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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HOW EFFECTIVELY IS HORSE RACING USING SOCIAL MEDIA? (AND THANK YOU, MICHAEL RODD)

By Hans Ebert
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Got a pocketful of dreams
And lotsa hope in my heart
Hope my ship comes in
In the shape of a horse
Lost my mind and lost my soul
Somewhere along the way
Will just kick back now
Let Mother Nature make my day

Gotta a lot of numbers
Just hope they all add up
Don’t wanna see them fade
Into a discardable paper cup
No time for looking down
And letting negativity get in the way
No need to go back into darkness
When it’s all about looking up…

HE

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THE HKJC AND ITS OWN PROJECT: RUNWAY

By Hans Ebert
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Too often they get lost in the shuffle. Lost in the column inches and tweets and talk and innuendos given to the the current jockey merry-go-round. But this season in particular, the equine talent in Hong Kong has never been better. Never has there been a better crop. They’ve come of age. A crop of extremely good young gallopers. Gallopers who could be anything.

There was the facile win of Glorious Forever at Sha Tin last Sunday. Glorious Forever. The younger brother of English import Time Warp who came into his own last season.

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FUNTING GOES GLOBAL…

By Hans Ebert
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While reading the SCMP’s chief racing writer Tom Biddington put forward his question as to why or when James McDonald isn’t or might possibly ride in Hong Kong, the talented young New Zealander was busy arguing his case after the running of the Ladbrokes Coongy Cup. This was yesterday on Caulfield Cup Day.

Originally called a dead heat between The Big Mac ridden and Godolphin owned Best Of Days and the Kerrin McEvoy ridden Mask Of Time, the latter fired in a protest. It was a justifiable one. As the protest dragged on, it didn’t look good for the connections of Best Of Days. The galloper seemed to slightly shift in on the other dead heater. James McDonald’s oratory skills must match his prowess in the saddle. The protest was finally overthrown.

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