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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THE HKJC COMES UP WITH A BEAUTY…

By Hans Ebert
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Rightly or wrongly, the word “malaise” was used by me recently to describe the state of horse racing. Horse racing everywhere.

This had nothing to do with the exploits of Winx, Enable, Cracksman, Beauty Generation, the brilliantly produced Cox Plate Day presentation for overseas consumption and the derring do in the saddle of riders like James McDonald, Tim Clark, Brenton Avdulla, Hugh Bowman, Kerrin McEvoy, John Allen, Ben Thompson, Damien Oliver, Craig Williams etc and outside of Australia, Frankie Dettori, Oisin Murphy, William Buick, Ryan Moore, Zac Purton, Joao Moreira and Christophe Lemaire.

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Joao Moreira is returning to Hong Kong: Anyone care? Really?

By Hans Ebert
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Remember that old saying about striking while the iron’s hot?

So, for about a week, there were the Chinese whispers that Joao Moreira would be back. Riding in Hong Kong. A Sayonara to Japan. And there were hosannas from the high! The Brazilian Magic Man was coming back! It was gonna be a conga line of Carnivale de Rio!

That was around September. And where are we now? Not much further from September.

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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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HORSE RACING: WHY THE BAR MUST CONTINUE TO BE RAISED

By Hans Ebert
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Maybe it was the weather. The hard rain that lashed across the Flemington racetrack. Maybe it was a hard act to follow the superb Cox Plate Day. Maybe it was the lack of Winxmania.

Maybe, like sex, the build up was more exciting than the main event. Maybe it was the early start? And the glut of racing across Australia. On tracks where the going was Good. It seems to make winning that much easier. Like at Ascot in Perth where William Pike didn’t let down the forty thousand and turned water into wine.

For whatever reason, viewing this year’s Melbourne Cup Day on television and from afar just didn’t do it for some of us. There were moments when we actually nodded off.

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FRANKIE DETTORI: THE HIGHS, LOWS, AND THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION…

By Hans Ebert
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He’s good for horse racing. Always has been. Even when he was staring into that abyss of life. It showed how all of us are attracted to kryptonite. That none of us are invulnerable. Not even Lanfranco Dettori. Son of Italian jockey Gianfranco Dettori from Sardenia. Better known as Frankie Dettori. Even better known as Yo! Frankie.

The man whose life has been one giant see saw ride. Up. Down. Down. Up. Sideways. Loses his way. Loses his job with Godolphin. Gets off the canvas. Dusts himself off. Starts all over again.

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MAKING A SONG AND DANCE ABOUT WINNER 1800 IN HONG KONG FOR DOUGLAS WHYTE

By Hans Ebert
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Douglas Whyte rode his 1800th winner in Hong Kong on Sunday. The name of the horse: Good Omen. The ride was vintage Whyte. Second last for much of the journey. Watching everything in front of him unfold. Then, with perfect timing, taking Good Omen out wide. Gathering in the leaders. Never resorting to the persuader. Riding the gelding to the line. Hard held. Easing it down. Made it look so easy.

Good Omen. His 1800th winner. What an incredible accomplishment. What a great Feel Good story. Good Omen. Trained by one of his main support systems during those Whyte Years. Dennis Yip.

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COX PLATE DAY AND WHEN IT TRULY WAS GOOD FOR RACING…NO HYPE NEEDED.

By Hans Ebert
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Good for racing. It’s an expression bandied about sometimes almost too liberally. That something or another is “good for racing”. Most times, it rarely is.

Yesterday at Moonee Valley, everything and everyone came together. Even those who weren’t privy to have been there. That international audience. Like many in Hong Kong who were seeing the magic of Winx for the first time. It really was good for racing.

Social media, especially Twitter, where often bile spills over into a feeding frenzy of negativity, was filled with positivity. No one tried to crash the party and dampen the mood with the usual handwringing. None of that now tiresome self righteous indignation. Those sour grapes of wrath. There was no bringing up of the usual cornflakes of personal agendas. No trolls allowed. Only positivity.

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