Let’s get this out of the way first and make it a priority: This season was a banner year for turnover- over HK$93 billion- and with the Hong Kong government receiving an early Christmas present of over $11 billion for doing bugger all.
To put it into real perspective, it is a windfall which any Government, anywhere in the world would dream about.
Imagine the Governments of Greece, or Spain, or Italy or Portugal or Ireland receiving such a lifesaving infusion of revenue. It would just about fix up their economic woes. Forever.
As with any business, I have to ask, where’s the beef and where’s the return on investment?
(Source: Whispers In Motion)
One giveth and the other taketh away and to paraphrase the late, great Bill Preston and “fifth Beatle”, this is not the way God planned it.
In very simple terms, for way too long now, the HKJC, the city’s biggest tax payer, bows and hands over billions to the government for the privilege of being the only game in town- only legal game in town. And then what? Well, nothing really.
One has to wonder what might happen if the HKJC ever became a private entity. Or mentioned to the government this was the plan.
Would this rattle their cages so much that they wake up to the fact that there is a need to do something to keep the golden goose that keeps on giving plump and happy?
The question that really needs to be asked is how else would the Hong Kong Government fill what would be one mother of a budget black hole if the rivers of gold, silver and platinum that the Jockey Club bequeaths the budget each year suddenly stopped flowing and ran dry?
The blinding stupidity of their attitude towards the Jockey Club over recent years is acutely demonstrated by the mindless resistance towards rubber stamping co-mingling for so many years and a stubborn refusal to grant the Club an extension of the number of international race meetings for wagering.
(Source: Joy Time)
Fast tracking both would benefit not just the Jockey Club, but, ironically, the Government as well from the additional revenue that would add to the billions that is handed over each year at the end of the racing season.
(Source: Vision Help)
I say this. especially when thinking of an inane piece in the South China Morning Post, once Asia’s best newspaper next to the Bangkok Post which has reached appalling standards in journalism, about the criticism from a few with some negative soundbites about the HKJC given the job of managing the former Central Police Station as a cultural hub.
It was one of those “blogs” that was much ado about nothing.
(Source: Forbidden Planet)
Okay, what’s any of this got to do with racing? Everything.
Without understanding that the HKJC is a business, a charitable organization that has contributed so much to Hong Kong with facilities for the arts, the elderly, ecology etc and is the city’s largest taxpayer that needs to constantly cut through governmental red tape and is saddled by the word “gambling”, few will understand the work it takes to bring racing to the masses- and continue to enhance this experience.
Apart from a record turnover, this season saw the Club strengthen its Happy Wednesday brand. Can it be better? Of course it can- like anything. But some major baby steps were taken which increased turnover and attendance and set the stage for a new, improved, possibly more inter-active Happy Wednesday to attract new business partners and sponsors.
As far as sponsors are concerned, there is Longines supporting December’s International Week, SA SA and its Ladies Day, BMW, Audemars Piguet and other blue chip brands.
The key now is to continue to be proactive and bring added value to these brands- locally and globally- other than some logos stuck somewhere and thinking that’s enough.
(Source: Print Media Centr)
Longines, for example, is a worldwide sponsor of racing and what would be brilliant is for the HKJC to create something truly innovative for the brand.
(Source: France Galop)
As Vidal Sassoon once said, If you don’t look good, we don’t look good. This is what business partnerships are all about.
As for the racing, yes there were some great moment. New records were set by jockey Douglas Whyte, Zac Purton had real International success which was great for the HKJC brand, John Moore won almost every Cup race, Dennis Yip became Champion Trainer after a titanic battle with Tony Cruz that couldn’t have been better scripted while we saw the future of racing in Tommy Berry, all of which has been well-documented.
(Source: Apple Daily)
Unfortunately, as in other racing jurisdictions, sitting on the sidelines are the petty ankle biters looking as if they swallowed some turd balls- bit players with chocolate chips on their shoulders, politics on their minds and totally discardable. They bring nothing to anything.
(Source: Orion Books)
The sooner Hong Kong racing gets rid of these losers, the easier one can breathe without inhaling fumes and, instead, creating a much clearer picture of the future of racing and how to get there.
(Source: Jack Holes Realm)