By Hans Ebert
When a friend- an expat who rarely attends the races at Shatin but is always there for a Happy Wednesday meeting- calls to tell you that his missus has INSISTED they attend today’s Chinese Year Meeting as it means good luck for the rest of the year, well, you know that this race day is a once a year Must Do, Must Attend experience.
How many people turned up? By 2pm, there were 92,000 people on course and more snaking their way in on an absolutely beautiful day with an incredible buzz around the Shatin course.
Of course, the key is to end up winning on the day and also getting off to a flier by winning the first race of this New Year- something every owner with a horse in this race wants to see happen. It makes for an auspicious start to this year and with all the feng shui signs carefully aligned.
Well, race 1 was taken out by the Richard Gibson-trained and Tim Clark ridden Flying Ibis. The Gibson-Clark partnership is gaining momentum every day and look destined for much greater things.
(Source: Apple Daily)
As for The Hobbit, one of my favorite riders in Hong Kong who lets his winners do the talking for him, really earned his riding fee with his never-say-die determination to get the horse, which never looked like winning, to wake up, storm home down the outside and beat rank outsider Bobo Dragon which paid 28 to 1 to place and with the quinella tipped by The Fast Tracker on http://www.fasttrack.hk. Whoever she is- I hear it’s an attractive she- has been on tipping fire at all recent meetings.
Race 2 was taken out by Dougie Whyte on Victory Ide Say,his first ride back since his three day succession, with one of this great champion’s typical rail-hugging rides.
It might have been a lowly Class 5 race, but a winner is a winner and it was good to see trainer David “Darth Vader” Ferraris lead this one in.
It’s been a tough season for Darth with the usual Chinese Whispers seeing him lose some of his best horses to other trainers who have flopped with these acquisitions and which have seen some like Affluence Of Rain return to their original home- and win.
Hopefully, today’s win with Victory Ide Say in the beginning of the Year of the Snake will mellow Darth out and quell him penchant for getting hissed off, running to the media where his cup and mouth runneth over and he shoots himself in the foot with a machine gun.
Say what you may about Darth, but he is brutally honest, he doesn’t speak with forked tongue and simply wants to be left alone to do his job.
I have a great deal of time for him and want him to return to those days when he trained the great Vengeance Of Rain. It can happen again.
Meanwhile, Dougie Whyte tasted the ups and downs of racing when 1.5 hotpot Little Men ran about like a drunken sailor trying to find the loo in race 3.
Drawn wide, it ran into more dead ends than Mr. Bean and was a horrible ride to watch.
(Source: The IET)
Worse was to hear were over 90,000 voices give Dougie a good ol’ Hong Kong spraying and where the Cantonese anthem of “Diiiiiiuuuuu” bounced off walls throughout Shatin.
He deserved it. It was a shocking ride and unworthy of the rider.
(Source: Photo Bucket)
But you can’t keep the Whyteman down and he bounced back by taking out race 4 on Sight Lover and went from hero to zero to hero.
(Source: Deviant Art)
That’s racing for you whereas in the next race, Richard Gibson did his magic and conjured up a win for Kensworth Kid with Ollie Doleuze aboard and which he recently acquired from trainer Sean Woods.
(Source: Apple Daily)
Race 6 saw Doleuze bang home another winner and though many thought he would also win the next, the Richard Gibson trained Glacier Blue was never traveling well.
The race was won by the Derek Cruz-trained Heco Rider and given a beautiful ride by Tye Angland, a very under-utilized young jockey and far better than some of the more “name” jockeys.
Brett Prebble or Tye Angland? Let me be polite and say that the latter doesn’t miss starts with the regularity of Prebble.
Perhaps the jockey needs to pass a number of barrier trials before being allowed to ride again?
(Source: Apple Daily)
The 1000 metre sprint was taken out by the Zac Purton-ridden hot pot which race-caller Darren Flindell screamed how the horse MOOED them down. It was a flash of creativity. Or just bad drugs but it did put a smile on my face. It could have been worse: Flinders could have bellowed, “And it’s an UDDER win for Zac Purton.”
(Source: Vinyl Records)
Getting back to reality, the Chinese New Year Cup was a bit of a yahoo race with some rough riding. And though Dougie Whyte on Flash Knight was hampered for a run, I am unsure if the horse had anything more to give though it was later found to have bled.
The race was won by Penglai Xiangzi, the first horse Keith Yeung has ridden for Tony Cruz this season- and an excellent ride it was with the young jockey keeping outta all the traffic jams and other mayhem.
After the presentation of the Cup, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of the HKJC went on a walkabout to distribute lucky laisee packets to the public- and was not seen again. It was like feeding the man-eating plant in The Little Shop Of Horrors.
(Source: TV Bomb)
Darren Flindell let out a bloody loud MOO of his own when his outsider for the day- Genki Twins- ridden by Neil Callan and trained by Andreas Schutz took out Race 10 at odds of 50 to 1.
I hear Flinders was mooing so much, he had to be taken away by the agricultural and fisheries department for observation.
The best was saved for the last- a nail biting finish fought out between Dougie Whyte on Sea Dragon and Bullish Friend with Matty Chadwick with the Durban Demon winning by his chinny chin chin.
At the end of the day, Dougie Whyte might not have ridden the quota of winners many thought he would but he still rode a treble and with the rides of the day going to Tim Clark and Keith Yeung. But that last race was the race of the day. Steven Spielberg couldn’t have scripted a better ending.
The real winners on the day were those hundred thousand who made it to Shatin for this special race day and the HKJC who is seeing attendance and turnover break records every meeting. But today’s results were, as Tina Turner would sing, simply the best.
(Source: Black Love Forum)