YOU HEARD RIGHT: THERE’S A SOUTH AFRICAN NIEKERK IN TOWN

By Hans Ebert
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It’s really all about reading the mood of the city. Any city. Who’s prioritising what and trying to figure out where you fit in. In Hong Kong, restaurants, shops and clubs are opening and closing. Consumers demands are forcing them to make their decisions. The old business mantra of “We’re breaking even” makes no sense. Why work to “break even”?

As has been written here many times before, horse racing twice a week is more than enough. It’s an affordable pastime or hobby. A weekend and mid-week break from a city that’s constantly changing. That’s always on the move even when standing still to catch its breath.

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HOLD YOUR HORSES AND CHILL AT SHA TIN TODAY

By Hans Ebert
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It’s more like a dress rehearsal today. The horse racing at Sha Tin. It’s impossible to hurl one’s self into anything with any great confidence. Except stating the obvious: Champion jockey Zac Purton, below, will ride a couple of winners. At least.

Champion trainer John Size will not lead in any winners. Why? He doesn’t have any runners. These early season meetings are when Size doesn’t matter. He’s chilling with Dylan. As for the card? Ho hum. Trying to pick winners? Make it a trial run.

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HONG KONG RACING AND ITS COMING ATTRACTIONS

By Hans Ebert
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In every industry it’s about expanding the customer base. Retaining the current market and expanding it. Always expanding it. It’s business 101. Marketing 101. Do those in leadership roles in horse racing lose sight of this? And its importance? Too often. And the racing media? How does it help spread the word? Improve the perception? Could there possibly be a new-fashioned entertainment media waiting in the wings to take horse racing beyond where it’s going now? Hmmmmm.

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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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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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THE ENIGMA THAT IS TONY CRUZ (AND HIS EAR PIECE)

By Hans Ebert
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While many are second guessing who will be John Size’s Go To jockey next season after Hong Kong having said sayonara to the magic and charisma of Joao Moreira, let’s not forget Tony Cruz and all the strings in his bow.

Perhaps not overlooked so much as sometimes being taken for granted as a champion trainer despite everything he’s achieved with champion horses like Bullish Luck, Egyptian Ra, California Memory and the great Silent Witness while waiting in the wings right now are Time Warp, Exultant and Pakistan Star, here’s someone both respected and feared by jockeys, because he’s been there. He set the bar. He knows the ins and outs of the game. He’s been in it and at it long enough.

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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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