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.
Douglas Whyte was the first person to bring him to my attention. It was about eight years ago. “This kid is very good,” said the champion South African rider. “He’s got great hands and certainly has potential. My only concern is that he’s already a tall boy. This might work against him.” It hasn’t.
During the off season, the HKJC sent now 30 year old Derek Leung to France to gain more experience by working for the great trainer Andre Fabre. One understands that Fabre, too, commented on the Hong Kong born rider’s hands. He also mentioned the rider’s attitude. Positive and always willing to learn.
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.
Our heads are still spinning over all the reasons being discussed, especially online in Chinese amongst local racing fans, as to why owner Albert Hung moved his horses Rocketeer, Pablosky and Ruthven earlier this week from the stable of John Moore to that of Frankie Lor.
While passionate racing fan Andrew Hawkins, Hong Kong racing’s Jimmy Olsen of Twitter, who lives and breathes horse racing announced this “news” in English on Friday, the Chinese online world was in a tizz with various conspiracy theories the day before. Hong Kong racing fans thrive on conspiracy theories. It keeps that long train of intrigue and innuendo running.