(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
GAI, FASHION, SA SA, SO SO AND HAPPY WEDNESDAY
OLIVER ASKS, PLEASE SIR, CAN I HAVE MORE?
Fairy tales DO come true and what a comeback for Damien Oliver- plus his third Cup win- and a dream come true for Lady Gai Waterhouse, the popular people’s Queen of Australian horse racing, who won her first Melbourne Cup with Fiorente- a lady with the might and power to succeed in a man’s world like a pissed off Joan Crawford looking for coat hangers.
Listen up: Nothing and no one can keep a good GaiGai down as she plays the game so damn well that grown men and bully boys cower at her feet.
It’s just how it is. Nothing will change, so live with it.
Racing in Oz needs Gai Waterhouse, she knows it, we know it, even her critics know it. End of story.
Meanwhile, what an amazing old war horse Red Cadeaux proved to be by coming second which made many racing pundits look stupid for counting it out. With Gerard Mosse aboard the Ed Dunlop-trained galloper, this team came so agonizingly close to winning the Cup in what is easily the greatest race in the world.
For Hong Kong owner Ronald Arculli and Red Cadeaux, it was the second time this brave and tough horse- Big Red- has come a very close second to winning the Cup- but won more admirers in defeat.
With The Race That Stops A Nation over, one can only suppose it’s down to post-race depression and wondering what the hell to do now.
CLOTHESHORSES- AND FASHION STYLES THE VALLEY!
We’ve always known Olivier Doleuze to be cool in the saddle and exuberant after winning a race as well as being a gentleman with great style and that certain je ne sais quoi.
After all, he IS French and full of the ooh-la las, cherchez la femme and Allez Allez Allez.
Here, Ollie and his bon amis- fellow jockeys- Howard Cheng and Derek Leung- model some of the latest fashions from the D-mop brand which will be showcased when Fashion Styles The Valley comes to Happy Valley racecourse for the next three Happy Wednesdays, starting from tonight.
And, non, non, we have no idea what happened next when Howard Met Ollie.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH
There is something very wrong with the ‘live’ broadcasts of the races on ATV and one has to wonder if the HKJC even knows what’s not happening for viewers and if they are receiving a true return on their investment.
Not for the first time, on Sunday, the station’s Chinese channel which broadcasts the races and available in NICAM cut abruptly for the 6pm Main News before the last race had been run, though, to be fair, this interruption was part of its licensing agreement and adhering to a mandatory government rule.
But these interruptions are always done without any warning, leaving punters not at the track with no idea of the outcome of the last race- and no idea if they have won the Six Up, treble, third Double Trio etc.
Sure, to many in Hong Kong, the Main News is far more important than a horse race, but if so, why even bother broadcasting the races through a terrestrial broadcaster when, like newspapers, everything is going online?
Also, though we are told the hardcore punter wishes to see twenty minutes of horses plodding around and around the paddock area- really?- there must be a horses for courses approach as this was the Sa Sa-sponsored Ladies Day.
Each year, this sponsor goes through great expense to bring glamor to Shatin and is one of the reasons many casual racegoers attend this annual meeting- to see all the not-so So So but Sa Sa glamor pusses on display.
This year, it was the giraffe-like Miss Universe 2010 who towered over all those Lilliputians in the paddock area like a lost Gulliver suddenly finding land and being named the Sa Sa Ambassadress.
Home viewers, however, saw none of this though the hosts of the broadcast ooohed and aaahed and talked about how “Brian is speaking to the tall model”.
There was no Life Of Brian or The Amazonian for viewers at home to see.
Like when interviews with jockeys are heard but not seen, what appears on-screen are some charts with updates on pretty useless things like the Jockey Challenge- which not even the “hardcore” punter gives a toss about.
One has to wonder if the hosts even know what is and isn’t seen by television viewers and how these broadcasts are back to the Dark Ages and a yonks old formula for showcasing racing.
Wondering why these ‘live’ broadcasts, can’t even capture the good vibes of a Happy Wednesday night other than a token cut-away top shot of the Beer Garden, makes us go flaccid.
Instead, it’s more plodding around the paddock with the usual inane chatter for twenty minutes which no one at the Beer Garden, Adrenaline or The Gallery bother listening to while it seeps through in English and Cantonese over the din of emcees, music, people chattering, people eating, people rushing off to bet, people trying to hear themselves think and people needing people.
It’s all a bit like Quasimodo being tormented by them darn bells.
It’s also a very lazy and tired approach as is the overall production of racing programs with talking heads doing their best with what they have- a desk and suits by Sam The Tailor.
It’s missing out on some good new content, reaching a new customer base and, in its place, does nothing for branding where, for example, the Happy Wednesday on-the-ground marketing efforts are not captured on-air which means everything sitting in limbo like a sad Jimmy Cliff song, mon.
Whoever is meant to be the creative driver of these broadcasts and racing programs seems stuck in a time warp with formulaic crap that has been around since the Keystone Cops- and Parkie and Wadey and Tung Biu.
Hopefully, during International Week, the creative product can be improved and be as innovative as what Australia’s Channel 7 produces and Richard Hughes managed to show viewers through his Helmet-Cam- certainly an improvement from what this technology used to be.
It’s all well and good to know about technology and the latest “trends”, but, as many have proven, without any ideas on how to effectively use all this good stuff, nothing new happens.
Technology can NEVER be the idea. Technology makes ideas bigger and better and is based on consumer needs- and giving them what they want, when they need it and how they want it.
What’s also the point in settling for “Okay is good enough” and just plodding along making the sport seen on-air look as boring as those horses plodding around the paddock looking equally bored with it all?
Those new to the sport see this and think, “THAT’s it? THIS is horse racing in 2013? Nothing’s changed since the Eighties. Why bother owning a horse and hanging around with this old mob?”
What’s more puzzling is if the chit chat between races and commentary of the races can be heard ‘live’ on mobile phones through the HKJC website, why can’t the visuals be watched through ‘live’ streaming or a webcast?
It’s ironic when through the “Ausracing app” those outside of Australia- like in Hong Kong- can watch every race in Australia in every major racecourse ‘live’- and for free every day of the week- which, surely, makes paying broadcasting Rights for simulcasts another waste of money?
ANOTHER MELBOURNE CUP WINNER: JENNY HAWKINS
THE FAST TRACKER ON HAPPY WEDNESDAY
Well, the Curse Of Autumn Gold struck again with the Sean Woods galloper doing nothing in the Ladies Purse where it was, again, way under the odds while Douglas Whyte, who has remained bafflingly loyal to the horse, had salt rubbed deeper into the wound with the race being won by the John Size-trained Endowing.
After only just getting Southern Spring home, it was a dire day at the office for the champion jockey with what looked like a great book of rides turning into Fifty Shades Of Pear Shapes.
To add pain to misery, usual partner and regular team player John Size- certainly my favorite trainer in Hong Kong- low-key, laconic and very realistic about his horses abilities- used three different jockeys to rack up a brilliant treble.
As the weeks go by and like sand in an hourglass and these being the days of our lives, talk about what might be happening to the Whyte-Size partnership is becoming a bite-sized bore.
All I know is there a queue waiting to ride for John Size while, when the cold wind blows up my bum, I wonder what stable support Brett Prebble will have upon his return.
Then again, who cares? Hong Kong racing has been very good to him and he could have retired a few years ago.
As for Sunday’s meeting, we saw great rides from The Zac Attack, Mandrake The Moreira, Tye “Me Kangaroo Down” Angland and Olivier “Allez Allez” Doleuze.
The very popular Doleuze really is the Flying Frenchman these days and riding better than ever whereas Moreira, already with eight winners on the board, is making the early skeptics, who wondered if his magic only worked in Singapore, eat their words and choke on their noodles.
Tonight, with Whyte under suspension and who will ride at Western Australia’s Super Saturday meeting at Ascot later this month, it gives Zac Purton more ammunition to add to his tally at the head of the Jockeys Premiership and for Moreira and Doleuze- plus Mosse who returns from the Melbourne Cup to Happy Valley- and the very much in-form Tye Angland- to carry on from where they left off on Sunday- winning.
On a very even and tough card with Moreira on some John Size horses that have disappointed in the past, one just has no idea if the Magic Man can find another gear in them and be able to take his army of followers on another Magic Carpet Ride with Steppenwolf.
Being a pretty average card and not knowing how the track will ride, it could be one of the days where looking for value might be the best way to go, follow Vincent CY Ho and take in all the fashion and glamor on show at the Beer Garden and check out the Latino band at Adrenaline.
Race 1: CHANTILLY
Pretty useless race.
Race 2: GOLDEN BAUHINIA/NOBODY BUT YOU
Leaning towards Nobody But You. Running down a class, good barrier and can lead all the way.
Race 3: NAUGHTY BABY/STAR OF WEI BO
Should still be alive in the Six Up with these two in the mix.
Race 4: RISING POWER/KINGSTON ELITE/MASTER GUNNER/GOLD ADDICTION
Could be the kaboom blowout race.
Race 5: PERFECT MOMENT/TWIN TURBO/FULL OF FUN
Race 6: CLASSIC JEWELLERY/FIRST SIGHT LOVE
Race 7: EASTERN PROMISE/BRAVENESS
Race 8: LUCKY HAMMER/FORMULA WON/GENERAL IRON
Best Bet: RACE 6: BRAVENESS(5)
Next Best: RACE 1: CHANTILLY(11)
Longshot: RACE 6: FIRST SIGHT LOVE(9)
SARIKA’S SIX UP AND QUADDIE
R8- 2- 8-10-12