(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
Tis the season to be jolly and Angelina Jolie and two of the funniest things heard was when asking why Weichong Marwing didn’t ride at Happy Valley on Wednesday, and being told, “Oh, he’s hit one of his moods again”.
Then, when mentioning the three-day suspension, handed out to Gerard Mosse, a bon ami of The Parrot and remarkably equipped swordsman, shrugging his shoulders and said, “Mais oui, he probably needed to get to Paris to see someone.”
Of course, it’s no secret that what’s paramount in Monsieur Mosse’s mind as far as his career is concerned is to take up an assistant trainer’s role in Europe, and gain enough experience so that he can return to Hong Kong as a fully-fledged trainer- good news for those who are still reeling over his what-do-we-do-with-a-drunken-sailor ride on Red Cadeaux during Hong Kong International Day.
Certainment, he has his off days and brain freeze moments when he seems to long to be in McDonaldland with Ronald McDonald and Mayor McCheese, but we like The Parrot- a genius when in the mood, in la la land when riding “zee goats” and a real character.
Racing needs characters like Mosse, Frankie Dettori, Kieron Fallon and a few others, which is why, though there is great respect for Dougie Whyte, Zac Purton and Tye Angland as extremely good jockeys, the local racing public warms to the personalities of Olivier Doleuze and Joao Moreira.
They really don’t care about suspensions or safety rules.
These racing fans love both jockeys as characters who have effusive personalities and bring something of the bad boy to race tracks. (Imagine if Matthew Chadwick had a personality?).
As in showbiz, deep down, everyone loves a bad boy- everyone from Jack Nicholson and Keith Richard to Russell Brand and Charlie Sheen- and, despite his alarming spate of suspensions, the average local punter wants to see Moreira riding in races. It almost “heals” them.
Now that Hong Kong racing fans have had a taste of The Magic Man, there is a void that never existed when he’s not competing with his win-at-all-costs approach to racing, Tonto, and, of course, his unique knack of riding winner after winner.
That’s all the average racing fan cares about- not whether Noel Callow was the better rider in Singapore- and who wouldn’t know- or care- about a good ride from a bad one.
It’s all about winning and losing- and Moreira is in that rare “He always tries” basket with these results-driven fans who easily turn on jockeys who lose on hot pots and are the usual targets for a good old spray of “Diiiiius”.
High on this list are Brett Prebble and Douglas Whyte, whose horses, are well under the odds- or, at least, they used to be until the arrival of Moreira.
This is where there lies a dilemma and the Dalai Lama.
Whatever one might think of his personality, Kim Kelly, below, is a damn fine Chief Steward- probably the best in the world- and he doesn’t play favorites.
To continue to suspend Moreira, a jockey also with a queue of trainers and owners wanting his services, takes mighty big balls.
It’s nothing personal, it’s business- the business of safety- and to his credit, the popular Brazilian jockey has taken it all on the chin with an almost naive exasperation as to what he can do to improve things on Hong Kong race tracks.
Sometimes, what’s even more fascinating than a tight finish between Moreira and Zac Purton is what happens at the end of a race day between Kim Kelly and Joao Moreira.
Having said this, there is a serious side to all this which is no laughing matter.
It has to do with ensuring safety in races and having complete confidence that no jockey- no matter how popular- is above the law or a law unto himself.
And here, though knowing full well of the marquee value of Joao Moreira and the renewed interest he has created in the Jockey Challenge as well as winning over those new to racing, we have to side with Kim Kelly and respect the Chief Steward for being the “villain” in this horse opera.
It’s a tough role to play, but someone has to do it, and Kelly has his principles, he is sticking by them and should be applauded for this and not wavering to popular opinions and trying to be liked by everyone and “doing a Sally Field”.
THE FAST TRACKER LOOKS AT SHATIN TODAY.
R1 GLOBAL FAME/REALLY THE BEST/RAY OF GOLD/GOOD TIMES ROLL
A typically tough start to day and where I’d pass on this appetizer and wait for the main courses and desserts.
R2 LUCKY DAY
An early Birthday and Christmas present for trainer Tony Cruz. Legs- Medic Swordsman, Winning Boy and Chater Victoria.
R3 NO TIES/TAI PO FORTUNE
Tough race, but No Ties with Douglas Whyte up should go close.
R4 CELESTIAL SMILE/MULTIEXPRESS
Should be the quinella with Número Uno a good outsider for legs.
R5 CARTOON FAY FAY/ SUPER STRIKE
Should come off the pace to win this.
Finding the legs are a bitch with me leaning towards Owners Glory, Spicy Siam and Smart Guy for an upset.
R6 FLORAL MAN
Drawn well and with Dougie Whyte on board, Floral Man- a flowery man?- looks the one to beat with Life Of Beauty, Optimization Star, Mobile King and Forever Ahead being strong place chances.
R7 SUN PINS/APPROVE/GREEN MANNER
Logically, one of these three should win. But since when has horse racing been logical?
R8 DANCE FOR GOLD/ACCESS YEARS/OVETT
The fly in the ointment could be Bould Mover for Tony Cruz who celebrates his birthday on Christmas Eve.
R9 KING OF HOUSEHOLD/DIVINE DIVA
Again, the logical choices will be backed and might start under the odds, but if wishing to become totally illogical, look at King Of Household with Teetan aboard. Keep following this one.
R10 GLORIOUS SUNDAY/SEA DRAGON/LUCKY FOREVER/BUSINESS AS USUAL
Definitely the best race of the day and sure to see the totalizator board go nuts.
John Size has two runners, John Moore has two- both taking a class drop- and some interesting riding changes.
For example, Brett Prebble forsakes David Hall’s Bubble Chic to ride Moore’s improving Ashkiyr while Tye Angland jumps aboard Sea Dragon whereas Olly Doleuze stays with the other Size runner Glorious Sunday.
Mosse rides my jinx horse- Autumn Gold- two pounds over. Just saying.
BEST BET: RACE 5 SUPER STRIKE((3)
NEXT BEST: RACE 4 CELESTIAL SMILE (5)
LONGSHOT: RACE 9 KING OF HOUSEHOLD (12)
SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)
SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)
Race 10, No. 12 Crackerjack
Found the line strongly in a slowly run race. Can do better on a roomier track here.
Race 7, No. 6 Approve
Led all the way to win last start. Will get similar run and lack of pace strengthens claims.
Race 9, No. 9 Ongoing Volatility
Caught wide before fading late on debut. Expect improved showing.
TODAY’S SELECTIONS FOR SHA TIN FROM THE THIRD DIVIDEND
SHA TIN (HKG)
Day Races @HKJC_Racing
Turf (“A+3” Course)
Weather: It will be dry. Cold with cloudy periods in the morning. Becoming mainly fine during the day. The maximum temperature will be about 17 degrees. Moderate north to northeasterly winds, occasionally fresh offshore.
1 – Solar Dragon (6)
2 – Yuan’s Fortune (10)
3 – Global Flame (2)
4 – Island Spring (3)
1 – Medic Swordsman (5)
2 – Lucky Day (1)
3 – Winning Boy (8)
4 – Dragon Glory (2)
1 – Tai Po Fortune (7)
2 – Idyllic Wind (11)
3 – Fortune Territory (1)
4 – No Ties (5)
1 – Multiexpress (4)
2 – Celestial Smile (5)
3 – Golden Gunners (6)
4 – Joyful Luck (8)
1 – Spicy Siam (9)
2 – Super Strike (3)
3 – Cartoon Fay Fay (1)
4 – Smart Guy (12)
1 – Floral Man (3)
2 – Optimization Star (14)
3 – Life Of Beauty (5)
4 – Demokles (1)
Race 7 (Q1):
1 – Approve (6)
2 – Sun Pins (8)
3 – Red Dancer (1)
4 – Green Manner (5)
Race 8 (Q2):
1 – Access Years (2)
2 – Ovett (7)
3 – Giggles Forever (9)
4 – Ultimate Winners (1)
Race 9 (Q3):
1 – Divine Diya (11)
2 – Great Charm (7)
3 – Polymer Win (13)
4 – Kabayan (1)
Race 10 (Q4):
1 – Glorious Sunday (7)
2 – Crackerjack (12)
3 – Lucky Forever (5)
4 – Sea Dragon (2)
Race 4: Multiexpress (4)
Race 7: Approve (6)
Race 3: Tai Po Fortune (7)
Race 9: Kabayan (1)
Quaddie ($100 gets you 39%)