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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IT’S TIME FOR SOME FUNTING

By Hans Ebert
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It was exactly what was needed. Fun. Infectious fun. So infectious that the dancing magically morphed into a conga line. And all this taking place at a racetrack. At the venue known as Adrenaline of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

The last race had been run and the international group of young millennials from the Beer Garden had been making their way up to Adrenaline to kick on before the last two races had been run.

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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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HORSE RACING AND “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?”

By Hans Ebert
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“No doubt. The very wealthy are making it impossible for we schmucks to compete. That’s why we’re out. Saw the writing on the wall. And they’ve taken all the fun out of it too. If you’re a galley slave you need to have a bit of fun, but they have everyone working too hard and being miserable with it. But they just keep banging the drum, chuck the mugs overboard and care about no one but themselves.”

A.Non

They’re intangibles. Things like motivation. And inspiration. There’s then always about ensuring that priorities are not lost in the clutter. Real priorities. Not the small stuff. But, for various reasons, many of us are bogged down by the small stuff. Perhaps even addicted to them. Scared of them.

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THE GAUCH (AND HORSE RACING ACCENTUATING THE POSITIVE)

By Hans Ebert
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There’s a new book out by Kristen Manning on the jockey known to many in racing as The Gauch. Darren Gauci.

Though occasionally seeing him, especially after the night meetings at Happy Valley when he was riding in Hong Kong, I only got to really meet the gentleman over a coffee when in Melbourne. That was almost two years ago. It was at Mr Hives in the Crown. We talked. We joked. Got to know each other as well as one can in a couple of hours.

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WHERE ARE HORSE RACING’S MAD MEN?

By Hans Ebert
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“Does horse racing really need to be creative? Doesn’t it kinda just sell itself?” It was a two part question asked by a small group of very international creative types during a long lunch earlier this week at a hotel in Hong Kong.

Some had had their flights canceled because of a rampaging Typhoon Mangkhut and were taking shelter from the storm. Others were soaking in the experience of being caught in a real typhoon for the first time. My thoughts were with friends in the Philippines. And those here and their families and property there. Meanwhile Twitter went into such ferocious overdrive with constant updates and videos from so many alarmists, it needed its caffeine intake taken away.

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TAB RADIO: WHERE IS THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD HEADING?

By Hans Ebert
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Right now, it’s The Little Engine That Might Just Be Able To Make A Difference. The question is, Will it be allowed to? How long will it last? How can it travel further? Do the decision makers believe it has a future?

I enjoy tuning into TAB Radio in Western Australia. And this is at a time when I am questioning horse racing content, its relevance, racing writers and the pastime’s mediums for its messages.

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HORSE RACING, CRAZY RICH ASIANS AND JUMPING INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN

By Hans Ebert
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It’s about understanding what makes anyone come horse racing, especially in this day and age where so many have a buffet of leisure activities available to them 24/7. It’s a complex question to answer to get one’s head around. And even if answered, there are more questions to answer. Inquisitive minds need to know.

Many who show up for a Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley racecourse in Hong Kong make up a wildly interesting and very different customer demographic. They’re fascinating beasts. Do they come for the horse racing or the on course experience? If a betting person, one would say the latter. They’re still learning about the racing caper and are risk averse. They’re suspicious. Integrity in racing almost needs a complete overhaul. Drop the word “almost”. Frankly, horse racing might just need to completely reinvent itself to appeal to them and hand them the reins to make the most of what will always be a pastime.

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HORSE RACING IN THE LAND OF THE BLIND.

By Hans Ebert
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“How many holes does it take to fill the Albert Hall?” John Lennon sang that line on the Beatles’ haunting recording of “A Day In The Life”. It could apply to every racing club in the world. Every. One. And this should be looked at as something positive. As a challenge. As a call to action. And change. Why? There’s a very different consumer and customer out there today who looks at horse racing very differently. Not a huge customer group. But it’s something. And they’re demanding change. It’s a quiet revolution. Maybe it’s time for one. High time.

It’s up to those running racing clubs and those running every single medium that hosts horse racing news and information and content to wake up and read the tea leaves. Horse racing is very quickly looking old. It’s talking to itself. It’s quickly becoming senile.

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THE PROBLEMS (AND SOLUTIONS) OF HORSE RACING…

By Hans Ebert
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It’s not just about looking forward to the horse racing. Not in 2018 and the world hurtling towards 2019. It’s about that on course experience. Easy enough to say, but difficult to do, especially when not really understanding what this means in the context of horse racing. And first creating a product that appeals to those different customer segments. Are there that many? Maybe not.

Maybe it’s only the Haves and the Have-Nots and the purists/traditionalists and those “iconoclasts” who don’t have a clue about the “protocols” of horse racing and, supposedly, the need for them. To this group, it’s about keeping it simple. It’s not about going to the church of racingology. Or as a singer friend mentioned the other day, learning to speak Jockeynese.

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