THE “NO HOLDING BACK” ISSUE

Here’s here we think the real problem lies: Music companies underrate and have no clue about horse racing and, in turn, racing clubs have no clue nor care about explaining how a partnership with them can be a win-win situation for all. Then you have concert promoters who keep looking for “love” in all the wrong places and have no interests in knowing about anything and just how many the goalposts have moved- along with the times.

Same goes for the movie industry, especially those who are backed by Chinese investors and where Asia is, these days, the “location de jour” and who are clueless at looking beyond the usual suspects- and locations. Again, in turn, racing clubs don’t even look at forming any partnerships or see what they can offer those producing these movies. Huh, indeed.

Add to this sponsors and so-called marketing professionals- we’re starting to laugh as we hardly see great marketing from anyone except for a handful of brands led by Nike- and what you have is everyone and anyone after the same sliver of pie and trying to go after this all on their own.

For the sake of this Editorial, we are highlighting ‘live’ music and just plain music overall which is Marketing 101 to gain the attention of new race-goers and what will eventually be the next generation of race-goers. But when Marketing 101 needlessly becomes Marketing 999 through over-thinking, what results in is an unmitigated disaster and fucking mess.

What music companies fail to understand are the venues, infrastructure and crowds that flock to the racetracks, especially, in places like Flemington and Caulfield or Renwick for its carnivals or Singapore and, of course, Hong Kong which continues to lead the pack. These are the same consumers who listen to and purchase music. They are what’s known as music fans. Remember them? They are the ones who have kept the music industry alive and give artists a reason for continuing to make music.

Many music executives who make those tough and hard decisions about those “worthy” enough to be business partners have never set foot onto a racecourse- not really- and wouldn’t know Douglas White from Betty White.

Their perception of a racing club- and this has not changed since some of us actually ran music companies- is that they want everything for nothing, that their marketing people are a pain in the arse to deal with and are real knobs and, key, that they have no money. And, to be frank, that’s not all untrue and many in racing clubs do a piss poor job of marketing their product’s assets to those who still hold on to these perceptions If there was more give and take from both sides, all parties could form some very strong partnerships- and create ties that bind.

We know for a fact that one dullard of a music executive in Hong Kong is known as “Dr. No.” It’s easy for this Dunkin Donut to say “No” rather than “Yes” as a Yes might mean that he actually needs to do some work. Plus this constant hurdle and drone that “horse racing is gambling” and which is why “the artists will not wish to get involved” needs to be sorted out. But working with casinos is Okay? Why? How? WTF! How many music executive have actually attended the races at Happy Valley and watched the crowds at Happy Valley? No?

Dunkin Donut, especially, and others live in a very small “universe”, sign up their local acts and then wonder how the hell to promote and sell their product which, if lucky, is around 4-6,000 units. In the numbers game of the so-called “music business”, why bother? We’d just close up shop and use this money to punt on a horse to place.

Similarly, the same shoe fits many of those in “marketing” positions in racing clubs who do not have the negotiation skills and are clueless that we have moved on from discos to clubs .These are folks who have never stepped foot in a thriving, heaving, all-out Club and which has, in one place, the same demographic they’re scratching their heads and balls to attract. Yet, they talk knowingly about music marketing. And we all know what they say about talk.

Ping-ponging back to music companies, they have promotional visits by International artists all the fucking time. So what do they do- and having been doing since the time of Methuselah? They have some lame “autograph signing” session at a record store for “fans and the media” or hold a press conference- a PRESS conference in 2012???- at a hotel bar and where a bored junior reporter who has never heard of the artists trots along with an old and tired photographer and with both far more interested in the free food. For a supposed “trend setting” business, many in music companies are totally behind the eight-ball when it comes to The Cool Factor.

Back to those at racing clubs, and whose “universe” is also so fucking small and their roller-decks are either empty or non-existent or consist of blasts from the past. Many have their blinkers on, they have no idea of how these promotional visits can benefit them and so cannot negotiate any deals where tHEY could host these and make those in music companies understand the audience THEY could bring- along with all the NEW media exposure. They want the mountain to come to Mohammed and to our very old mate Methuselah as they are way too set in their ways. They also cannot look and think outta the box. It’s too much of a headache.

Away from music, “Iron Man 3”, for example, will be filmed throughout Asia as will the new James Bond film called “Skyfall” which will also have a very strong China presence in it. “Iron Man 3″ is backed by Chinese investors and features Hong Kong leading man Andy Lau playing the role of a scientist and old friend of Robert Downey Jr’s ” Tony Stark.” And to show that everything changes, with Heineken being so popular in China, James Bond has given up his shaken, not stirred Martinis for, er, Heineken. Money talks, baby as does product placement in movies.

Has ANYONE in ANY of the racing clubs in the region thought of approaching the production people for these films about having a scene filmed in some or any of their venues or featuring 007 at the races? Hell, Hong Kong even has two horses called Mr. Bond and My Name Is Bond! Imagine having Daniel Craig and the new James Bond Girl or Robert Downey Jar at the track. Imagine Daniel Craig sitting behind the HKJC’s new hi-technology IBU board.

Speak to someone at a racing club about any of this and one will usually hear the same old mantra: “Yes, we were thinking of exactly the same thing”. Oh, really?- and then it ends there- with the thinking and often, it’s either wishful thinking or else, it’s all “thunked out.” There is ZERO follow-up. Perhaps if everyone “downsizes” all those useless meetings, there can actually be some results to show for all the talk.

Music, movies, personal appearances, all these are part and parcel of reaching- and attracting- new race-goers. How to get to this point is through win-win partnerships and with both sides looking at working with those who really know how to use and optimize all the new technology at the fingertips of consumers and the effective use of social media. Anyone can use social media. Very few use it affectively and with everything emanating from that very first client brief. Stuff up this brief or keep constantly change it and campaigns sink without trace. Bad briefs result in bad and often daft ideas. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

Plus, dumb as it might seem to some, it’s also realizing that anything “going viral” “has to come from the consumer and, possibly with a nudge to kick things off by dealing with a Search Engine Operative in order to get those initial “views” and interest which will lead to more views and interest. Many have no idea how many marketers believe that uploading some lame videos onto YouTube or the sons and daughters of YouTube will result in something “going viral.” Duh, indeed.

Going back to music, though it came close to having Robbie Williams perform at Shatin after one of its International Days, we hope to see the HKJC take the lead when it comes to bringing That’s Entertainment to the races even more than the baby steps it’s currently take and which are giant leaps compared to what other racing clubs are doing. Just as it has done recently in so many other areas such as the opening of new venues, it’s very popular- and stimulating- Racing Simulator app and the world’s first truly inter-active and touch-screen IBU board which has brought racing into a completely new era, perhaps the Club can look towards having its International Race Day end with a concert by a truly International band like Coldplay.

Sure, it’s gonna cost, but what’s free today? Plus for an International audience and with many locals also being International citizens of the world, we cannot think of any act better for this crowd on this day than Coldplay. Perception, image and the future should not come with a price tag though, of course, this price tag has to be within reason. A concert by a band like Coldplay also cannot be looked at as a one-off event but a partnership with the promoter, management and music company: Can this concert be a TV Special? Can it be streamed ‘live’? Who would own the Rights? Can it be released as a Special Edition DVD? What other partners/sponsors can be brought in? Is there a charity angle, especially as the band’s lead man Chris Martin embraces and supports so many charitable causes? It all comes down to the art of negotiation.

With its Beer Garden, the HKJC also has the perfect venue for showcases by visiting International artists- the music companies fly them out and take care of all expenses- who currently make appearances in places like the Mo Bar at the Mandarin or some broken down little pub somewhere, most of which no one even knows about. For example, Ellen DeGeneres’ little darling- Michael Greyson Chance, a “YouTube sensation” about two years ago- was in Hong Kong on May 1. How many people in Hong Kong even knew or cared that he had a showcase at HMV and some shopping malls?

How many knew that Gavin Rosdale, below, and his band Bush opened for Evanescence? How would ANY International act in Singapore or Hong Kong for these promotional visits fare performing even TWO songs at, let’s say, the HKJC’s Beer Garden? People would queue to get in just for a photo opp- and once in, they will see horse racing 2012.

Music companies in Asia are under the impression that “International does not sell.” This is absolute bollocks. “International does not sell” if it’s not being marketed OR because it has no money for marketing OR because it has NO partners. And so, we get back to the Beer Garden at Happy Valley Racecourse and where, at least, 80% of the audience are “foreigners” and with the remaining 20%, tired of being around other locals, wishing to be part of this “International tribal dance.” This is a key USP of the Beer Garden and if anyone is trying to “localize” it to a down-market Canto-pop level, they are way off and do not know their customer. Have some local bands up there onstage singing in Cantonese and 80% of that market will not return.

These are people who actually have a disdain for many local acts as they see these as being “too local” and “very uncool.” One would be VERY surprised who this 20% talk about- and whose music they know and admire: Gorillaz/Damon Albarn; they love the work of Gorillaz co-creator and designer Jamie Hewlett.

These are kids starved for good, young International bands like Mew from Denmark; they have re-discovered Yellowcard, Sum 41, Starsailor, Athlete, Doves and so many more “fringe” acts and who will perform out in Asia for a tuppence. The old idiom of “Think Global and Act Local” or whatever the hell it once was is part of the past. What’s wrong with this picture is easy to see.

Nothing is nor has ever been an exacting science- especially not today where the consumer decides and you, the brand, can only hope and pray that they bite and accept what is offered in a much cluttered marketplace. We have been to the top of the mountain, too, and we have looked down and have seen just how much racing clubs have to offer- often, far more than THEY even realize.

What these racing clubs now need to do is to broaden their vistas, forget what someone from “the Club” wants to hear and so pander to what some knobs have said, Instead, have the courage of one’s convictions- aka slamming big balls- to take new paths, ALWAYS listen to the consumer as they are the real trendsetters and your market- and actually get out there and understand and see this consumer in their “natural habitats.” Forget the skewed thinking of very many research groups and “focus groups”. They’re also more bollocks, they’re expensive, many bluff their way through and their “findings” can lead many up the garden path. They’re a crutch one doesn’t need and are a poor substitute for gut reactions and seeing and experiencing something first-hand.

We knows many music executives who show up at awards shows or wait for some shee-shee musical event before considering coming down from their ivory towers and mingling with the plebs. This is why the rift between the music industry and consumers get larger, the picture gets more and more blurred, “numbers” drop and it all becomes as useless as attending a music conference and talking to the same old people with nothing new to say ‘cos nothing new is happening or else sitting there like ageing groupies listening to guys whose time has probably come and gone. Experience and relevance are two very different things and, apart from someone like Simon Fuller, who has gone from managing the Spice Girls to creating the “Idol” franchise and now also manages the careers of the Beckhams, Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray, Annie Lennox etc and creating new shows for Asia, we don’t see many out there with much relevance.

Sorry, music companies, but, fuck those artist appearances at HMV, change the format of these promo trips by new or even established International acts which lead nowhere, look beyond one concert with zero follow-up and, as The Marx Brothers did, spend A Day At The Races and see just how much a racing club can help market your acts. As for racing clubs and those in marketing, it’s time to sharpen those negotiation skills; think of how to market your product more effectively and that Less Is More. All the promotions in the world are useless if no one shows up or forgets about them the next day.

Without this mind-set, like even the best beer in the world, things can govery flat very quickly.

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BLACK CAVIAR: THE HORSE THAT STOPS A NATION.

If The Melbourne Cup is The Race That Stops A Nation, then whenever Black Caviar runs, here is The Horse Stops The Nation- and the racing world. If only the British knob who dismissed the great black mare and mentioned how it’s “only being beaten B Graders”, should have come to Morphetville on Saturday. This was part of Black Caviar’s Farewell Tour and 21st consecutive win before heading to Ascot- IF fit and ready- and it was something truly emotional and very patriotic to watch.

For a horse to bring an entire country together, for a horse to be up there with Sir Donald Bradman, Rod Laver, Dennis Lillie, Shane Warne and other great Aussie sporting heroes is quite incredible. Comparing Black Caviar with Phar Lap is unfair as both are winners. But in 2012 and when horse racing needs a boost and a new hero, the owners of the mare, trainer Peter Moody and jockey Luke Nolen have delivered- in spades. And just think of how this BC Team have become celebrities in their own right and ready-made characters and “brands” for a movie which WILL be made about the great black mare and just how quickly she has got to be where she is.

Getting back to those “B Graders” that Black Caviar has beaten, can someone send that pommie knob videos of these “B Graders” and their wins before coming up against the big black mare? One more thing: Imagine horse racing in Oz if Black Caviar had NOT come along. It makes for a very bleak picture, doesn’t it? But, she’s here, soon, hopefully, she’ll be there in the UK and at Ascot and she’ll become the racing world’s best global ambassador.

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ARE JOCKEYS GREAT SWORDMEN?

On Racingbook, someone wrote in asking why and how jockeys attract such stunners- and usually very tall stunners? Well, a number of theories have been put forward and one which caught our attention was one from a jockey who explained that much of this attraction has to do with their weapons of mass destruction. Bragging? We don’t think so.

We remember a night out years ago with three French jockeys in Macau and, good gawd, were they mighty swordsman or what???? These Three Musketeers were Gerard Mosse, the very talented but errant William Mongil and Claude Piccione. The ongoing joke in Macau and at the races was the same one: Who is Piccione’s wife? Answer: The one with the biggest smile on her face and walking with a limp.

In his email, the jockey names “The Pumper”- Jimmy Cassidy as being right up right up there, so to speak,

Also said to be up there are Hughie Bowman, both representing Oz, Said one jockey, “Jimmy and Hughie makes us all look small even if we’re not.”

Kieren Fallon, is well out in front and flies the flag proudly for the UK.

Legend has it that the great American jockey Willie Shoemaker lived up to his name and the “Long Fellow”- Lester Piggott- was not named that for only his height.

He also names one particular jockey who, apparently, falls short by a few inches, but we’ll just keep that to ourselves.

We do, however, wonder what some are looking at in the Jockeys Changing Room and saunas.

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THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK AND BACK AGAIN!

As if to make his critics and the naysayers eat and choke on their words, The Dark Prince of Hong Kong racing- David “Darth” Ferraris- roared back by saddling up, not one, but TWO winners at Shatin on Saturday. The first was 42 to 1 outsider Stathtay ridden by The Zac Attack and the other being Holy Mac ridden by “Wayward” Weichong. Sometimes, there is a time and place for being wayward and this was one of them. Joining “Darth” with winners- one each- were others quite unfamiliar to leading in winners this season where they, too, have been going through their own annuls horribly – Trainers Sean “Woody” Woods and David “Do I know you?” Hall.

Hall saddled up the 160-1 bolter Gold Tartini which had Owner Rix Chung looking as if had been shot in the arse whereas “Woody” left all the noise of the nearby construction work creating havoc to his horses behind by having a winner with Brothers In Arms.

As for the win of the day, this must go to the devastating effort by “Jungle John’s” Military Attack and which looked stoned and motherless when heads were turned for home. But when Douglas Whyte asked for his effort, he sprouted wings on his feet and dingled his bells and reeled them in to register a very facile win- and carrying top weight on a track which really did not favour horses carrying big weights. With his other recent win for “Jungle John” on Dominant last week, pictured below, one wonders just how much riding Whyte will be doing for The Moore- on- but a highly astute trainer.

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BITCHES AND PIECES

Who were the two different groups of Singaporean owners who traveled to Doomben jut to watch Excellantes easily win Race 2 on the card last Saturday. Not only that, but they came away raving over jockey Damian Browne. Watch this space.

We hear that Darren Beadman is making very good progress- which is great to know- and that he’ll be deciding about his riding arrangements with John Moore right after this racing season ends.

“Popular” Hong Kong trainer “Millie” Millard still refuses to speak to the HKJC’s Trackside Team and is said to have a hissy fit whenever their names are mentioned- along with any mention of Douglas Whyte- not that either of these sides really give a toss. And as we love this photo of “Millie”, we’re publishing it again. Anyone got a good caption for it?

Meanwhile, there is an iPhone app which one can download for free and via one can watch nearly every race in Oz. We have no idea where the feed comes from, but some of the off-camera comments by punters and commentators are priceless- and also very telling. Strangely enough, the app is unavailable as a download in Oz and NZ. Pity.

Remember the wife scorned who posted a tell-all about her now Singapore-based Aussie jockey hubby on Facebook? Well, she’s either come to her senses or else her lawyers have suggested that she pull these down as it just might affect her chances of getting some big bucks when the divorce goes through.

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Visit www.fasttrack.hk

And join Racingbook and have your say about anything you bloody want- up to reason- by CLICK HERE.

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I SEE YOU, YOU SEE ME AND MC AND THE BEAR.

Whoa there, Nelly, not sp fast! We hear that the Fastnet Rock 3-year old bought at the recent Inglis Sales by our old mates from Macau- trainer MC Tam and Gordon The Bear” Benson- is not the dud some believe it to be. In fact, it might make the two quite a tidy bundle.

The horse is, apparently, involved in a bidding war with offers coming from Oz, Singapore and, of course, Hong Kong. In Oz, a number of parties would like to race it over there though we understand the odds are heavily stacked in favour of it being sold to one the three Hong Kong-based connections in this bidding war.

The lesson to be learned for all this: Never believe all you hear or read and, secondly, old MC isn’t Macau’s Champion trainer by being a dullard whereas “The Bear” has been around the traps for too long to be dismissed as being a dullard like self-styled racing pundit Apollo Ng. Ng’s most recent purchase had one start in Hong Kong before being officially declared a roarer.

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Visit www.fasttrack.hk

And join Racingbook and have your say about anything you bloody want- up to reason- by CLICK HERE.

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THE HKJC’S “RACING TO WIN” FINALLY GET ITS S*** TOGETHER.

We have to admit that we nearly keeled over when we watched last Wednesday’s “Racing To Win.”

Sad to say, this HKJC production has been a pox on anyone who knows and understands production: No concept, vapid talking heads, weird snippets of music, often gawdawful tipping, an amateur drama theatre’s set or else a rejected set from “Star Trek” and a format which had not changed since the days of the late great Robin “Parkey” Park and Lawrence Wadey. And then, last Tuesday, it happened: It all changed- and for the better.

Instead of each of the three hosts giving viewers- not many, we assure you- four tips each for eight races which would mean 96 tips at the end of the day and with, sometimes, all these tips being different and which did nothing more than be a complete mindfuck, there was a far better scaled down version of their choices.

This night, the three dudes, Darren “Flinders” Flindell took on the role of Mother Goose, did the maths- Brett “Young Einstein” Davies and Clint “Duh” Hutchison can’t count- and provided viewers- again- not many- with a “synopsis” of all those tips. Hell, they even provided all with a combination Triple Trio as there was something like $12m to be won- not that this came in.

Other improvements included reminding all of some of their (rare) tipping successes, a review of the highlights of the races from the previous meetings, interviews with some of the losing jockeys after the running of the BMW Champions Mile- those who lost had very curt replies- and a very good interview with James McDonald who won the race on Xtension. Why it’s taken this long to make these improvements beats us. It probably has to do with those upstairs wondering if the show has any legs and future- but, better now than never for some positive changes.

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PS: HUH?

PS: After watching Friday’s Racing To Win which somehow lacked the snap, crackle and pop of Wednesday’s programme- let’s put it down to creative menopause- what we really could not understand was why the three dudes continued to stick to their tips given out the day before on race day. The track conditions had seemingly changed and which is why the first three races saw hoses with odds of 16s, 20s and 42s saluting. Later came the 160-1 bolter. Surely, this would have forced them to re-think their tips? Nah.

Even “Flinders” described it as “One the most brutal days for punters,” but yet, they stuck to their old scripts and their old tips and from what we heard, didn’t tip even one winner amongst all of them. Hot Shot? A chance of winning on a track like that? Puhleese!

After seeing the wipe-outs of favourite after favourite until Military Attack saluted even with its big weight, surely, this was the time to lets listeners know that the track conditions meant throwing out and forgetting everything all the racing pundits thought were strong chances the day. Still, we all have different methods to our madness and things will surely get back to their winning ways along with all the improvements to “Racing To Win” mentioned above.

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Visit www.fasttrack.hk

And join Racingbook and have your say about anything you bloody want- up to reason- by CLICK HERE.

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WHY OWNER STEVEN LO IS A VERY LUCKY MAN!

When Xtension won the recent BMW Champions Mile at Shatin, most eyes were on only one person: The wife of owner Steven Lo.

She is a VERY beautiful woman and, to all those who have emailed us as to who she is all, all we know is that she is a former beauty queen, who, surprising at it may seem, didn’t win the pageant.

She and her lucky hubby also own those “Military” themed horses which are all trained by “Jungle John” and with Steven Lo having recently opened a huge $130 million karaoke-restaurant complex called Tonnochy Towers. Sadly, it looks like being a very expensive white elephant not that Steven Lo would be losing any sleep over it. The man has money to burn. He also has Mrs. Lo. In the immortal words of Rod “The Mod” Stewart, “Some Guys Have All The Luck”. Come on, Rod, you old bugger- one more time.

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R.I.P. NORTHERLY

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Visit www.fasttrack.hk

And join Racingbook and have your say about anything you bloody want- up to reason- by CLICK HERE.

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WE HAVE NO DOUBTS ABOUT CASSIE SCHMIDT

If you have the chance, watch the run of Never Doubt Me at Coffs Harbour on Friday. It was pretty darn amazing. The horse was last, jockey Cassie Schmidt was pushed right out wide and looked a forlorn hope. But the girl did not panic, she was not intimidated by some of the tactics of her male counterparts and made her move and won by a neck. We hear that the Scone Cup is next for this horse and we’d just keep an eye on it- and Miss Schmidt. The horse is no world-beater, but we have been watching Cassie Schmidt and this girl joins the new generation of female riders coming through the ranks. She can ride and is not easily overwhelmed or intimidated.

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SEPARATED AT BIRTH

We’ve been receiving quite a bit of mail about Wally Pyre, the British racing pundit and television personality and dead set lookalike for Max Headroom.

We are led to believe that The Wally is quite the “powerhouse” at the HKJC and with a very fat package.

What does The Wally actually do?

Well, from what we understand, he tips for The Racing Club and having seen him a few times walking through the Beer Garden, he swans around like some sun-tanned cardboard cut-out.

As for being a “powerhouse” at the HKJC and word that even Bill Nader, The Director of Racing, “works under him,” please, don’t be silly.

Funny thing, the crap this rumor mill churns out.

This entry was posted in BLACK CAVIAR, DOUGLAS WHYTE, Hong Kong Jockey Club, RACINGBOOK, www.fasttrack.hk and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to THE “NO HOLDING BACK” ISSUE

  1. Pingback: THE RACINGB*TCH “NO HOLDING BACK” ISSUE | Fast Track

  2. Lyndon says:

    Any truth in the rumour that dale monteith resigned from VRC to apply for the rvl CEO job and that the outcome is a done deal?

  3. Geoff Chapman says:

    Have you ever noticed the cliche ridden verbal” add on” when the racing journalists interview or run a TV racing show—and I include the interviewers as well. Every second word is interspersed with “you know”. Well if I bloody well knew they were that bad I wouldn’t be watching !
    Having said all that, it is obviously an “Americanism” that has crept into our vernacular, and it is f…ing terrible on the senses.

  4. i can see says:

    never doubt me won on its own . funniest write up ive seen!! horse is far superior then its opposition … hahaha ur kidding

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