(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
Sometimes, it’s not horses that need tongue ties- it’s many of the hardcore punters- and one of the reasons it pays to find some solitude, place your bets and not listen to anyone who just might sway your original choices plus give you a bloody great headache with their pre-race analysis and post-race back-peddling.
This is where rookie punters are making the racing tragics sound like lemmings and belonging to the same old farts club.
These rookies have no idea where to get tips, they don’t want tips, they don’t watch racing shows, and they switch off from listening to the white noise of racing pundits which, these days, has the impact of elevator muzak.
It’s gibberish to them and also those who know their racing and can make up their own minds.
All that noise can be terrifying as it comes at you from all directions like a murder of crows. Who needs it? Who’s listening? Helen Keller?
These cash-rich newcomers to the sport just do their own thing as, like when it comes to music, they don’t want to “listen” to what their parents like.
It’s what The Who sang all those years ago about on My Generation which is now Their generation.
Before race 5, we heard it all about Jack’s Gem, the favorite for the race, and why not to back it- it beat tired horses last season when it won at the first time of asking for the Dennis Yip yard, it was way under the odds today, it hadn’t impressed in its trials, “Wai tak no try”, the added balls of confusion of last minute big plunges on a few other horses etc. What happens?
Douglas Whyte gives it the perfect ride from barrier five, never panics, doesn’t whip it home like a demented cowboy and ensures it does just enough to win without being crushed by the handicapper.
Elsewhere, the huge $48m Triple Trio was won for $2- still a sweet $8m- which means a jackpot of over $31m for next weekend’s meeting.
We can all bow towards him and thank jockey Weichong Marwing for this jackpot as he managed to get Flame Hero, the race favorite in the last leg of this exotic bet, into a real tight-assed mess with no way out.
As race-caller Darren Flindell screamed out, “Marwing needs a can opener to get out!” He did. McMarwing was packed tighter than a can of sardines.
Usually McMarwing goes out wide looking for the nearest McDonald’s and a box of McNuggets, but this time he decided to stay with the Hamburglar and make backers of the favorite Grimace while Ronald McDonald looked on in shock and awe.
As if to make amends and prove he doesn’t need a can opener to pry himself from a can of sardines, in the very next race, McMarwing won the Kwangtung Handicap Cup on John Moore’s Same World- a very good ride- with Mizani and, especially, All You Wish, the ones to follow over a distance.
Ronald McDonald and his McPals cheered on their favorite McJockey and sang a happy song with their purple mate Barney.
While Clint of The Goodfellas noticed that someone got through on the inside- McMarwing?- Douglas Whyte had racked up a treble with another coolness personified ride on Hypersonic, the first winner of the season for trainer Johnny Size.
There was nothing hyper about the ride.
While some horses went backwards, others went sideways and many bit the dirt, Whyte angled the race favorite out, and picked up the leaders, again, without bashing his horse about. Just as in good sex, he coaxed it home when it mattered and hit all the right buttons and ticked all the right boxes.
Size mattered again in the next when Keith Yeung got Tour De Force, below, home after some almost surreal goings-on which finally ended with debut runner Dining Star found to be lame after being sent to be re-shod.
As for the race, disappointing was the payout for the tierce despite the $1.6 favorite Bo Bo Dragon not even running a place.
It will be interesting to read the Vets Report as the horse some were predicting to be a Group horse shortened stride like shot and was a sitting duck.
At the end of the day, despite a thunderstorm warning, showers and some short and curlies biting the dust, it was a very “interesting” meeting with the future in mind- and almost the calm before the storm.
Apart from winners and grinners and turnover and attendance, this September 18th race meeting, just might have been a watershed moment for Hong Kong racing.
I can’t really put my finger on it- perhaps it had to do with the crappy weather- but there was something missing- excitement, perhaps?- and a feeling of change in the air- not an eerie feeling, but one which might have signaled various batons being silently passed and horse racing in Hong Kong- and, especially, Shatin- entering a new age with a more exciting image to take it further and with no tired old baggage slowing it down.