A SURREAL SATURDAY AWAITS AT SHA TIN TODAY

By Hans Ebert
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They say a nudge is
as good as a wink
And that a big name
from Sydney
will be in Hong Kong
long before anyone thinks
He’ll add star power to
the trainers ranks
It’s really not that hard
to fill the missing link

Some say April
will see a big announcement
About a changing of the guard
Something Moore to
stir the pie?
With some Whyte sauce
on the side?
And what will Georgie say to that?
And is it really
that big a surprise?

The rumour mill goes round and round
There’s something new every day
Someone’s going
someone’s staying
And how someone’s gotta pay

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HORSE RACING AND THE UPHILL TASK OF WINNING OVER THOSE “YOUNGER PEOPLE”

By Hans Ebert
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Those with zero knowledge about advertising and marketing and not knowing the difference between promotions, marketing and PR talking about how something or another is “reaching younger people” always sets off alarm bells. Especially when this something or another has nothing in it for them. Those “younger people”. Like horse racing.

In Hong Kong, it’s taken the HKJC around eight years for the idea of a Happy Wednesday race meeting to evolve from what was once known as “Sassy Wednesday” to what it is now. Sassy. It sounded old. Looked old. Didn’t work. Who approved this? Something that looked like a tacky escort club in Macau? Only The Shadow knows.

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HONG KONG RACING AND ITS COMING ATTRACTIONS

By Hans Ebert
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In every industry it’s about expanding the customer base. Retaining the current market and expanding it. Always expanding it. It’s business 101. Marketing 101. Do those in leadership roles in horse racing lose sight of this? And its importance? Too often. And the racing media? How does it help spread the word? Improve the perception? Could there possibly be a new-fashioned entertainment media waiting in the wings to take horse racing beyond where it’s going now? Hmmmmm.

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HORSE RACING AND TWITTER TROLLS: TIME TO CLIP THEIR WINGS

By Hans Ebert
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There should be a law against it. Seriously. A law against hiding behind pseudonyms and abusing people online. It’s high time to come down hard on those, and let’s here focus on horse racing, who take to Twitter and hide behind freedom of speech to tweet through their pockets with vile attacks. They should be named and shamed and banned by racing clubs.

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TWITTER AND HORSE RACING: HAS IT RUN ITS COURSE?

By Hans Ebert
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It was fun while it lasted. Twitter, that is. Was it only just a year ago that many in horse racing were merrily twittering away? Everything in moderation, we were taught, but all that went out the window. Everyday was tweeter than the tweet tweeted the day before. Had it become a priority in life? Tweeting?

Amongst the jockeys, those most busy on Twitter were probably the Iron Man- Neil Callan, the Zac Attack, Brenton Avdulla, Blake Shinn and Tommy Berry.

Today? Most, like Peter V’landys, The Man From The North, who joined the Twitterverse during the early days of “his” beloved Everest “concept”, seem to have withdrawn. Or at least become more selective about with whom they “engage”. Others think it’s a waste of time. An unnecessary distraction when there’s real work to be done in the real world.

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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 GLOBAL POWER OF HORSE RACING: ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL

By Hans Ebert
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Streaming. The ‘live’ streaming of any event has its pros and cons. It’s how clever one is at using streaming. The music industry considers it a blessing that has made millions for music companies. For artists, not so good, but how many realise it? Most speed read and don’t see through the fluff. Others simply don’t care. They have hulu and Netflix and life is brilliant.

Without getting into this in any great detail, how can the non-stop streaming of music on Spotify or Tidal or Tencent with no announcers- once known as disc jockeys and then VJs during the years when MTV was relevant- help introduce new talent to music fans?

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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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HAS HORSE RACING ON TWITTER RUN ITS RACE?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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There was a time when terrestrial television station HKTVB Pearl had an animated character named Freddy to tell viewers what to expect the next day.

Why? Who knows? But every day, Freddy would either melt, or his teeth would chatter and to symbolise a drop in temperature, clouds would fall down over Freddy who would squeal that “It’s faaaaaaaaliiiiing”.

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WHERE ARE HORSE RACING’S GREAT STORYTELLERS?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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A friend in music and I were chatting the other day about everything and more including sex, lies and videotapes. He asked whether, as there once were Rock journalists when a publication like Rolling Stone was relevant, does horse racing have or ever had Horse Racing Journalists.

There are of course some very good and knowledgable racing writers and reporters around the world who know their subject matter and are always first with the news. But is there a place and audience for racing journalists?

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