Before Happy Wednesday and the season finale with an early 6.45 start the curtain fell for another season at Shatin where despite the topsy turvy weather that went from bright sunshine to claps of thunder from a pissed off Thor and a good to firm track that went to good and then to yielding, it never dampened the enthusiasm of the very diverse group of punters who make Hong Kong racing so damn unique.
Sure, those who have been in Hongkers for more time than they care to admit who might occasionally- or too often- whinge about the city and the racing and the HKJC and the Club’s hierarchy, but nothing beats the racing here- nor the Club.
Plus, biting the very hand that feeds many is just not smart. It has a nasty habit of biting back when one least expect it.
(Source: Unlearning 101)
One trip to Oz or the UK and seeing the turnover, the attendances, the pokey bets, the standard of racing outside of the big meetings and desperados talking through their nickel and dime pockets, will confirm what we say very quickly.
(Source: The Punch)
This is one reason why a venue like the Beer Garden at Happy Valley and a brand like Happy Wednesday can survive and continue to thrive: People- a different class of people who know how to live and let live and enjoy the company of others.
Hongkers has been very good to many who took a punt and came out here with nothing in their pockets.
Many in racing have made their money and left Hong Kong whereas those privileged to still be here and be big fish in a very small but rich pond- a pond poised to become a river of gold when racing in China opens up legally through the HKJC and commingling finally comes on stream after taking initial baby steps- should be damn grateful.
(Source: Red Bubble)
All this and for 15% personal tax and off-shore banking solutions? Mama!
“The locals” have been bloody accommodating and able to turn the other cheek despite coming across arrogance, ignorance and Old Boys Club-type thinking going back to the days when Hong Kong was a colony.
(Source: There Foreiam)
At Shatin today, we watched Zac Purton make a comeback after his laser surgery for kidney stones with a brilliant treble and will return to Hong Kong next season knowing he can better the incredible year he has had.
(Source: Apple Daily)
He won’t disagree when we say that, other jockeys before him, Hong Kong has made The Zac Attack a better jockey in all departments and has given him a huge appetite for more International successes and the launching pad for more Military Attacks.
And what of Douglas Whyte?
Despite suspension after suspension, falls and knowing those who smile to his face but would love to see him fail, he’s not out to win any popularity awards and heavy is the head that wears the crown and the responsibility that goes with it.
He is competitive and he’s out to win and has already won his thirteenth consecutive Jockeys Premiership and, today, racked up another ton of winners.
(Source: Apple Daily)
We are also probably seeing a new talent who has made the time to improve himself and, with his team, become champion trainer for the first time.
Few will begrudge Dennis Yip this success. His enthusiasm is infectious, his record speaks for itself and he has worked damn hard to get to this point in his career. Plus, he is humble and doesn’t grumble and that’s a bit of Dylan just as a fill in.
(Source: Apple Daily)
Come Wednesday, we hope he seals this Championship. But win, lose or draw, he’s a winner in our books.
What must now be communicated to all at the HKJC- and only one person can do it- is to erase this mantra from some that the Club is a success “despite itself” and also ensure its marketing efforts complement a world class brand.
There cannot be signs like the one below,other signage that sends shivers down our spines and as god and the devil are in the details, there can’t be events named “The Champion Awards” and choreographed like a bad TVB variety show.
Like global brands such as Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola and even McDonald’s, every facet of marketing must be of Group 1 quality.
(Source: ESPN CDN)
Fobbing off mediocrity as “It’s okay lah, no one will see it”, won’t do anymore. That’s just lazy.
People DO see and talk about these weak links in a strong global chain and when this talk becomes part of social media, it weakens any brand.
(Source: Practical Manliness)
Just as the SCMP recently showed its ignorance about The HKJC in a petty and unnecessarily negative article about the future of the Club’s role in managing the former Central Police Station, there is a need to showcase a holistic brand and not one “burdened” by the word “gambling”.
The HKJC should be seen and marketed everywhere it “travels” as an innovative charitable organization with horse racing as its core business and how this business is part of a much bigger picture that includes the entertainment world while always showcasing how its work and tax paid to the government benefit the people of Hong Kong.
This is a strategy that will attract new business partners from other industries who need to reach the same diverse group of consumers that the HKJC reaches. It’s the meeting and cementing of different data bases and a combination of marketing and promotional efforts.
It’s a strategy that will also impress new sponsors plus the Longines of this world and bring in global players- players as different as Sheik Mo, the Beckhams, Manchester United, Gordon Ramsay, Simon Fuller, Bill Gates and Maurice Saatchi- to be part of different aspects of business that bear the HKJC name. And all this will happen.
(Source: Ishmael Anderson)
It’s the next logical step when looking ahead at the next ten years. Here’s to them.