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TIME FOR HORSE RACING TO GET REAL

By Hans Ebert
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It’s like music festivals. There are so many around these days that music fans are spoilt for choice. There’s also a pecking order attached. The bigger the flapjacks appearing on the bill, the greater the magnet to be there. Very often just to say that you were there. An Instagram moment.

Glastonbury, Ibiza, Roskilde- it’s about the music and the vibes and the people and the location. And in what is a downturn in the economy, it’s also about value and who provides music fans with more bangs for their buck. More of everything, please, but without that price tag to attend ever becoming exorbitant. Pricing out the good times.

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GET BACK TO WHERE YOU ONCE BELONGED

By Hans Ebert
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There’s that opening chord to “Hard Days Night”. That “naughty chord”. Some of us are still trying to figure it out. Same with the chords to many of their other songs.

Being left handed, McCartney tuned his guitar differently. Strung his strings “upside down”. Was this how he was seemingly able to pluck such wonderful melodies out of thin air?

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THE HKIJC AND ROLLING OUT A NEW RED CARPET

By Hans Ebert
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In a rather sombre video to create an almost film noire mood for the upcoming Hong Kong Longines International Jockeys Championships, over what sounds like the soundtrack to “Taxi Driver”, appear the words, “Champions collide while darkness falls”. Easy chaps. And lighten up. One hopes no one collides with anyone. It could get a tad messy.

What’s interesting about this evening’s races, other than trying to snag a couple of the huge jackpots up for grabs, is wondering who will fill that last berth to represent Hong Kong in the “darkness”. Chad Schofield or Douglas Whyte?

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THE ONGOING COMEBACK OF JASON MASKIELL…

By Hans Ebert
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It wasn’t just good to hear. It had to be heard. It was inspiring. One seldom cheers on an interview on radio. But listening yesterday to Michael Felgate interview jockey Jason Maskiell on RSN about how one of the most promising riding talents in Melbourne- a champion apprentice- has pulled himself out from the abyss of self-destruction spoke volumes.

There was something Dickensian to his story. One kept waiting for a Fagin to appear. Or to be mentioned. Horse racing is littered with Fagins. The invisible ones are the most dangerous. They feed on the weak. And no one is strong all the time. We may think so. But we’re not.

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