The lemmings seem to be in super-charged mode these days and it’s quite interesting to see how many are staying true to form and with the blind leading the blind.
Right now, the investment de jour for those in the entertainment business is opening up swanky “members clubs” and which are little more than a very transparent scam based on the old game of “pyramid selling:” Come up with a concept for a club, round up some nouveau riche investors, sucker-punch them into “investing” into a club for the “beautiful people” and play with their money.
Already, one “members club” in Hong Kong has gone tits up and the shark’s tank it once had became a septic pool for piranhas and with the owners trying to out-smart and out-sue each other. But, they did start a “trend” and suddenly, “members clubs” are opening up in Shanghai, especially, and Singapore-and over there, “members clubs” that also double as casinos and where many a fortune is being lost at the baccarat tables.
Singapore Today recently carried a story about a local businessman who lost HK$594 million- around AUS$100 million- at the island’s two casinos. Henry Qwek, the businessman who lost around AUS$15 million during a three-day gambling spree, has decided against suing Resorts World Sentosa for granting him credit “too easily.” The casinos gave him a S$6 million discount- around AUS$1 million- on his debt and then another S$3 million after his case attracted publicity in the press. Who’s the dumbass here? Guess.
But the entertainment world and the horse racing world are full of dumbasses. Like the music industry, the horse racing world is clueless and, more importantly, powerless against the power of the internet and technology just how it can be used to win and make others lose.
Forget “computer syndicates” and the selling of data etc. Today, it’s a DIY world and the internet has made everything free to access and the former “syndicates” and “clockers” and “track watchers” are an entirely more sophisticated- and independent- animal.
A teenage tech geek anywhere in the word can sit in his dorm or on the toilet and bring down an entire tote board or even the betting on the Melbourne Cup on that “first Tuesday in November” if they felt they wanted to- and just for a lark.
Look, if kids can break into computer systems on Wall Street, mess up Google and the White House communications system, what’s the big deal in fooling around with some horse racing tote board? Pay them US$5k and they’ll do it just to “beat the system.”
In Hong Kong, there have been some pretty outrageous conspiracy theories going on about some of the recent results on the track and which sound like an Oliver Stone movie how “Greed Is Good” and “Greed Is Back” via a new super-duper Iron Man-type of computer syndicate. This stems mainly from a few well-timed, last-minute plunges that have come off brilliantly.
Wait, they’re not “last minute” plunges: They are nanu-second plunges as all it takes is one gentle tap on that Send button for the money to go in- millions of dollars and- we understand- coming in from China. So, when people talk about how “before it was only in Macau” where the odds changed during a race and how it’s now happening “even here,” well, no surprise. It’s called technology taking control.
A couple of Wednesdays ago, the horse Turf Magic was backed from 7s to 2s in one huge betting move and won eased down. How and where did the money from? Who knew? We know one trainer who declared this the bet of the day. A few associated with the horse said it was “on the fat side.” Hmmm.
Turf Magic and a bit on the fat side
A few weekends ago, a first starter for John Moore was punted down from 14s to 10s and, of course, won. That was just a smart bet as the horse was too good for the lot it faced. Yet, the conspiracy theories abound.
At that same race meeting in Shatin, a first starter for the Tony Cruz yard- Turf Express- won at odds of over 45 to 1 in Hong Kong. In Oz, if betting on this former Gai Waterhouse-trained galloper, one got “only” 15s on the same horse.
Right now, America might be facing an economic meltdown, but, especially in China, many of the nouveau riche businessmen have money to burn and don’t give two fig leaves how and where they invest this money and which is why they are coming in droves into the casinos in Singapore and Macau.
It’s also why, say some in the know, they are following or are being coerced into “investing” in horse racing.
Like all these shee shee “members clubs,” there are now very slick, very savvy individuals who know more than the backside of a horse playing with these people who wouldn’t know a backside of a horse.
Many of these nouveau riche own horses around the world- Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Oz- especially, Melbourne and Perth, the UK and, no matter what anyone thinks, Hong Kong is not immune.
Some of Perth’s new horse owners from China enjoying a day at the races at Belmont Park
In fact, it never has been and it’s no secret that there are and have been many horses running in Hong Kong which are “controlled” by those who are not the “official owners.”
Gee, Dorothy, we might not be in Kansas, says the Wicked Witch, and with some horses even owned by trainers and jockeys, assistant trainers and retired trainers who are said to no longer have any “ties” with Hong Kong racing. The “ties that bind” can never be cut. In the middle of all this is Technology.
While racing clubs dither and spend millions to make betting more “customercentric,” there are those who know bugger all about form and pedigree etc “playing” with the tote as easily as they do entering a new comment onto their Facebook pages.
Speaking of which, think about some of the young jocks in Oz who were pulled up for posting comments on Facebook and told to close down their accounts. A smart, street-wise lawyer would argue that this is an invasion of privacy.
Anyway, and with Oz hardly being on the cutting edge of technology, what the Stewards don’t realize is that one can never close a Facebook account. Yes, you can check in any time you want, but you can never leave. Twitter accounts, SMS-ing etc, it’s opened up a whole new world for punting and last minute information.
Gone are the days when wondering if the “signal” was whether the whip would be under the left arm or the right. Or if the horse was a “no go” if the jock pulled his goggles down in the parade ring. Or if the jock started fidgeting with his saddle and had the whip between his teeth meant that he was “trying.”
That’s Old School Thinking and theorizing and about as bell as Igor ringing the bells.
Like the music industry which was caught with its pants down when Napster arrived on the scene and illegal file sharing started and which has now decimated this industry, the horse racing industry should be put on High Alert:
Technology is over-taking all racing clubs and the focus placed on being “customercentric” is not addressing the real “customercentric” issues at stake.
THE BIG MELBOURNE FREEZE
We are in Melbourne for the spring racing carnival and we can only confirm what many say about Melbourne weather: It is the closest thing to the Antarctic. Storms, hail and the iciest winds that visitors have experienced for many a long day greeted us when we ventured out to Caulfield for what looked to be on paper a super day of racing.
Credit though where credit is due to the Melbourne Racing Club and their track staff for their diligence and professionalism in enabling the meeting to proceed – a far cry from what would have taken place in Sydney and particularly at Randwick.
Not only did we notice many jockeys returning to scale with relatively unmarked silks, but they even had the courage to upgrade the track later in the day.
The racing was, we believe, very fair, with horses able to come off the pace from the first half of the field and some very good riding performances.
The three votes we believe clearly went to Michael Walker, not so long ago the Kiwi whiz kid, who is attempting to re-establish himself in Melbourne. If what we saw last Saturday is any indication, and if Michael Walker can keep his head together, it’s a no brainer that he will soon be at the top of the tree in the Melbourne riding ranks.
His two winning rides on Ginga Dude and Culminate were ten out of ten and demonstrated his considerable natural talent and horsemanship and ability to judge the pace of a race extremely well. He has a great seat in the saddle and horses seem to run for him.
The win of Descarado in the Caulfield Cup for our old mate Chris “Monkey” Munce and the first lady of Australian racing–Gai Waterhouse, was an extremely popular victory.
The monkey man has been to hell and back and his cool head was again evident as he didn’t panic when posted wide early in the race and then slotted perfectly behind Triple Honour just off the pace. When he drove Descarado to the lead it was all over. They seldom get past Gai’s horses in the straight: She has them so fit and strong.
Gai as always was her exuberant self with her infectious enthusiasm for racing and winning the races that matter. It was her first Caulfield Cup victory and we don’t think it will be her last.
The Peter Moody-Luke Nolen bandwagon kept rolling again with a double to the premier trainer/jockey combination from last season and they are still on a roll. The win of Set For Fame was outstanding and our Melbourne mates tell us that the trainer and jockey will continue to have a spring racing carnival without any hint of the moodies.
“Awwww, f***, not this photo again!” Moody gets moody.
TABCORP DEMERGER TURNS UP THE HEAT ON THE RACING INDUSTRY
The news of the demerger of Tabcorp’s wagering and gaming operations whilst not totally unexpected has major ramifications for Australian racing and for wagering. Finance and business analysts predict that both demerged entities will be ripe for takeover and the future of the wagering arm is what must be sending shivers down the spines of the State racing governing bodies in Victoria and NSW in particular.
It has long been expected that Tabcorp and its major competitor Unitab may eventually merge under a takeover by one of the wagering giants.
What may and probably will cloud the outcome and future of Tabcorp and the Australian wagering market is the possible entry of one of the major offshore wagering giants whose balance sheets and coffers are overflowing from the deregulation of the wagering landscape in Europe.
It also poses several intriguing questions over the future of the AJC/STC merger, which Racing NSW, the AJC, the NSW Racing Minister and the big Hunter breeders are so gung ho about.
STATHI KATSIDIS: A RACING AND REAL LIFE TRAGEDY
The distressing news of the untimely demise of champion Queensland jockey Stathi Katsidis sends another clear message of the real life challenges that face jockeys both on and off the racetrack.
The Queensland and Sydney racing media are reporting that Stathi may have been the victim of a drug overdose, which only compounds the tragedy of Stathi Katsidis whom most believed had successfully challenged his demons and was riding in career best form. We have always said that he was one of Australia’s most underrated jockeys and we shall miss him terribly. He was a very good, solid bloke.
He was booked to ride one of his favourite horses Shoot Out in Saturday’s Cox Plate and was regarded as one of the main threats to So You Think. Sadly it was not meant to be.
We remember Stathi Katsidis as one of the best to have been produced by Queensland in recent years. His record spoke for itself. It was no surprise to see Stathi’s name alongside three or four winners on a Saturday metropolitan program in Brisbane.
Stathi was highly respected by his peers and like everyone in the racing industry we are greatly saddened by his untimely exit.
THE DYE IS CAST
Shane Dye flanked by Gerard Mosse and Brent Thomson
RS Dye is back- and back in Hong Kong. After his stint in Mauritius, there was talk of him taking his saddle and whip and moving to India. But, no, he’s back in Hongkers and, according to some, is doing some “form work” for a new “Asian betting syndicate.” Guess he has given up his jockeys’ license. Well, if so, we can only wish everyone the best of luck.
Punting in Hong Kong- and winning- is an almost impossible task and the days of “computer syndicates” have, ironically, been overtaken by technology. See above. In fact, everything has been over-taken by technology- and which includes the entire horse racing industry.
Right now, in Hong Kong, the game of Chinese Whispers has become so convoluted and off-beam and just plain goofy that we’re suffering from whiplash. Little wonder that the HKJC has, apparently, hired some new members to beef up their security department as some of the stories making the rounds makes it sound as if everyone is on the rort.
Frankly, most of what we have heard is absolute rubbish. The one thing we would question are the number of slow-starts out of the barriers that befall one experienced senior jockey following which he appears to get his act together and be making up for lost time, all of which has the horse pooped with 400 metres still to go. All these theatrics makes the Artful Dodger look like an amateur.
We have “kept book” on the number of “slow starts” this jockey has been involved with over the past few seasons and the season so far and have to wonder if Chief Stipe Kim “You’re Suspended!” Kelly goes walkies during the start of races.
“You are suspended!” Kim Kelly gets tough?
THE RACINGBITCH GUEST TIPSTERS COLUMN
We might be losing our Guest Tipsters. They’re going along at such a steady clip that they are talking of bonuses and even wanting to charge for their tips. What???? People actually PAY for things on the internet???? What a unique concept! PAYING for other people’s work! We must remember that!
Seriously though, we simply cannot afford the time nor the energy to keep bringing out The Bitch for free. So, the day when it disappears forever – and returns in a new guise and with a group of investors propping it up- looms fast and large.
In the meantime, the tips, the tips…
CHLOE’S HOT ONES
RACE 1: 4-11-2-8
RACE 2: 6-8-12-2
RACE 3: 1-10-11-9
RACE 4: 10-9-4-6
RACE 5: 6-10-4-2
RACE 6: 11-10-4-6
RACE 7: 2-12-11-1
RACE 8: 3-2-9-1
NAP: RACE 6:11
NB: RACE 7:2
MAGIC STALLION’S PICKS
RACE 1: 4-1-11-8
RACE 2: 2-8-6-1
RACE 3: 5-4-9-1
RACE 4: 3-1-6-11
RACE 5: 4-10-5-1
RACE 6: 4-10-11-9
RACE 7: 12-11-8-2
RACE 8: 3-8-2-1
NAP Race 8: 3
NB Race 6: 4
SOME UNSUNG HEROES
It is amazing what a little confidence can do. Ever since he won on his first-ever ride in Japan and his first-ever ride in a Group 1 race on Ultra Fantasy, we have been watching local jockey Alex Lai and the 26-year-old is riding every horse he’s legged aboard with a new-found maturity.
Sometimes, in the rush to heap adulation of the shoulders of Dougie Whyte and Brett Prebble, we tend to have the blinkers on. We’ve taken them off and have to say that Alex HW Lai has ridden some superb races and even though some might not have won- and which, on paper, didn’t even look like placing– he has given them some very clever rides. And imagine the thrill if Alex Lai were to ride Mr Medici in the Melbourne Cup- and which might have been confirmed by now!
Also well overdue for praise are jockeys Jeff Lloyd and Zac Purton. We have been fans of the Zac Attack since his days as an apprentice in Sydney and when he would prefer riding the waves in Bondi with his mate Damien Oliver to riding horses.
In Hong Kong, he’s buckled down and is booting home the winners and all he now needs to do is keep on the straight and narrow as success attracts the pariahs. Just ask the “Monkey Man”- Chris Munce- about pariahs and what it did to him and how it did him in. He’s a good bloke is our “Monkey” who has put the past behind him and is making a huge comeback in Oz. Winning the Caulfield Cup on Descarado- the ride has gone back to regular pilot Nash Rawiller for the Melbourne Cup- has put his name back in lights. Perhaps we are wrong, but we believe he is also the only jockey to have won the Aussie Grand Slam of Cup wins.
“Monkey Munce” gets captured by tribe of amazons!
Also, our hats off to Jeff Lloyd. He has experience on his side, he’s tough, he’s a crafty old bugger, he doesn’t give an inch and, while the great Darren Beadman was on the sidelines, he sure came through for the John Moore yard. Let’s jut hope his talent is not wasted on being legged aboard horses for the likes of a Francis Lui and an Andy Leung. Lloyd still reminds us of Wilfred “Steptoe” Brambell looking for “’arold.”
Jeff Lloyd and ‘arold.
WHY WE DON’T SING “WO AI NINN” TO ITS OWNER
“The start was delayed when WO AI NINN proved very difficult to load. Before being allowed to race again, WO AI NINN will be required to perform satisfactorily in an official barrier trial.”
We read this from the Stipes Report after Wednesday’s race meeting and had a good chuckle. For a minute there, we thought Kim Kelly had done one the most significant gestures needed in Hong Kong racing and had demanded that the owner of Wo Ai Ninn- it means “I Love You” in Mandarin- be sent for a barrier trial for rogue owners.
The horse is owned by John Suen, below left and with the broken thumb, the fung-shui-driven mad and just power-mad owner of former champion horse Good Ba Ba.The man is a twat. We don’t feel “the love” when it comes to him.