(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
AND NOW WHAT?
It sneaked up on us and then baffled us a bit, but all is now as clear as a Johnny Nash song about NOWTV’s new 668 subscription-based racing channel that made its debut on Sunday.
This is a savvy move by the HKJC to have its races broadcast by as many mediums as possible and, through this, reach as wide a consumer group as possible.
So, what Hong Kong racing enthusiasts have right now is the free-to-air ‘live’ broadcasts of the races on terrestrial station ATV, the subscription-based i-Cable racing channel and now, well, NOW, ANOTHER racing channel plus, of course, the Club’s off-course betting centers which are a medium all of their own.
What’s now interesting to sit back and watch is how the subscription-based channels follow the Content Is King ethos and produce programming- unique programming- that can be wrapped around the coverage of the races.
After all, there are only so many ways one can show paddock parades, only so many talking headed racing pundits one can take to their bosom and call Daddy and Mama and only so many times one can watch race replays.
A MAN AND HIS HORSE (DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT)
STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S DING DONGS
When first-starter Go Bananas had a brain freeze and was thinking about the halcyon days of Joe Bananas in Wanchai and on the first race of the Year Of The Horse, it signaled an auspicious start to the new Lunar New Year.
As the day progressed, jockey Eddie Lai had a broken boot and a faulty zipper which meant a delay to race 10, Derek Leung took a tumble, and a dark cloud gathered over David “Darth” Ferraris when his Strathtay, given a very strong ride by Neil Callan, and which really looked the winner, was found to have lost to Our Folks by a nostril hair.
After another heart-breakingly close second on Dan Excel a couple of weeks early, Callan must be getting so pissed off to be on the losing end of these tight finishes that he’s probably thinking of letting his nostril hairs grow longer.
Still with the race, we shudder to think what celebrity owner Aaron Kwok must have been thinking when his Calling With Love was four and five wide throughout the race as Gerard Mosse- he was riding so well until this Mr Bean moment- looked like he was navigating the galloper to McDonald’s for some Pommes de Frites.
Of course, there were the highlights- the 98,000 people on track, a turnover of over $1.6 billion, another free magic show by Joao Moreira- his NON-winning ride on Same World was also a beaut- a great, almost Felix Coetzee-inspired ride by Karis Teetan to win aboard Super Lifeline, and some great race calling by Darren Flindell, seen below, who got into the spirit of the Chinese New Year by bellowing GUM BAI to everyone and nearly having a coronary cheering on Good Good View and, later, Strathtay.
The best of these highlights was the win of an 85% fit Akeed Mofeed which trainer Richard Gibson has taken such pains to turn into a wonderful racing machine with the horse’s regular rider- Douglas Whyte- knowing only too well that here is the gift horse- the Group 1 horse- he’s been waiting to call his own and help elevate his status as a Group 1 winning jockey.
Sure, other rides are important, but it’s only human to focus on priorities- and if some of Whyte’s other rides yesterday were, according to some armchair critics, “f***ed”, well, tough titties and even louder ding dongs.
And here, a word of caution: Social media, when used strategically and objectively, is an effective tool that has changed the ways we communicate along with how to market products.
However, when, especially in horse racing, it’s used by the geographically-challenged, the illiterate and those with a parochial sense of patriotism- and there’s a thin line between gung ho patriotism and racism and hooliganism and yobboism- and treat the twitterverse to a continuous and boring rah rah chorus of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie”, it can, at times, turn-off many foreigners- and local trainers, owners and the Chinese racing media- about the fine Aussie riders either already in Hong Kong- or about to arrive in Hong Kong.
There is also a Big Brother element to twitter so, let’s just keep the fawning down to a low hum, and the parochial chest-pounding about how this and that Aussie jockey is going to drastically change the Hong Kong racing landscape forever in the deep peanut recesses of those with addled brains.
Let these athletes’ actions on track speak for themselves- not the rantings of bogans who have never left their Boony Toons backwater backyards and have never come out and smelt the char siu baus.
Racing in Hong Kong is extremely competitive because it’s international and with top riders with very different riding styles.
It’s a great buffet for racing enthusiasts as it emphasizes why variety is the spice of life and not only putting another prawnie on the barbie- or playing that stalking, stalking and more stalking game- and then charging home at the same time like the Light Brigade.
Apart from being lengths ahead of other racing jurisdictions when it comes to innovation and a successful business model, Hong Kong racing is a great leveler as a sport- and let’s not forget the big name jockeys who have come out here and, for one reason or another, failed, failed, failed.
TONIGHT’S SELECTIONS FOR HAPPY VALLEY (FROM THE THIRD DIVIDEND)
Happy Valley (HONG KONG)
#HValley Night Races @HKJC_Racing
Turf (“A” Course)
Weather: Cloudy with one or two rain patches. Fresh easterly winds,
strong at times.
Race 1: Bowrington Hcp CL2
1 – Charity Joy (6)
2 – Tour De Force (2)
3 – Beauty Sparkle (1)
4 – Charity Spirit (4)
Race 2: Canal Hcp CL5
1 – Dark Secret (5)
2 – Good Times Roll (9)
3 – Hong Kong Fat (2)
4 – All Times Lucky (4)
Race 3: Percival Hcp CL4
1 – Hei Hei Posh (1)
2 – Ho Ho Life (2)
3 – Zachary (11)
4 – Very Well (4)
Race 4: The Craigengower Cricket Club Challenge (Hcp) CL4
1 – Call Me Achiever (7)
2 – Ocean Roar (5)
3 – Nobody But You (2)
4 – Might And Vision (11)
Race 5: Russell Hcp CL5
1 – Ray Of Gold (8)
2 – Novel Start (1)
3 – Flying Keeper (10)
4 – Cosmo One (9)
Race 6 (Q1): Sports Road Hcp CL4
1 – China Angel (8)
2 – Red Courage (12)
3 – Croesus (3)
4 – Ambitious Glory (1)
Race 7 (Q2): Wong Nai Chung Hcp CL3 (Sec 1) (Rated 80-60)
1 – My Name Is Bond (2)
2 – Happy Yeah Yeah (3)
3 – Getaway Guy (5)
4 – Sunny Fay (7)
Race 8 (Q3): Wong Nai Chung Hcp CL3 (Sec 1) (Rated 80-60)
1 – Multivictory (2)
2 – Sharp Hunter (11)
3 – I’m In Charge (5)
4 – Tarzan I Am (1)
Race 9 (Q4): Yiu Wa Hcp CL3 (Rated 80-60)
1 – Redwood Baby (12)
2 – Golden Addiction (9)
3 – Royal Partner (2)
4 – Amber Dragon (3)
Race 9: Redwood Baby (12)
Race 5: Ray Of Gold (8)
Race 6: China Angel (8) – Currently, $6.30/$2.10
Race 2: All Times Lucky (4) – Currently, $10.00/$2.60
Quaddie ($100 gets you 39%)
TONIGHT’S SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)
Race 1, No. 2 Tour De Force
Both runs this course and distance have been good. Should be close to peak fitness now.
Race 9, No. 12 Redwood Baby
Proved too strong for opposition last start. Carries postage stamp weight here and looks hard to beat again.
Race 6, No. 3 Croesus
Hasn’t been far away in better company than this. Not hopeless.
Race 7, No. 2 My Name Is Bond
3,8,12 / 3,4,5,7 / 2,5,11 / 8,12. $50 for 69.44%.
THE FAST TRACKER FEELS A WANG DOODLE COMING ON TONIGHT.
Yes, just like most of Hong Kong, many of us got the Six Up Bonus, but if Our Folks and Super Lifeline were beaten- and they came perilously close to being overturned by outsiders, one doubts the Six Up would have been won.
But those are What Ifs and Maybes after the horse has bolted just like thinking that if Magic Beam had not been withdrawn, I would have won the Triple Trio.
C’est la vie and one big merde.
Moving forward, there are nine races tonight with the first going off at 6.45pm and where, good gawd, Danny Shum has three horses entered in the six horse field with Joao Moreira on Charity Joy looking like being the first winner at the city track for the Year Of The Horse.
The card tonight includes one of those 1010 Million Challenge races where, often, when looking around and seeing the billboards promoting it, my friends and I wonder who came up with this ding dong daft and confusing competition which has zero appeal to the racing public, and why it plods along year after year.
It barely gets a mention even on loo walls and, apart from ringing that bell to launch this marketing Titanic, it’s another willy wonky example of using racing to market a product.
Aside from this ding dong wang dang doodle, Joao Moreira will probably start favorite for the Jockey Challenge, but I’ll go with the excellent Mirco Demuro who has an equally excellent book of rides.
R1 CHARITY JOY/TOUR DE FORCE
One of Danny Shum’s three runners in the six horse field and with Moreira up, Charity Joy, will start the very short favorite in one of those 1010 races which will take place while the crowds are trudging in after work. Personally, I’d go for the quinella with Tour De Force. Let’s get this race outta the way to focus on the better ones.
R2 HONG KONG FAT/ABLE DRAGON
Fatty should be better than this lot, but this truly is a nothing race. Am nodding off just thinking about it.
R3 REAL GENERAL/VERY WELL
Crikey, Alvin Ng needs a winner VERY badly and in a pretty open race, this might do the trick. Might.
IF forced to have a bet, I’d go with Very Well with Dickie Lui up, below, who did a good job with Approve on the weekend, or Ho Ho Life.
Another race I’d be leaving alone and, instead playing with my stimulator.
R4 GENERAL IRON/OCEAN ROAR/CALL ME ACHIEVER/NOBODY BUT YOU
The first leg of the Six Up and one would have to put Call Me Achiever in with the Magic Man up, but it will be way under the odds for a bit of a plodder and think it can be beat without surprising.
It’s General Iron for me on the win line- which could be General Custer at the Battle Of Big Horn in the end. Well, better to end with a big horn than no horn.
R5 RAY OF GOLD
Mama Mia, Mirco Demuro on Ray Of Hope to take this one out.
Daily Double as an outsider with Cosmo One.
R6 RED COURAGE/CHINA ANGEL
One of these two should win with me leaning towards China Angel from a good barrier with Douglas Whyte up.
R7 MY NAME IS BOND
This is the one to shake and stir the race for Joao and Casibah.
Getaway Guy- watch out for this one- Rainbow Fighter and Happy Yeah Yeah for the tierce legs.
A race with last start winner Meridian Treasure which might have been lucky to get away with that race at huge odds with Jacky Tong keeping the ride for old friend Chris So.
Sharp Shooter which has come second at its last two starts has Moreira aboard but has barrier 12 to overcome over the 1200 meter race- which might be alright on the A course though starting under the odds.
Follow newcomer I’m In Charge at Shatin- or even tonight- though Multi-Victory with the blinkers on for the first time should take this out.
R9 REDWOOD BABY/LUCKY OMENS/GOLDEN ADDICTION
Another tough race with the pace going to have a big say in the fate of many plus having one of my favorite horses-
Wrath Of Fire- entered over its favorite distance of 1800 meters- but which, despite running a very good third over this same course and distance, I just don’t see winning this. But follow this extremely honest galloper, I must.
All said and done, Redwood Baby is my first choice and Karis Teetan taking over from The Magic Man shouldn’t make a difference.
BEST BETS: R7 MY NAME IS BOND/ R5 RAY OF GOLD/R8 MULTI-VICTORY
NEXT BEST: R6 CHINA ANGEL/R9 REDWOOD BABY
LONGSHOT: R7- GETAWAY GUY
THE LO-DOWN ON THE ZAC AND MILITARY ATTACKS?
For weeks, the Chinese racing media has been gnawing at a story involving Zac Purton, trainer John Moore and owners Mr and Mrs Steven Lo- the Sonny and Cher of Hong Kong racing with Mrs Lo being a celebrity of her own as the very attractive poet and lyricist Canny Leung.
Many times, we have gone racing just to get close to Canny and soak in her beauty while inhaling her parfum de Canny with, of course, her hubby having his own manly charms.
What the Chinese media are writing about is, apparently, a slight difference of opinion where John Moore would like Joao Moreira on Military Attack and have the Zac Attack- the regular rider for the Lo-owned galloper- ride Dominant.
We have no idea for the supposed need for this switcheroo, but boys being boys- and Steven Lo being one of those big boys way above the law- has dug his feet in and is staying loyal to Purton.
Of course, the big question now is just how well Military Attack runs at its next start and if Moore will be proven correct- and whether the Zac Attack will even get a Snack Attack or nutty nibble from the stable after this protracted saga.
BBC subtitle blunder ushers in the ‘year of the whores’ as Chinese New Year is celebrated
Woops: BBC announcement to a surprised audience
The BBC was left red-faced on Friday after its latest subtitle blunder ushered in the Chinese New Year as the “year of the whores” instead of the year of the horse.
The error was quickly picked up on social media by an amused audience.
Previous subtitle gaffes on the BBC include a call for a moment’s violence during the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002, while on another occasion one reporter’s subtitles famously claimed pigs nibbled willies instead of wellies.
Last year, Ofcom announced plans for regular audits on the quality of broadcasters’ subtitles following complaints.
The BBC may have more work to do…