AND NOW, ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF HORSE RACING AND REAL LEADERSHIP…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Perhaps racing writers have realised by now that apart from being pigeonholed with this label, horse racing is a very specialised field. It’s also a very narrow one when it comes to readership. And like newspapers moving almost completely into the online world and hoping to be a subscriber-based product where content is king and competing for readership in a crowded information highway, it means being about diversity. Really diversifying.

Continuing to play a role in horse racing could mean looking at adding more strings to one’s bow. Just as Rock journalism suddenly disappeared after less than a decade, horse racing writers are most definitely needed, but newspaper editors and others will and have become more selective in who they use. And how. Many don’t know because it’s not a personal priority.

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WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE AND WHAT’S AFFECTING RACING IN AUSTRALIA?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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“Horse racing in Australia is its own worst enemy”. I’ve been carrying these words with me now for over a week. They keep playing in my head with me thinking when’s all this going to end, where’s it going to crash and burn, when’s Humpty Dumpty going to be an omelette, how did it all become so much of everything, who’s minding the store…

During a recent whistle stop trip to Singapore and then to Sydney for business, I managed to meet up with a longtime friend in racing. He’s given up being in the game, but remains close to some youngsters coming up the ranks who he believes in. More importantly, he understands their need for counselling and mentoring to face what lies ahead. He’s seen it all before- all those one meets on the way up and the sudden lack of a safety net on the way down. As he put it, “That trip to hell is when you’re dancing with the devil because he’s the only company you have.”

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ANYONE ELSE SEARCHING FOR THE INNER LIGHT?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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“The more one travels, the less one knows”. George Harrison sang that line on “The Inner Light” about how life flows within you and without you. It was one of those token Harrison songs that had to be included somewhere and ended up as the throwaway B Side to the Beatles’ hit single “Lady Madonna”.

Here was this meditative raga based track with George singing about something very spiritual. I didn’t get it and, probably like most, just ignored it. But as one grows older, the song has taken on a new relevance.

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WHERE ARE HORSE RACING’S GREAT STORYTELLERS?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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A friend in music and I were chatting the other day about everything and more including sex, lies and videotapes. He asked whether, as there once were Rock journalists when a publication like Rolling Stone was relevant, does horse racing have or ever had Horse Racing Journalists.

There are of course some very good and knowledgable racing writers and reporters around the world who know their subject matter and are always first with the news. But is there a place and audience for racing journalists?

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NASH RAWILLER: THE CIRCLE IS COMPLETE. THE NEXT CHAPTER BEGINS…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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There’s a Martin Scorsese movie hiding in here somewhere with an incredible script, soundtrack and some truly absorbing characters: When Nash Rawiller, below, won on Harmony Hero at Sha Tin on Sunday, what some might not have realised or had forgotten was that fourteen years earlier, the jockey won his first big race aboard Elvstroem, the sire of this now Hong Kong owned galloper who had won both of his races in Australia before being sold to Hong Kong connections for a reported AUS$1.3 million.

Forget Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon. These two wins completed a circle for Nash Rawiller. It also brought back memories of those times when an often underrated galloper in “Elvis”- Elvstroem made his mark. With his rider, they’ve both travelled under the radar. They’ve let the results speak for themselves. Sometimes, others have to speak on their behalf for the words to resonate.

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MUSIC: NEXT STOP: ASIA

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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When one of the very very very few people you respect and with a globally proven track record writes to say, “The music industry has never been in such a mess”, one not only listens, there’s a certain sense of vindication- that what you have been saying and questioning for years isn’t just talk from Sleepy Hollow and how so many have allowed themselves to be bamboozled for so long that they’re utterly burnt out, desperately clutching at straws and believing this is taking them somewhere. Please.

Social media might be a nice place to show off that you’ve made yourself a nice salad and show some happy snaps from a holiday, but as platforms to market and sell music, especially if an unknown, please don’t embarrass yourself by uploading mawkish self-promotional jive on Facebook and Instagram even if you’re wearing a hibiscus behind your ear and wobbling trying to stay in tune. All this does is highlight the terminal deficiencies when it comes to having actual talent.

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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.

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RACING IN VICTORIA: #TIMESUP

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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When under attack, the best form of defence is to attack. This seems lost on Racing Victoria’s Dad’s Army that limps along licking its wounds even when the ship has sunk and Humpty Dumpty has become an omelette.

With someone having now made the time to produce a video lampooning the Aquanita scandal and which has gone “viral” by horse racing standards, the strategy seems to be about turning the udder cheek.

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STOP PRESSING THE ‘LIKE’ BUTTON WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT IT

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s so easy to do this that one does it without thinking: Pressing that ‘like’ button on social media. We’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another, but it really must be reined in if we’re ever going to return to being selective about things and people. It’s very much part of trying to put the indiscriminate genie of social media back in the bottle and try to get our priorities right again. And stop talking emoji while at it.

We’ve been lost for far too long and the visual below really hit home with a mighty thud about dating, love, relationships, the lack of trust, the addiction to materialism and mainly a loss of focus and understanding of life’s priorities.

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