Why the races at Sha Tin can be a game changer

By Hans Ebert
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World Cup Fatigue had struck as hard as the three goals the night before by Ronaldo, so we never made it to the races at Sha Tin.

Truth be told, we extremely rarely go to Sha Tin- and especially if there’s racing across the Big Waters on a Saturday. It’s hard to imagine these days that once upon a barren rock, there was only horse racing in Hong Kong on a Saturday- and only at Happy Valley.

Kowloon was where the nightlife and everything else throbbed- the clubs, the nightlife, the gorgeous dancers back from the USSR and working at upmarket escort clubs Club BBoss and Club De China.

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WHY IS HORSE RACING TAKING SO LONG TO GET TO WHEREVER IT’S GOING?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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There was an extra spring in his step as Zac Purton sashayed out of Sha Tin racecourse on Sunday. After basically calling Joao Moreira a bit of a cry baby in a freewheeling interview the day before for blaming the lack of his usual sombrero of winners on not having enough stable support due to his own inability to choose the best rides, the Australian Zac Attack managed to keep the Brazilian Magic Man’s lead to just three as the Batman and The Joker of Hong Kong racing continue to stir the pot and play mind games with each other.

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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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IF THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE, HOW MANY MEDIUMS REALLY WORK FOR HORSE RACING?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Twitter has made everyone think they’re a “writer” though many still don’t know the difference between “they’re”, “their” and “there”, which, one supposes, is no different to many calling themselves “musicians” because they can tap a few keys on their laptop to “create” some sounds.

It’s become a push button world where everything has been reduced to being accepted by those with a minimum attention span as there’s just so much of everything and this voracious appetite to inhale it all in and damned the torpedoes of selectivity and exclusivity.

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OF LOCAL HEROES AND A HONG KONG RACING HALL OF FAME…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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“They almost never get the credit they deserve. Never!” Someone with us at the races on Wednesday night at Happy Valley was both happy and frustrated after local trainer Me Tsui, below, had trained his third winner of the night. Tsui, below, went on to train four winners in the eight race card.

Apprentice Jack H.N.Wong, often overlooked when compared to the column inches devoted to the other two apprentices riding in Hong Kong right now, and especially the expatriate riders, rode off with the Jockey Challenge. He also completely out rode Joao Moreira most of the night with a brilliant ride to win aboard Good For You. This season’s Jack H.N.Wong is a new, improved model.

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WHERE EXACTLY IS HORSE RACING HEADING?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It was a challenge and a random exercise to see how much we had changed along with the world around us. A friend asked me to open a Twitter account saying that my old and fairly popular horse racing blog Racingb*tch was back as Racing Buzzfeed, follow a few people and see how I felt and what might happen.

That was at 8am on Sunday. By noon, I had grown bored with it. There were a few followers, I had tweeted a few innocuous messages, and that was the extent to this exercise in futility. It wasn’t just stupid, it brought back memories of those who were continuously lampooned on Racingb*tch- and who are still there and doing the same old walk of life.

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HORSE RACING IN HONG KONG ON A SATURDAY AND THOSE CH CH CH CHANGES

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s strange to think there was a time when Hong Kong only had racing on a Saturday- and only at Happy Valley racecourse.

Night racing at the city track was introduced later and had its surreal moments like the time when local rider Louis Ho simply stopped riding How Good, the 9.5 favourite, when having the race shot to bits. Think he was disqualified for six months. But it were those Saturday afternoon races in the mid Seventies and when Hong Kong was still a British colony that were big days for my family, especially my Aunt and Uncle who had their favourite jockeys and all kinds of conspiracy theories. When having seen local jockeys practice the art of jumping off horses in case they might have actually won a race, of course there were conspiracy theories.

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THE MANY DIFFERENT FACES OF HORSE RACING AND DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s basic psychology: When good things happen to good people there’s a feeling of happiness that’s contagious. It’s been mentioned here many times: It’s The Likability Factor.

So when popular Italian jockey Alberto Sanna won the first race of the Happy Wednesday Goes Korean night- his tenth winner during his short term riding stint in Hong Kong, which has now rightfully seen his license extended until the end of this season- we cheered him on. The Italian girls in the Beer Garden screamed loudest for “Mambo Italiano”. He seems a good man, grateful to be here and knowing there’s always room for improvement.

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MARKETING THE LIKABILITY OF HORSE RACING

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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By now, some of us look at racing at Happy Valley as one big party- ‘live’ music, food, beer, and eight horse races every half hour and where one might wave to champion jockey Joao Moreira, but seldom, if ever, follow him at the idiosyncratic city track.

Forget what the professional tipsters say. Even magic men need some time to chill. And with Happy Valley very seldom being his happy hunting grounds, one lost count of the favourites on which Moreira didn’t even run in the top two on Happy Wednesday. Maybe not even in the top three. But Joao Moreira is likeable and likability is a major asset in success or failure in Hong Kong. One doubts it’s something not lost on horse racing’s new kid on the block- Alberto Sanna.

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WHY IT’S GOT TO BE MUCH MORE THAN SOME SONGS AND LOOKING AT THE CHINA ENTERTAINMENT MARKET WITH THOSE WHO REALLY KNOW IT

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Writing this with a repeat of Britain’s Got Talent flickering in the background and some random Spotify Playlist playing what could be described as “coffee shop music” while thinking about one particular well-known name dropping music blogger who is clueless about the world outside of America writing incessantly about embracing new technology and The New, but then goes on and on about the need for artists to tour and how touring gave the Grateful Dead their loyal Deadheads shows just how unfocused, hypocritical and confusing trying to make a career out of music has become. All the excitement and enthusiasm seems to have been sucked out and replaced with bland clutter and speaking in the vagaries of circles.

Trying to make a livelihood out of music today is almost an impossibility. Or so it seems. To those who’ve worked in music companies run as successful businesses by visionaries like Ahmet Ertegun and Chris Blackwell and grown up watching, and even getting to know, unknown artists become legends, it’s easy to come across being know-it-all windbags and dreadful bores in the process.

Continue reading “WHY IT’S GOT TO BE MUCH MORE THAN SOME SONGS AND LOOKING AT THE CHINA ENTERTAINMENT MARKET WITH THOSE WHO REALLY KNOW IT”