(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
MAY THE HORSE BE WITH YOU.
As we gallop into The Year Of The Horse, we do so with high hopes that this Lunar Year will be good to us- as we do every year.
And though this afternoon The Zac Attack, below, will be missing in action ‘cos of a two-day suspension he’s spending in Boracy trying very hard to give that extremely pale skin of his some color- even blue and green- all eyes will be on Joao Moreira to see if he can further cut into Purton’s lead in the Jockeys Premiership.
(Caption – Zac Purton)
Now that he’s shaken off those teething problems that resulted in a spate of suspensions for careless riding and has conquered how to ride the tracks at Shatin and Happy Valley, it’s quite incredible to look at The Magic Man’s strike rate, how his enormous popularity has given the Jockey Challenge a huge new interest with experienced racing fans and those new to sports plus, how quickly, so many have dropped off singing the praises of one-time flavors of the month and switched allegiances.
But, that’s racing for you and- ding dong- where you’re only as good as your last winner.
ARE THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF DOUGIE WHYTE AND THE HKJC CHARITIES FALLING THROUGH THE CRACKS?
Despite never walking away from a challenge, even the fiercely competitive Douglas Whyte would admit that winning a thirteenth consecutive Jockeys Premiership is an impossible task.
Then again, perhaps it’s not a priority for him anymore compared to adding to his CV by spreading his net and winning International Group 1 races as he did on Hong Kong International Day.
For all he has done as a jockey for Hong Kong racing, what could be more fitting than for the HKJC to present the champion jockey with a special award at the end of this season for his incredible accomplishments including winning twelve consecutive Jockey Premierships and being the consummate professional that he is- on and off the track?
Even those who might not be fans of Whyte would be extremely petty and callous not to applaud this superb athlete who has done Hong Kong racing proud and is SURELY eligible for the Guinness Book Of World Records for those twelve consecutive Premierships which will never ever be duplicated.
Why Dougie Whyte isn’t in the Guinness Book Of World Records when that doyen of Hong Kong radio- “Uncle” Ray Cordeiro is- and who was even awarded an MBE- is quite mind-boggling.
Surely, this can only further enhance the image of Hong Kong racing and those connected with it being the best in the world?
While we’re at it, why allow the government to take all the credit for what the HKJC Charities have given- and continue to give- this city and which many Hong Kong Belongers are either clueless about, have forgotten or take for granted?
The HKJC Charities is a very strong weapon in the HKJC’s arsenal and if, we’re “Racing For Charity”- sorry, but seeing this line on the totalizator board is daft- let’s not shy away from the facts and all the accomplishments that will resonate with the racing and non-racing public plus the mainstream media.
A quarter page advertorial hardly does these accomplishments justice.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S DING DONGS
There was a real family atmosphere at Shatin last Sunday- almost a dress rehearsal to welcoming in The Year Of The Horse- and when the young son of one of the winning owners held a huge phallic shaped green balloon in front of him which, we hear, sent shock waves running amongst television viewers as this moment was captured for posterity, well it just added to what was a chilled day at the races.
Phallic-shaped balloons apart, Joao Moreira “only” rode a treble, Zac Purton answered back with a double as did Matty Chadwick while Douglas Whyte continued with his new career modus operandus of checking out which horses might scale Group heights and which he can have dibs on.
Of course, every jockey except for The Magic Man must be banging their heads against the nearest brick wall for deserting the Ricky Yiu-trained Amber Sky.
Owned by martial arts actor and director Sammo Hung, below, Amber Sky destroyed its rivals over the 1000m Shatin straight in the Kent & Curwen Centenary Sprint.
Yiu looks to have a new Sacred Kingdom on his hands, and, we’re tipping, a galloper that will go onto International glory for Hong Kong.
All credit to Ricky Yiu for never giving up on Amber Sky which some astute racing professionals once told us, “It’s good- but not as good as the connections think it is.”
Apart from needing some beta blocks to remove its fear of running around bends, if just kept on the straight and narrow, well, the sky could, indeed, be the limit for Amber Sky.
Elsewhere, celebrity spotters received a triple whammy where, other than Sammy Hung, Kent & Curwen brand ambassadors Aaron Kwok and Michael Owen were at the track with fans of both- some who had flown in from overseas- out in force and happy to make right Kent & Curwens of themselves.
Away from Hong Kong racing, but to DO with Hong Kong racing, for a few months before the HK International Week, there were mixed signals coming from certain quarters connected to racing in Australia- petty jealousies, finger-pointing and, well, ignorance- about racing out here from the misinformed and geographically-challenged.
Instead of looking after their own messed up backyards, these legends in their lunchtime have been busy pontificating on subjects they are totally clueless about- plus, at least one old timer whom we thought would know better- Kenny Callander- wondering why people keep saying Hong Kong, has some of the best riders in the world.
Perhaps it was the patriotism of Australian National Day, but Big Ken wrote in his column that none- Moreira, Purton, Whyte, Angland, Delouze- could compare with his top five Aussie jockeys.
Put this down to a Senior Moment as these five included Hughie Bowman and Tommy Berry, both of whom will soon be riding in Hong Kong. Ding dong, sir.
THE OSCARS, THE GRAMMYS, THE TONYS, EVEN THE RAZZIES, SO- DING DONG- WHY NOT THE HORSIES???
Watching, first, the Golden Globes, and, more recently, the Grammy Awards, we couldn’t help wondering why there couldn’t be the Golden Horseshoes or The Horsie- a black tie and red carpet global awards show for the best in horse racing for the year- and hosted in Hong Kong.
Why not, when, right now, many of racing’s black tie “gala nights” are seen by many who are coerced into attending as being as dreary as watching The Days Of Our Lives or studying the mating habits of penguins?
After watching the Grammys, we also couldn’t help wondering who might Get Lucky and be racing’s answer to Daft Punk.
Topping the early Nominations from our end would be Australian trainer/party boy and self-styled Hong Kong wagering expert and know-it-all James Cumming, Sheikh Mo Rattle And Roll and Hong Kong’s own Andy “I am still a trainer” Leung.
Racing’s answer to the very twitchy and spasmodic moves of Lorde?
Leading the nominations is Darren Flindell having heard something else very weird from “Lucky” Davis which has given him a nervous tic.
Seriously though, horse racing- from a global perspective- needs a drastic image re-haul to lose the perception of it still being an addictive mug’s game with little “celebrity value” to attract the next generation of race-goers.
ONLY through them will come a new and more forward-thinking group of sponsors who, in turn, will bring with them bigger budgets, new ways of looking at naming rights and added value, making all those on-track presentations no one watches actually worth watching, and, very simply, pushing that creative envelope that will- ding dong- make the sport far more entertaining viewing- on and off the track.
Of course, we know ding dong racing executives who don’t wish to see that the wheel has been broken for years nor upset the apple cart by- gawd forbid- doing anything different.
After all, they’re busy counting the days before they ride off into the sunset singing Happy Trails with their ding dong satchels bulging with retirement packages for doing practically nothing.
However, surely, there are a few good men and women in racing out there who still take pride in their work and don’t wish to be known as being “useless” and continually dismissed as having no clout and, even worse, no internal fortitude?
THE BRETT “LUCKY” DAVIS DING DONG CORNER
Yes, as charter members and heads of The Brett “Lucky” Davis Ding Dong Fan Club, we were disappointed that our main man managed to escape mentioning those names Kent and Curwen without his lips and tongue and brain getting in the way- but all was not lost.
Early on during the ‘live’ broadcast from Shatin, “Lucky” announced to all and sundry that Jenny From The Block aka Jenny From The Paddock aka Jenny Chapman was having, er, her batteries changed.
Later, “Lucky” was heard to use the word, “gunky”- in what context we don’t know- though it brought back fond memories of a girl we once knew for various gunky reasons.
Meanwhile, hats and everything else off to the Three Amigos for getting dressed up as Fu Manchus on the Racing To Win extravaganza though that shade of brown really did nothing for Amigo Darren- and The Ding Dong Big Balls Award to “Lucky” for actually wondering out aloud if Matthew “Bus Uncle” Chadwick might have been asleep at the wheel when riding Magical Beam at its last start- and was a good thing beaten.
THE FAST TRACKER EXAMINES THE BODY COUNT AT CAULFIELD YESTERDAY AND LOOKS AT SHATIN TODAY.
There were bodies strewn around Caulfield yesterday when favorites and “unbeatables” flopped and with Australia’s army of tipsters- even the usually good Deane Lester- shooting blanks and killing the lemmings that follow them as, POSSIBLY, according to some jockeys, the heat took its toll.
Only the hot pots?
Martha, grab your Vandellas and launch into Heatwave.
Short-priced favorites like Flying Hostess, La Venta, the $1.80 Laid Back Larry- ridden by Damien Oliver and trained by Gai Waterhouse- which, after a spurt of energy, was so laid back, it was more like Laidback Cheech and Chong- the Glen Boss-ridden $1.70 fave Lord Of The Sky etc etc fell by the wayside.
Boss mentioning that his ride was “stumbling” before the start and was still allowed to race is a real eyebrow raiser.
Anyway, speed maps, form, handicaps went out the window as racing in Melbourne continued a very strange pattern that had been happening over the past few days with experienced jockeys like Oliver missing the start on red hot favorites way too often and turning race days into a punter’s graveyard.
And what a panning Ollie is getting from disgruntled punters for a series of very ordinary rides- and not just yesterday- not befitting this great rider.
Small wonder that Hong Kong’s Chinese racing media- and many local punters- have always viewed Aussie jockeys out here with great suspicion- Nikolic, Oliver, Boss, Craig Williams, Danny Brereton, Steven King etc- and huge props to Zac Purton, Tye Angland and Tommy Berry for helping to change this perception.
Meanwhile, regarding tipsters, let me say that I am only a tipster in restaurants, bars and taxis and am only an observer who bases his personal opinions on who’s riding what and previous runs and rides.
Sometimes one is a genius with these observations, and, most of the time, a bloody fool.
That’s racing- and not exactly life and death nor fear and loathing.
R1 SECRET IDENTITY/ GOOD GOOD VIEW
As it’s good fung shui to win the first race of the Lunar New Year, just bet on every horse. Better safe than sorry.
R2 GREAT STORIES/FIERY FOUR BY FOUR/MR GOURMET
Being a big fan of Mirco Demuro, below, he should get the best out of Great Stories which has fallen to a winning handicap while Mr Gourmet which looks to have been set for this race by Dennis Yip, and Neil Callan’s mount Fiery Four By Four, might light a few firecrackers under some arses- and good to know that the Englishman will be riding in Hong Kong until the end of the season.
R3 RAIN OF THUNDER
Paul O’Sullivan’s recent run of success has gone under the radar and with Whyte on his Rain Of Thunder, this could be another winner for one of the genuinely good guys in racing.
Mosse rides one of his regular mounts- Yuan’s Fortune- and though lumping topweight, it remains one for the tierces along with Starlit Warrior, Wealth Park and, for odds, the slowly improving Public Figure.
R4 ISLAND GARDEN/KEY WITNESS/WORLD CITY/LYRIC ACE
A tricky race that could easily throw up an upset, especially if Key Witness might need this run- along with owner Archie Da Silva.
R5 MAGICAL BEAM/TRIUMPHANT DRAGON/ROBUST MOMENTUM/DRAGON’S CHOICE
The first leg of the Triple Trio and, as usual, more wide open than a hooker’s legs.
The only small blessing might be Joao Moreira on The HKJC’s Racing Club’s Young Warrior.
Though being disappointing, a very ordinary convenience and drawn right out wide, the engagement of the Magic Man might make this plodder start under the odds- again- which will make those named above- and with far better form- go off at good prices.
R6 AMAZING ALWAYS/OSCAR MIRACLE/COUNTRY CHARM/FLORAL MAN
With Joao Moreira being the latest jockey to try and get the best outta Floral Man, this will start way under the odds.
If it wins, it wins and Joao Moreira can walk on water, but as the middle leg of the Triple Trio and the first leg of the Six Up, this could race could also be a real blow out with the honest Amazing Always, which goes so well for Karis Teetan, below, being a good banker.
R7 PENIAPHOBIA/PURE FORCE/DIVINE TEN
The LOUDEST whisper amongst Hong Kong racing’s “Deep Throats” has been the news that one computer syndicate dropped a VERY big bundle on Go Baby Go last Sunday.
Though drawn favorably for the 1000m dash plus the form on the board, Go Baby Go, ridden by Tye Angland, went nowhere, baby, except backwards.
In this 1000m race, Angland on Pure Force has drawn barrier 14 and looks to be the one to beat though Divine Ten with Moreira up but drawn barrier three will be the favorite while Peniaphobia looks something special. The winner MUST come outta these three.
R8 DAN EXCEL/AKEED MOFEED
A sudden decision for Akeed Mofeed to have this run before its trip to Dubai means that the horse is still not totally tuned and there will be something kept in reserve in the tank for its real target- in Dubai.
Even without giving 100%, Akeed should be too good- BUT, if simply going out to take in the view and stretch its legs, take Dan Excel.
R9 SUPER LIFELINE/ DESTINED FOR GLORY/ MAJESTIC FALCON
Super Lifeline looks a handicapping certainty- but how can anyone not follow the John Moore barmy army in any Cup race- and for which he has a mortgage?
The champion trainer has got the knack of winning these Cup races down to a fine art and is certainly doing his legendary father proud while Brother Gary- once the Golden Child of the Moore Dynasty and the lovable nutcase he’s always been- plods along in Macau with eyes, apparently, set on returning to the training ranks in Sydney.
But, Mo Ga-lay- burn the canary yellow jacket, my friend.
R10 OUR FOLKS
This is a tough one: Our Folks, ridden by Doleuze who is the regular rider of the same connections’ Nice Folks which runs in Race 11, ran a blinder at its first starter to come second to plunge horse Wishfull Patrol, below, the Frenchman’s regular ride, but which, that eventful day was ridden by Derek Leung.
Last week, Doleuze was reunited with Wishfull Patrol at Happy Valley- and the horse- as predicted- didn’t exactly fire. In fact, it came last.
Because of its first run, Our Folks will start at short odds and one has to factor in if that run might have been flattering OR, like Tableaux, if Our Folks might suffer from the dreaded second-up syndrome.
R11 MR GNOCCHI/APPROVE/DINING WORLD/
It’s good to see John Moore retain apprentice Dickie Lui, below,on Approve, which brings it in very well at the weights and where it’s by riding good horses for good trainers that this and other apprentices can improve.
Sending these kids on no-hopers just to get a drop in the ratings is unfair on them- and an insult to the public who can see right through the reason for these riding engagements.
It’s like running dirt specialists on the turf- and over unsuitable distances- with an average jockey aboard and riding to only one instructions.
If the jock gets nailed for giving the horse a run, who cops all the blame? Yes, the easy target.
Something must change here as it’s starting to become too damn ding dong obvious.
BEST BET- RACE10- SUPER LIFELINE (14)
NEXT BEST- RACE 1- SECRET IDENTITY (6)
LONGSHOT- RACE 11- APPROVE (9)
SIX UP (1)
SIX UP (2)
SELECTIONS FROM THE THIRD DIVIDEND
SHA TIN (HKG)
Day Races @HKJC_Racing
Turf (“C” Course)
Weather: Mainly fine apart from rather low visibility in some areas. The maximum temperature during the day will be about 23 degrees. Light to moderate east to northeasterly winds.
Race 1: Kut Cheong Hcp CL4
1 – Secret Identity (6)
2 – Good Good View (1)
3 – Go Bananas (5)
4 – Grand Harbour (10)
Race 2: Prosperity Jcp CL4
1 – Great Stories (8)
2 – Fiery Four by Four (12)
3 – Goldland Dancer (6)
4 – King’s Folks (2)
Race 3: Yue Yee Hcp CL5
1 – Rain Of Thunder (6)
2 – Wealth Park (9)
3 – Yuan’s Fortune (1)
4 – Gold Tartini (10)
Race 4: Kut Cheong Hcp (Sec 1) CL4
1 – Power Blitz (11)
2 – Key Witness (8)
3 – World City (1)
4 – Island Garden (2)
Race 5: Red Packet Hcp CL5
1 – Magical Beam (7)
2 – Goldweaver (1)
3 – Young Warrior (5)
4 – Robust Momentum (3)
Race 6: Lucky Star Hcp CL4
1 – Floral Man (3)
2 – Oscar Miracle (7)
3 – Amazing Always (12)
4 – Silver Dragon (11)
Race 7: Great Profits Hcp CL3
1 – Divine Ten (1)
2 – Art Of Success (5)
3 – Victorius (2)
4 – Pure Force (10)
Race 8 (Q1): The Centenary Vase (Hcp) Hong Kong Group Three (Rated 90+)
1 – Akeed Mofeed (1)*
2 – Dan Excel (2)
3 – Real Specialist (5)
4 – Helene Spirit (3)
Race 9 (Q2): The Chinese New Year Hcp CL1
1 – Super Lifeline (14)
2 – Destiner For Glory (1)
3 – New Vision (5)
4 – Lucky Double Eight (7)
Race 10 (Q3): Kung Hei Hcp CL3
1 – Our Folks (3)
2 – Supreme Falcon (2)
3 – Gallant Triumph 1)
4 – Golden Deer (13)
Race 11 (Q4): Fat Choi Hcp CL2 (Rated 90-70)
1 – Mr Gnocchi (4)
2 – Dining World (2)
3 – Approve (9)
4 – Dr Good Habit (5)
Race 9: Super Lifeline (14)
Race 10: Our Folks (3)
Race 5: Magical Beam (7) – Currently, $5.20/$3.00
Race 6: Silver Dragon (11) – Currently, $18.00/$4.00
Quaddie ($100 gets you 277%)
SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)
Race 11, No. 4 Mr Gnocchi
Won going away last start. Racing well and can repeat the dose.
Race 9, No. 7 Lucky Double Eight
Fitness query but gets down in the weights and extra journey suits. Keep safe.
Jockey Challenge, G Mosse
Near-full book of rides and will be finishing the afternoon strongly.
Race 7, No. 1 Divine Ten
Disappointed last time out and drawn poorly here. Under the odds.
1,2,5,8 / 1,7,8 / 3,6 / 2,4,9. $50 for 69.44%.
(SOURCE: BORED PANDA)