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 DAY DOUGLAS WHYTE CRASHED THE TWO HORSE RACE PARTY

By Hans Ebert
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Tweeting is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…Sorry, where was I? Right. I was at a club straight out of a David Lynch movie where one of the worst singers absolutely butchered “Rolling In The Deep” while a buffet of Russian nymphets were marched in, sat there and waited for the local Tony Montana to walk in along with his tattooed posse, before doing whatever it is they’re paid to do.

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UNTIL HAPPY WEDNESDAY NEXT SEASON…

By Hans Ebert
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Either it was Sunday or bust or, at first, without even a ride in the last tonight, it seemed as if he was rushing home to watch the second World Cup match of the night.

One cannot remember Joao Moreira having quite such an El Yawno book of rides as he has tonight at Happy Valley since arriving in Hong Kong and dominating local racing, rewriting the history books and, lest one forgets, winning a few Jockey Premierships.

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HAPPY WEDNESDAY SAYS ADIOS TO THE CULT OF MOREIRA

By Hans Ebert
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Win, lose or draw, there will be six winners at the end of this Hong Kong racing season- Pakistan Star for being his own man, the brilliant training achievements of John Size and Frankie Lor, very possibly trainer Tony Cruz for never wavering from believing in the Blue Tooth Fairy, and the Joao Moreira-Zac Purton battle for the Hong Kong Jockey Premiership.

Before the twitteraratti get on their high horses and ride through the Tall Poppy Syndrome, of course special mention must be given to Zac Purton who became the lethal Zac Attack and took this season’s jockey premiership to another level and will always have this writer’s respect. Is he misunderstood by some in Hong Kong? Yes. Just as Lewis Hamilton is a brilliant Formula 1 driver, and Federer and Nadal will always win hearts and minds over Djokovic and Ronaldo will trump Messi, often, success is eclipsed by popularity. And with Hong Kong racing fans, Joao Moreira remains Top Of The Pops.

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SHA TIN, HONG KONG: 8-7-2018

By Hans Ebert
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It wasn’t meant to be the race meeting that it became, especially with many still suffering from World Cup fever, and it’s tough to know what was the highlight of the races on Sunday at Shatin.

Was it the complete mastery and domination of riders Zac Purton from Australia and Brazilian Joao Moreira who rode four winners each and battled out four Quinellas? It was much more than a “battle to the wire”. That would be too easy. It had to do with the pursuit for perfection and competitiveness taken to another level. Both riders should be applauded.

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THE BOOM-BANG-A-BANG AND SHA TIN ISSUE

By Hans Ebert
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He might not exactly have the type of personality we warm to, but it would be churlish not to congratulate Craig Williams for his brilliant sextet of winners at Flemington yesterday. There wasn’t a hint of Willow making an appearance. Mr Craggles was in the zone.

And what about the completely effortless win of the Darren Weir trained and Damien Lane ridden Nature Strip over 1100 metres? Can it run out a strong 1200 metres? The comments below to the tweet from from now Singapore based Aussie trainer Lee Freedman make for fairly interesting reading.

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Opportunities knock for Douglas Whyte?

By Hans Ebert
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The fire in his belly might have never left as he’s certainly not someone to roll over and become another Yesterday’s Man, but the Chinese racing media has been abuzz of late about the persuasive powers of jockey Douglas Whyte working overtime during track work these days.

As anyone who’s watched his winning rides of Star Shine and on Kiram on Wednesday will testify to, the Durban Demon has woken up from, most likely, a self imposed hiatus where he stood back and checked out the lay of the land. Timing is everything.

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The night the sky turned pink and another Zac Attack was launched…

By Hans Ebert
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A rainstorm warning had been raised in the afternoon and I managed to make it to the Grand Cafe of the Grand Hyatt for a bowl of chicken congee, the best remedy when needing to steel one’s stomach when unsure where one might end up after the races on a Happy Wednesday and eat anything placed in front of you without thinking. It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy’s stomach. A hot bowl of congee with all the trimmings is an anatomical Great Wall of China.

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DOUGLAS WHYTE: ONE CANNOT PUT A PRICE ON PROFESSIONALISM

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Horse racing has been around since the chariot race between Judah Ben Hur and Messala. Probably even earlier.

These days, this pastime has become a spectator sport where the best- the riders, the trainers, the owners of the champion horses- are worth many millions and even billions. “These days” really wasn’t that long ago.

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SUNDAY AT SHA TIN AND BUSINESS AS USUAL

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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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.

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