THE HKJC COMES UP WITH A BEAUTY…

By Hans Ebert
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Rightly or wrongly, the word “malaise” was used by me recently to describe the state of horse racing. Horse racing everywhere.

This had nothing to do with the exploits of Winx, Enable, Cracksman, Beauty Generation, the brilliantly produced Cox Plate Day presentation for overseas consumption and the derring do in the saddle of riders like James McDonald, Tim Clark, Brenton Avdulla, Hugh Bowman, Kerrin McEvoy, John Allen, Ben Thompson, Damien Oliver, Craig Williams etc and outside of Australia, Frankie Dettori, Oisin Murphy, William Buick, Ryan Moore, Zac Purton, Joao Moreira and Christophe Lemaire.

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SOCIAL MEDIA: HOW EFFECTIVELY IS HORSE RACING USING IT? REALLY.

By Hans Ebert
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There was a time not really that long ago though time often flies on unexpected wings at a worldwide music conference in Munich when us executives listened to a panel of young Facebook execs explain how we could use the social media platform- very new at the time- to sell more music. To work closer with music fans. Introduce new music much more cost effectively. And with more pinpoint accuracy. How MySpace was finished. But never ever thinking that this thing called “social media” would get off the ground, we never listened.

Ignorance and arrogance came into play and most of us saw their presentation as a break to grab some chocolate muffins and chat up one of the Facebookers.

We -the music industry- had successfully sued illegal file sharing site Napster and co founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning and believed that nothing was going to change our world. The six star lifestyle was going to continue. So much for that dream.

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THAT BEAUTY OF A RIDE BY DOUGLAS WHYTE (AND ABOUT WINNING OVER NEW FANS)

By Hans Ebert
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“You missed the best ride I have seen by a jockey.” It was a message sent by someone relatively new to horse racing. A female in her late Twenties. French Chinese. A regular at a Happy Wednesday meeting. Someone met around three years ago for the first time at Adrenaline when helping her fill out a Six Up ticket. She was talking about Douglas Whyte’s winning ride last night at Happy Valley on the John Moore trained Good Beauty.

Though out of Hong Kong, I had watched a replay of the race. To say it was vintage Douglas Whyte wouldn’t be doing the ride nor the rider justice. And certainly not to those still learning about the incredible career of the legendary South African rider. About how very very few ride the idiosyncratic city track better. Possibly no one.

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HORSE RACING: WHY THE BAR MUST CONTINUE TO BE RAISED

By Hans Ebert
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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.

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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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