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One of the best Game Changers in tennis we have seen in years.
It’s all well and good having great horses, great jockeys and trainers, but who and where are the game changers in horse racing? And if those who are running racing clubs today believe there is no need for change or are waiting for technology to point the way for them, they are daft, useless and have completely lost the plot. Or maybe, they never had any plot which would make the reasons for them assuming these exalted positions so much more mind-numbingly baffling.
John Cornish, that now well-known visionary leading the ATC into whatever and wherever had to have been given his position by someone. Who? More importantly, Why?
“I embrace technology every day by updating my Facebook page.”
Same goes for our old mate Peter V’Landy’s who sits there running Racing NSW while probably doing jigsaw puzzles and playing Totopoly with his cronies.
Now, both Johnno and Pete are, no doubt, lovely blokes and who can talk themselves dizzy, but can they LEAD by example and from the front?
More importantly- and this goes to everyone running a racing club today- do they know who they are talking to and what today’s new generation of racegoers WANT from racing clubs and from horse racing as one of a hundred other sources of entertainment?
Are they GAME CHANGERS?
Do they even realize what the game IS or are they just happy to let things be and have no idea that the wheel is not only broke, but that it’s fallen off?
We keep banging on about the music industry and the similarities between it and the racing industry for a reason: Never get to a point where horse racing goes down the crapper the way music companies have gone- in fact, the whole music industry- and which is why it’s trying to put on a brave front when everyone can see that the bulge is not real. They are just some socks stuffed in there to show they still have some balls.
Fake! Fake! Fake!
Like racing clubs have good/great horses, jockeys, trainers, music companies had- past tense- brilliant artists, music, back-catalogues etc.
So what happened? No game changers plus artists got pissed off and left knowing the obscene amounts of THEIR money being spent on fluff.
One music label, for example, was revealed to have spent over US$200,000 on flowers for Dame Elton John. Millions of pounds had been spent on useless MDs and “marketing meetings,” “Digital Days” meetings, hours of video conferencing where no one could see anyone- many music companies still have no idea what Skype is and how much money it could save them- and, of course, executives swanning around the world on Business Class and staying in 5-star hotels around the world pretending to try and make “the locals” understand how to be a “global company”.
They NEVER made the time to understand their AUDIENCE. The twats took them for granted and that CDs would just sell on their own.
As for all this “global swanning” jaunts, they were actually shopping and shagging expeditions in Hong Kong Bangkok, Shanghai and the Philippines and where No Money, No Honey, Suckie Suckie, Baby Want Happy Ending and Baby Want Short Time were not the names of newly discovered ABBA tracks.
In the case of Eric Nicoli, known as the Biscuit Bungler as his only claim to fame before joining EMI Music as Chairman was creating the Yorkie Bar when heading up United Biscuits, he became REALLY well-known when it was learnt that he used the music company’s money to buy a cottage out in the boonies of London and which only he and his Personal Assistant knew about.
Yet, when Guy Hands and his private equity company called Terra Firma- or “Terrarists” as they became to be known- bought EMI, walked in and looked at all this stupid spending that had been allowed to happen under his watch, they gave Nicoli a reported ten million quid handshake to get on his bike and then started laying off junior staff from all corners of the world to make up for company losses.
Again, someone would have had to have hired Eric Nicoli- from United Biscuits to a MUSIC company????- and why on earth was he entitled to a multi-million dollar golden shake?
“I messed up big time and was paid millions to fuck off.”
As with the recent case involving Rupert and James Murdoch- and other heads will roll as the whole News Of The World/News Corp/Fox saga is far from over as the Fat Lady is yet to sing- and like those brain-dead louts who went on a looting spree in the UK, we could be watching something close to the storming of the Bastille and a battle between the Haves and the Have-nots.
In other words, people are fed up of being constantly screwed. It starts to hurt when one tries to sit down.
Things will get [more] messy and it WILL shake up governments and every industry. The horse racing industry- currently in very dire straits- will not be spared and put out of its misery with a silver bullet. It will have to re-group, re-think, know its NEW market and soldier on.
So, again, we come to the Game Changers and how every industry in BUSINESS- and horse racing IS a business- needs them now more than ever as they must lead from the front and have the right troops watching their backs and helping to move things forward.
In Australia, especially, it’s all one shameless game of the Emperor’s New Robes and pass-the-buck.
The hired troops are looking after their OWN backs by being highly-paid sycophants. Just keep agreeing with the Big Fromage and keep their gigs.
What horse racing needs are those who will lead with an iron fist, yes, but inside a velvet glove, and with honest words coming from their mouths and not through their backsides- and people with a certain amount of intellect. Winging it and hoping something sticks will not work anymore.
We are now also seeing a very obvious changing of the old guard.
In Australia, Lee Feedman has given it all up and taken his ball and gone home, refuting rumours of him going to train in Europe. Europe? Lee Freedman? Come on.
David Hayes is basically starting all over again and in their places are new and excellent young trainers like Joe Pride, Peter Moody and Chris Waller.
In the jockey ranks, sure, one can never count out Damien Oliver, Corey Brown, The Boss, Dettori, Fallon, Mosse, Coetzee and a few others. But quickly moving up alongside them are young guns firing on all cylinders like Ben Melham, James McDonald, Daniel Stackhouse whereas in Europe there are the brilliant whizz kids Maxime Guyon and Mikael Barzalona. Yes, they are most definitely game changers in the jockey ranks.
Changes and ringing out the old and ringing in the new is happening in every sport and with one-time “invincible forces” suddenly falling apart.
Remember Tiger Woods? Where is he today? The Bogey Man has caught up with him and he now looks as if he should have been in the cast of “Lost”.
All that private clubbing and holes in one seem to have taken much outta him and he now looks like a desperate man who no longer has a fawning media behind him. If anything, they want him to fail.
As Don Henley sang, it’s all about Dirty Laundry: Build them when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down.
Sharapova and Federer are on the way down. Schumacher should never have returned to Formula One whereas multi-million dollar baseball star Alex Rodriguez aka A-Rod is now known as “A-Fraud” and known better for hanging out with his celebrity pals and facing charges of steroid and cocaine use than playing ball.
A-Fraud and A-Short Bloke.
Look at the once invincible Aussie cricket team- today eclipsed by the Poms, no less. Where did Alistair Cook- a rather boring batsman to watch though a brilliant run accumulator- Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan come from?
There are other changes taking place, or will take place.
For the moment, jockeys, trainers and others in sports can be fined or “ruled foul” for comments they make on Facebook or via Twitter. But new laws will definitely be drawn up as technology becomes more sophisticated and cyberspace is policed far better than it is today.
Technology has already brought the world closer together than any world leaders have done and technology will also bring about both evolution and revolution before the likes of John Cornish will even know what has bitten them on their arses.
Another thing: When these sportsmen- and jockeys are sportsmen- start hiring “real” management to look after their sponsorship deals and other new business opportunities and not just finding them rides, the goalposts and rules and contracts will HAVE to change.
When Simon Fuller who once managed the Spice Girls and created the “Idol” franchise can also manage David Beckham, Lewis Hamilton and Andy Murray, does anyone seriously think he is not looking at “marquee value” names in horse racing?
Will the day not come soon when he will sit down and make deals for his clients in horse racing with the game changers we keep asking about?
Simon Fuller has not made it to where he is today by being a fool and “only a creative whacko”. He is the right combination of shrewd deal maker, very savvy creative person and being a game changer in the real sense of the word in the many ways he has expanded his X1X Management empire.
If he were to get involved in the sport, horse racing will receive a huge boost. His name attracts other big names and big names equal big success and big money. But, it will need extremely savvy, INTERESTING and CHARISMATIC heads of racing clubs who can sit down and, for example, have dinner with him and talk business and move things forward instead of saying, “What’s the hurry?”
Someone like Fuller will be coming at everything from a very different point of view rather than talking about handicapping, whip rules and waiting for technology to point the way to the future. If he smells a whiff of Ye Olde School Thinking, it will be a very short dinner and a very quick Goodnight.
All this is why those running racing clubs today need to “expand their universe” and roller decks, get out much more than they do, work with new business partners from other industries, understand how these industries “speak” to their key markets and, ah, yes, not be scared shitless of technology.
New technology and new ways of doing old things should be embraced. Those leading racing clubs must grow to understand what is happening around them and leave their ivory towers and highly-paid toadies once in a while. Wisely use those hired and reward them for what they accomplish.
Politics and politicians in the horse racing industry and those who are the living embodiment of The Peter [V’landy’s?] Principle by having reached their levels of incompetence years ago and are just being “kept on” to be highly paid Yes People, should be shown the door with a polite, “It’s been swell.”
Keeping them on means holding back everything new due to various insecurities, plus their inability to make decisions without committee decisions and by being clueless about what works today.
Their incompetence is plain for all to see. But what is someone going to do about it? And when?
The way we see it, the current economic climate will decide where the game changers in horse racing will come from- and with every sign pointing to Asia- namely Singapore and, especially, Hong Kong.
Japan will always be attractive to jockeys as owners like the Yoshidas will always have a huge yen to bring in International names to ride for them and we know many being tempted by some mouth-watering offers.
However, the entire Japanese racing setup is a strange one and quite a closed shop to “gaigins”- foreigners. It will never be a game changer as they’re more than happy to be insular and keep playing by their own rules.
Dubai and Sheikh Mo? Their time has come and gone and with the much-touted Meydan Racecourse being a very expensive white elephant.
“It’s too fucking small, infidel!”
Already, many from Oz have made flying visits to Singapore, Hong Kong and various provinces in China bearing gifts and smiles from The Land Down Under and with ideas for “future partnerships”.
But in Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges aka “Winnie” and “E.B”,the wily coyote CEO of the HKJC, and Tan Guong Chin, Chairman of the Singapore Turf Club, are two very smart people- in their own ways.
As with a very good hand of poker, they know what they are holding and will never reveal it too early. Premature ejaculation has always led one nowhere.
They will do the courteous thing and listen, but always knowing who to “let in” and ensuring that the tail won’t end up wagging the dog.
As for dealing with China, few will ever understand the inscrutable Chinese in Mainland China- not even the Chinese- and so all these fleeting visits are pretty much pointless unless “Head Office” had some “regional offices” staffed with those who know dim sum from some sums and Gumbai from Double Bay.
If anyone “has China”, it is The HKJC as, after all, Hong Kong IS part of China. There is already an HKJC Club house in Beijing and we’re willing to bet that the Chinese authorities will lift the ban on, at least, horse racing.
This is not as remote a possibility as one thinks and now if and when this happens, THIS will be a major game changer- and with Hong Kong reaping most of the rewards.
When John Cornish was recently quoted about the possibilities of “closer ties with Asia” by a pooling of all the Australian totes, the man knows Australia cannot survive for much longer operating on it’s own- not if it wishes to be a global player.
He was also quoted as saying the following- and which says much:”If we can make our tote pools considerably bulkier then we are going to engage with the bigger punters and open up a whole range of opportunities in Asia. If the provinces in China embrace racing, as I believe they will, the additional betting turnover into our national pool could be huge.”
PROVINCES in China? A province like Wuhan has been holding racing meetings for a number of years and where punters can win refrigerators and pots and pans.
Punters in Wuhan go crazy with excitement watching the races and the chance to win a rice cooker.
It’s the big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and cash-rich Chengdu that need to be tapped and where the nouveau-riche Chinese punters live and breathe and would dearly love to be part of Hong Kong’s horse racing scene and spend millions on purchasing the very BEST horses money can buy.
One can visit all the many provinces in China, watch the tinpot racing there and come back with nothing more than some pots and pans and empty promises and which the local media buys as being something much bigger than it is.
What people like John Cornish and others who come to Asia on these flying visits don’t seem to understand is that a club like the HKJC has a number of other priorities.
Working with the ATC? Eh, maybe.
As for Singapore, today, it is no longer dismissed as “Singabore” and Hong Kong is losing many to that city which is offering new International businesses many new initiatives, it is the International media’s regional hub and is attracting more shows and entertainment than Hong Kong or Macau.
The nightlife is thriving, the two casinos are booming as is the club scene all of which can only benefit the Singapore Turf Club and which is taking rapid baby steps though still many lengths behind their Hong Kong counterpart.
All this from a city that once stopped Cliff Richard at the airport for having “long hair”.
As for Hong Kong, though somewhat on the back-foot when it comes to attracting International entrepreneurs and being beaten to a pulp by Singapore on many levels, it remains the land of milk and honey for many- especially those in racing.
The possibilities of jockeys Brett Prebble, Darren Beadman and Zac Purton returning to Oz to ride are a million to none. Same goes for a fine jockey like Danny Beasley now very much at home riding in Singapore.
“Return to Oz to ride? Nyyyyyaaaaah!”
Why should they when in Hong Kong there are two race meetings a week, the money is great,there’s Thursday for golf and lunches and dinners with very generous Chinese owners- if they win?
And then there’s the racing- and everything else that is being added to bring the sport very quickly into the 21st Century and to attract the future generation of racegoers: The Beer Garden at Happy Valley Racecourse, the Happy Wednesday events, the re-opening of the club called Adrenaline and some of the best facilities in the world offered at both of Hong Kong’s racing venues.
There is also a CEO determined to find that balance between traditional marketing, reaching new racegoers via all the new technology platforms used in social media marketing and looking at the business side of things- meaning turnover.
Winnie wonders if the ceiling is collapsing
It’s taken us a while to understand how “Winnie” works and to paraphrase that great author Donna Summer, he works hard for the money.
Sure, he gets paid the Big Bucks, sure he might be, as some say, “Machiavellian”- and which we’d take as a complement as it means the man must have strong intellectual powers.
Within a large organisation like the HKJC, one has to be Machiavellian as it means having the smarts to be able to read people and know when and where to step in and when to bow out.
If, as some also say, he is “difficult”, this might mean “difficult” for actually having an opinion and point of view.
He also manages to go from negotiating with Andre Fabre for Maxime Guyon to spend a few months racing in Hong Kong to then flying to Beijing to “make nice” with the Chinese Authorities while all the time trying to drum some sense into the blinkered thinking of the cretins at the local Home Affairs Bureau.
Panelists watch as Winnie shows how he calms himself when thinking about the HAB.
Finding a game changer in Australian racing is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Or a haystack inside a needle. But take a nine-hour Cathay Pacific flight- see Bitches And Pieces on CX- to Honkers and you will find a potential game changer in Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges.
“Winnie” is unique in racing: A German and true racing man who is out there dealing with Chinese bureaucracy, every other kind of bureaucracy, meeting everyone from around the world, listening to many and often doing it with a wry smile as if to say, “These people are morons.”
He commands respect from friend and foe alike.He is single-minded in his quest for excellence in Hong Kong racing.There are no half measures in his modus operandi.
He is known to search far and wide and relentlessly for the best administrators to deliver world’s best practice for Hong Kong racing. And so the melting pot of his executive team drawn form across the globe – from Europe to the US and Australia and domestically from Hong Kong.
We say potential game changer because we know how much better Hong Kong racing can be if the Home Affairs Bureau lets go of the vice like grip that it has placed preventing the Hong Kong Jockey Club co-mingling its pools with other international racing jurisdictions and creating global racing products and wagering pools which can revive and regenerate horse racing and capture the hearts, minds and wallets of the generation that has been lost to racing.
With “Winnie” at the helm, it would fast track Hong Kong to the top of the tree in global racing.
We say potential for another reason, and that is the hierarchy of the Jockey Club itself which has been known to choose the safe options and dictate a conservative path to its decision-making executives.
Things at the HKJC might not be perfect and current archaic rules and Old School thinking from some quarters must change.
But despite the imperfections, all this only shows just how dire things must be at other racing clubs around the world…and which will always remain lagging very many lengths behind Hong Kong due to lack of vision, lack of intellect and simple lack of balls.
MACAU JOCKEY CLUB: HOT, TIRED AND RUNNING ON EMPTY
We were speaking to some mates in Macau recently and it is still the same old tales of gloom and doom and those running the club running it into the ground.
Despite the sweltering heat, racing is still going on and without a break as, with the Hong Kong racing season on “hiatus”, it’s the only time the MJC can increase their coffers by 50%. Do they care how the horses pull up? What do you think?
“We’re in the middle of August and no one still knows the calendar for next season,” said one frustrated trainer. “We just have horses going round and round, some breaking down and new purchases never making it to the track.”
If there is any good news, it’s that Kiwi jockey Andrew Calder, pictured below, is doing very well over there as is a young French jockey whose name escapes us and along with once-promising former Hong Kong apprentice Peter Ho.
So why are these people still there? Where’s there to go? One reaches a certain age, a certain point in life, one gets into a rut and so decides to stick it out.
To us, it’s still the same tinpot racing club made up of horses which never passed the vets test in Hong Kong and owners who can never own horses under their own names in Hong Kong.
The races are often “strange affairs,” the “quality” of people who attend are on the low end of the social spectrum and often wearing shades indoors, and those running the club are more like chump change gamers as opposed to game changers.
We reckon, the price of the MJC will drop as the entire Stanley Ho empire is under siege from all sides- ex-wives, squabbling siblings and, recently, the casino mogul’s estranged sister- all wanting a slice of the old boy’s fortune- and which includes the club.
There will come a breaking point and when this happens, the club will be up for sale at a low price and we are betting it will be snapped up by another racing club in very close proximity which will take it and whip it into shape and make it some semblance of what horse racing should be.
ATC PROBLEMS MIRROR THE STATE OF NSW RACING
There are many in the NSW racing industry who will breathe a collective sigh of relief at the recent announcement by NSW Racing Minister George Souris, putting the kibosh on the ATC’s grandiose plans for high rise commercial development on the High Street side of the Randwick racecourse. It was both the ace and the joker in the pack for the ATC.
The ace – if it had been given the green light by Souris to provide a funding floor of the cash strapped ATC; a buffer and lifeline for future revenue streams. The joker – if Souris gave it the red light, rendering the plan just another flight of fantasy, in keeping with the culture of NSW racing.
To recap what we have said previously, irrespective of which political party won the last State election, NSW was and is broke.
No incoming Government with a whole term ahead of it, was ever going to, either put its hand in its pocket and bail the racing industry out, or change legislation and set a precedent for commercial development on crown land.
The naivety of the ATC to even roll the dice on such a long shot is embarrassing. And hearing some of the public musings of Chairman John Cornish, it is starting to confirm some of our worst fears for the future of NSW racing and the merged ATC.
A young John Cornish?
NSW racing is BROKE – financially and philosophically. It is directionless – it is the archetypal ship without a rudder. NSW racing has lost its soul.The Fat Lady- Lady Soul herself in Aretha Franklin- has sung.
The evidence is there for all to see. It is wracked by disunity and political infighting. The governing body – Racing NSW and the principal racing club – the newly formed ATC are both in a state of disarray, with power blocs emerging within each organization and setting clear lines of difference, which threatens to plunge NSW racing into a state of impotence, which will inevitably demand State Government intervention.
There are a myriad of problems, which keep getting harder and more expensive to fix as they continue to be ignored. It is very much like the problem of addressing addiction – you need to recognize that you do have a problem and then seek professional help.
Racing NSW and the ATC as the principal club, like its predecessor the AJC, are both in denial- and we don’t mean the river in Egypt.
Like many of their fellow travelers, they have no long term strategy to resuscitate NSWC racing.
Hell, they don’t even have a short term strategy, except gambling recklessly and expensively on the protracted and futile court case to win the product fee battle against the corporate bookmakers. They are FUCKING LOST.
In the meantime, NSW racing is broke. It had to “gift” revenue rights to a potential cash cow in the cartoon racing product “Trackside” to Tabcorp, so it could get hold of the $150 million or so to bring Randwick dragging and screaming into the 21st century, and even then the entire business case is dead in the water with the high rise development being permanently shelved.
So bad is the situation with the ATC finances, that it is rumoured to be getting its “spin doctors” into top gear for when it reports a substantial black hole in its balance sheet – a figure of around $50 million reportedly.
If the $150 million was going to underwrite a new stand and members facilities and “theatre of the horse” mounting yard and new stabling blocks for Randwick trainers, where will the ATA find the money to fix up the ploughed paddock that then once great Randwick course proper?
With every meeting held at this once magnificent world class racetrack, there is constant evidence of track bias, fast lanes, soft patches – a patchwork quilt that undermines the confidence of punters, trainers, owners and jockeys.
Randwick is in dire need of a makeover. But a track makeover cost millions – just ask the VRC what it cost to fix up Flemington.
In the west, the sell off at Warwick Farm is gathering momentum. Trainers are up in arms at the state of the training facilities and the lack of infrastructure spending.
They are pissed off that land in the racecourse precinct is being rezoned and sold off by the ATC to create funding for these essential capital works and infrastructure. Selling off the farm is alive and well apparently at Warwick Farm.
What the ATC fails to recognize is that running down your asset base is a desperate and dangerous act. It leaves you with fuck all to offer up as collateral when you front up to a financier.
It strangles your funding options and leaves you at the mercy of what is quaintly described in the commercial world as “market forces”.
And if Randwick and Warwick Farm are bordering on basket cases, you shudder in disbelief when you hear well-placed decision makers in NSW racing salivating at the prospect of selling off Canterbury racecourse.
We have long suspected the Canterbury sell off as the prime motivation force behind the push for the AJC/STC merger. The billion dollar injection of funding would be the lifeline for NSW racing – eliminating debt and funding all the necessities as well as the indulgences of the ego driven men and women who are in the drivers seat in NSW racing.
“Hey, wanna watch my nose get longer?”
The problems don’t stop with funding. There is the perennial and worsening problem of Saturday metropolitan field sizes.
Each Saturday, the biggest punting day of the week, Sydney racing continues to be embarrassed and grossly disadvantaged by its pathetically unacceptable field sizes.
Race fields with eight or less starters often take more up a third of the program – costing NSW racing millions of valuable dollars in lost wagering revenue opportunities.
Take this forthcoming Saturday meeting at Warwick Farm where a pathetic 103 nominations have been received for the eight race card, with quire a few nominated by Lloyd Williams’ Victorian stable.
Contrast this with the 214 nominations for Saturday’s Moonee Valley race meeting and there is an overwhelming case for the administrators of NSW racing to take the only possible course open to them and resign or face the sack.
The fish after all, always rots from the head.
“Hmmmm, what’s that smell, mate? Is it me?”
Programming and handicapping in NSW has long been identified by trainers as one of the major culprits of the small Saturday metropolitan fields, but, despite the complaints getting louder and the language more colourful, and promises of reviews and change, no meaningful solution has been found and seems unlikely, as NSW racing lurches from one crisis to the other.
And yet, over the border in Victoria, the contrast could not be more striking: It is yin and yang. And that is despite the carefully planned efforts at undermining Victorian racing by the powerful vested interests, associated with NSW racing and in particular the Hunter Valley breeders.
Victorian racing despite its own problems and shortcomings is a “black caviar” type distance ahead of NSW racing.
The denial however continues, and has infiltrated through to the training ranks with trainers like John O’Shea believing the Racing NSW spin that prize money will go through the roof if Racing NSW wins the product fee case against the corporate bookmakers.
What planet are you living on Johnny boy? How about telling your fellow trainers what would happen if your mate V’Landys loses the case?
Get your fellow committee members of the NSW Trainers Association to force Racing NSW to sit down with your corporate bookmaker mates and negotiate a settlement – for once do something constructive Johnno.
“Let me ask YOU this: Am I really a knob?”
NSW racing in its present form is unsustainable. It is in dire need of a radical shake-up. The scorched earth solution must be applied NOW.
Racing NSW has failed, the ATC is following it its footsteps and those of its predecessor, the AJC.
There is no soft option. Both organizations must be torched at their executive level. Some if not all Board members must be shown the door.
NSW racing can no longer afford to be held hostage to the personal commercial agendas and egos of the Hunter Valley breeders. They must be driven out before it’s later than it’s now.
BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK
The Victorians have done it again. They’ve produced another exciting “black” to their racing landscape in champion hurdler Black and Bent.
While the other “black” – world champion racehorse Black Caviar has been off the scene enjoying a well earned break and preparing for her spring and summer onslaught, Black and Bent has been creating all the headlines and for all the right reasons.
The Robert Smerdon-trained jumper has captured the imagination and attention of racing fans throughout then off-season with his superb jumping to remain undefeated over the hurdles by increasing margins, culminating last Sunday in his faultless jumping display to take out the Grand National Hurdle by 12 lengths hard held and with a conservative similar margin up his sleeve.
But Black and Bent is not just a hurdler. Connections have set their sights much higher.
After his final hurdle start in a fortnight, Black and Bent will be given a chance to qualify for the Melbourne Cup by winning on the flat in a race which would qualify him for a start on that first Tuesday in November. And this target is no idle pursuit.
Black and Bent is a very capable racehorse on the flat with some impressive staying wins in his CV and a turn of foot which would make him more than competitive in top end staying races.
Alternatively there is the internationally rated Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan later in the year and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the UK in March 2012.
These are all exciting and salivating prospects for Victorian and Australian racing and for the spring racing carnival, with another potential world champion waiting to strut his stuff on the world stage.
IMMORTAL MOSSE BAGS ANOTHER PRESTIGIOUS GROUP ONE TO HIS CV.
Gerald Mosse really is one of the all time greats in the riding ranks. His CV is littered with Group Ones –all over Europe, the US, Hong Kong and Australia, and he keeps doing it again and again in the European flat racing season.
Earlier this week at Deauville, Immortal Verse, a three year old daughter of highly successful stallion Pivotal took out the Group One Jacques Le Marois, a 1600 metres Fillies and Mares Classic, ridden by Gerald Mosse for trainer Robert Collett, defeating champion fourteen time Group One mare Goldikova.
Immortal Verse’s upset win was her second Group One victory and again demonstrates the amazing riding talent and ability of Gerald Mosse.
Group races and Group Ones in particular and Gerald “The Swordsman” Mosse are joined at the hip.
Fortunately for Hong Kong racing, Mosse will return in the new season and no doubt renew acquaintances with the winners circle at Shatin in the Group Ones.
IN DEFENSE OF “TOFFEE TONGUE”
We were not really surprised to receive a well constructed defence of ex Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) and Aushorse CEO, Peter “Toffee Tongue” McGauran, in response to our July 26 blog.
Not surprising because the ex-Canberra political lightweight is a real charmer – smooth as a baby’s derriere.
His defender – Susan Archer, is a lady who commands an immense degree of respect in racing circles and particularly in the thoroughbred breeding scene.
An Archer off the mark?
Our homework indicates that Susan Archer and her husband bred the mighty mare Sunline – one of the best miler/middle distance mares ever to have graced the turf in modern times. On that score alone we dip our lid to Susan Archer.
Susan’s defence of good ole’ “toffee tongue” is based on first hand knowledge of what she has detailed as his contributions and achievements while occupying both positions, through her position as Marketing and Communications Manager for John “The Messiah” Messara’s Arrowfield Stud.
Messara, Susan reminds us was TBA Chairman during the early part of his tenure at the TBA and Aushorse.
Susan, we respect very much your knowledge and opinions on “Toffee Tongue”, but in all seriousness, we believe this TBA and Aushorse role is greatly over-rated and over-stated. It is a view shared by many in racing and breeding circles.
Quite frankly Susan, it is a task that you could perform without too much difficulty. You would do it on your proverbial ear.
The greatest advertisement for the Australian bred thoroughbred is their strike rate and their soundness.
The Australian bred thoroughbred is a tough resilient beast, whose record of success in the various racing nations in Asia speaks for itself.
The biggest threat to the successful marketing of Australian thoroughbreds in Asia lies in the damage to the brand, through the sale of unsound and grossly over priced and over rated thoroughbreds, by some of the dodgy and unscrupulous bloodstock agents, who have built mansions from the proceeds of the dodgy deals they have done.
Root out these unethical agents, put an end to their practices and you wont need an overpaid executive to fly to and from exotic locations to “market and promote” Australian thoroughbreds – aka damage control.
Susan, we were also amused that you placed “emerging market for Australian thoroughbreds in China” on “toffee tongue’s” CV.
We know of several junkets to various regions and provinces in China, which have not exactly enhanced the reputation of Australian racing or some of those who have been part of the junkets.
We also notice that “Toffee Tongue’s”, close working partnership with Dr Peter “the not so great” V’Landys, does not rate a mention.
Who could forget his enthusiastic chairing of the gathering of so called “concerned industry participants” held two years ago at the Inglis auditorium in Sydney to rally the troops against the evil corporate bookmakers and their challenge to the Racing NSW imposed turnover based product fee?
Susan, the challenge for Australian racing is to make it relevant again to mainstream society, to recapture the generation it has lost and the one that it is about to lose. It is not about the breeding industry, which is only a part of the story.
We need “game changers” to achieve that. And Peter “Toffee Tongue” McGauran is certainly no “game changer”.
“C’mon, give Tongue Tongue a big wet kiss.”
BITCHES AND PIECES
Our mates Neil “Knackers” Paine, one of the best judges we know in racing, and Nash “The Gnasher” Rawiller are said to have taken up a form of yoga called Bikram Yoga or hot yoga and where you do strange things with your body and sweat like a pig. It seems to be working.
“Knackers” rode a winner at Kembla two days after his first lesson whereas “Gnasher”, after a slow start, has turned up the heat and is riding better than ever.
We hear that the two mates are now thinking of taking up meditation to which someone said, “That should be easy for them. Meditation is all about emptying one’s mind. Both don’t have much going on up there.” Ouch!
“Knackers” and “The Gnasher” trying to find nirvana.
WHAT IF SIR ALEX FERGUSON…?
We attended a fascinating marketing seminar and workshop recently. The idea was how to change one’s thinking and perception and think more laterally.
For example, we were asked what changes would take place to McDonald’s if Steven Spielberg was to take over the company.
What would happen to a music label if Bono were to run it?
And this one we found extremely interesting: What would happen if Sir Alex Ferguson were to run a racing club?
Some of the answers were mind-blowingly unique.
Try playing this game by asking yourself the same questions. Great brain food and which might result in some interesting new thinking.
NO CX PLEASE, WE’RE CATHAY PACIFIC.
This has nothing to do with horse racing, but it might have to do with pacing and trotters and something that will be of interest to all those who fly the friendly skies with Cathay Pacific aka CX.
Well, CX or not, it was revealed last week in the Chinese press and in all their glory, an expat pilot with the airline and a Chinese stewardess engaged in what can only be described as well, CX, in the, er, cockpit and, say some, whilst in mid-air. We mean de plane, de plane, Meetah Rourke!
Well, all hell has broken loose, Damage Control has begun in earnest, and with CX abruptly crash-landing its new multi-million dollar global ad campaign which had the line, “Meet The people who’ll go that extra mile to make you feel special.”
To us, a mile might be a stretch. A few inches will do. And for gawd sake, we wish CEO John Slosar does not keep repeating the word “soil” and “soiled” to describe this incident as in how the couple has “recklessly soiled the reputation of our company” and other “soiled” expressions.
John? Stop while the going is bumpy.
GAME CHANGING MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK