(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
HK’S ZAC ATTACK BECOMES THE WIZARD OF OZ!
While The Fat Boy of NSW racing stayed true to his role as official sycophant to trainer Chris Waller and fawned all over the very good trainer who had trained the first four place-getters in The Doncaster, it took Bruce Clark to speak to winning jockey Zac Purton who had flown out of Hong Kong on Friday to ride Sacred Falls on Saturday- the first day of NSW’s The Championships which, by the way, despite the strong fields, attracted a meager 25,000 people to the spanking new Randwick racecourse.
Why- and not just because of the foul weather- is another story for another day.
While The Fat Boy, below, kept making loud sucking noises, a mud-splattered Zac Attack was coolness personified despite a tough race run on a very heavy track.
He thanked his and our good mate Lawrence Wadey for persuading him to accept the ride, thanked owners the Yap family and The Raffles Thoroughbred Syndicate from Malaysia and had a little dig at how he is invited to ride in big races around the world- but virtually ignored in his home country.
But, now- suddenly- Zac Purton is a “world class rider” to Aussie racing pundits. Puhleeeeze.
For The Fat Boy, who doesn’t think Hong Kong racing is on a par with that of Australia, having a Hong Kong-based jockey win on a horse owned by Malaysian connections was probably too much to stomach.
For The Zac Attack, it was a personal triumph and also a reminder as to how riding in Hong Kong against some of the best in the world with very different riding styles makes one not only a better jockey with a global perspective of racing, but also about life and its Bigger Picture.
HAPPINESS IS A HAPPY WEDNESDAY AT THE RACES.
Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley was one of those rare race days when the weather gods came together and created the perfect setting for one helluva party- a celebration of life and to hell with negativity.
The racing was brilliant led by four wins by The Zac Attack, and an awesome win by Key Witness whereas the action at the Beer Garden was an amazing coming together of Pharrell Williams’ Happy, the brilliant Ben Semmens Band, a cameo appearance before the first race by Joao Moreira, Brazilian Ole Ole Shake Shake dancers, a flash mob and a crowd rising to the occasion and making it their own.
Hong Kong might have music nights at The Pawn, Backstage, Sevva etc, but none have come close to what took place that Happy Wednesday- and for only a HK$10 entrance fee when at Randwick’s The Championships, a sandwich cost AUS$10. Sheesh.
Australia, the UK, Dubai, the US and, er, Chengdu might have their big race days with high-profile International jockeys and champion International equine talent, but, sometimes, atmosphere wins over the bells and whistles of hardcore racing interests.
This was one of those times.
The one bummer- and this must be fixed next season- is that ‘cos of the neighboring party poopers and their complaints about “noise”, the ‘live’ music comes to a screaming halt these days by 10pm- way too early and seeing the exodus from the track by those at the Beer Garden after race 6 is like warbling The Pub With No Beer.
BRUCE STINSON VERSUS THE PROFESSOR AND THE HKJC AND PROTECTING ITS DATA.
The court case between well-known Aussie businessman and former television presenter and journalist for the Hong Kong Standard- Bruce Stinson- and a Professor Guo and a “mathematical model” for racing is way too complex for our little heads to get around, but reading a transcript of the last- ding dong- round between the two former business partners and mention of the HKJC racing data made us think about the Copyright of this content.
Yes, the hardcore and professional punter want as much information as possible about every race- and the HKJC does backflips to provide this- and, as it should.
Having said this, surely it all falls under Content- and Content means having Rights Issues?
At a time when every industry that owns its content is cracking down on those who simply take this for free, perhaps racing clubs need to examine and clearly define the Terms And Conditions of usage of their data?
It’s not something that can be solved tomorrow, but unless this subject is, at least, discussed and understood with the future in mind, things can get outta hand very quickly.
Frankly, there’s no time like the present to draw some clear lines in the sand and also in that legally grey online world where everyone thinks everything is theirs for the taking.
If not, racing clubs just might be facing problems with the more unscrupulous operators- something which cut the music industry off at its knees and which is now desperately trying to put the online genie back in the bottle.
CO-MINGLING WITH THE US AND UP THE NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE.
We did our own little research on the US coming on board as the first market to be part of co-mingling and were surprised to learn that if in New Jersey, State laws forbid any wagering with Hong Kong plus, despite heavy promotion by TVG, which reaches 35 million households, response has been mixed- and somewhat confusing- though these are very early days when it comes to an extremely complex subject like co-mingling.
More interesting- and sinister- are thoughts by some in the American racing media suggesting that certain State laws were setup years ago by politicians with vested interests to protect the interests of the Atlantic City casino big boys- and shut everyone else out.
THE FAST TRACKER IS NOT SURE HOW HE FEELS ABOUT SHATIN TODAY.
Maybe it was having his brother in town, maybe it was the way the stars were aligned, maybe it was to prove to wife Nicole who was busy co-hosting a new episode of Finding Happy Wednesday that he wasn’t just sitting on his arse doing bugger all, but on Wednesday night, Zac Purton brought his own light and vision show to Happy Valley with a brilliant four-timer.
It was like old times with Dougie Whyte booting home two winners and relative new boy- Joao Moreira- bringing home Redwood Baby with a great ride while Alex HW Lai won one for the home team.
In Whyte, Purton and Moreira- in comic book hero form below by illustrator and animator Pat Lee who’s worked on projects like The Transformers- the HKJC has a ready-made marketing plan to take the Jockey Challenge to new heights- and with strong sponsorship appeal.
As for the girls presently trotted out onstage of the Beer Garden to hold up signs showing this Jockey Challenge leader board, sorry, but it doesn’t work.
The crowd isn’t listening, it’s as tacky as cheesecake models strutting around holding up the number of the next boxing round in some Vegas casino whereas, in the Beer Garden, what most of the guys want to discuss is which one has the best butt.
As for today’s card, it’s good without the need to make whoopee sounds and looks like another day where Hong Kong’s D’Artagnan, Aramis and Portos (Portos???) will, once again, dominate proceedings with Moreira looking to have the slightly better book of rides.
R1 BULLISH SMART
This should be the first winner of the day for Joao Moreira though I feel that Bullish Smart needs longer.
R2 LA COTE DE BLEU/COOL PAL/YOU AND M/OPTIMIZATION STAR
I get as twitchy as Lorde whenever David Hall puts “Plunge Jockey” Ben “Berio” So on any of his horses- even Optimazation Star.
A pretty open race overall which I wouldn’t touch.
R3 FOREVER AHEAD/WORLD CITY/MAROON PRINCE/HURRY HURRY UP
With yet another stable move- and another move to Chris Ho, something happening with almost monotonous regularity- Forever Ahead might win for his new home in a race I can’t get excited about.
As for Chris Ho, how many more horses will he be inheriting from John Size who seems to be getting rid of his low-class equine tenants.
R4 VERDANE/GREAT PEGASUS/GOLDLAND DANCER
R5 PRINCE OF SUNSHINE/MONEY WIN WINS/CHAMPION RANGER/SURROUNDED
One of those all-bother races.
R6 ISLAND GARDEN/VERA PEARL/WINNING PREMIUM
R7 STAG KNIGHT/EVER SHINY/TOP ACT/RIBOT LEGACY
Though the odds are that Stag Knight with Moreira up will start favorite, I won’t be at all surprised if Top Cat with Karis Teetan aboard takes this out- The Geriatric Healthcare Handicap- who NAMES these races???- after reports of a very VERY good trial following three months off due to a lameness issue after its last run.
Dougie Whyte and Johnny Size team up again, and today we’ll see how good Khaya really is. And if very good, we’ll see the Durban Demon stick to his new career strategy of quality not quantity and ensuring he stays aboard horses that have Group winning potential.
R9 BOY OH BOY/ SICHUAN EXEC/WHY NOT
R10 FULL TALENT/NUMERO UNO
Two very progressive gallopers engaged here and it’s unfortunate that the Richard Gibson-trained Full Talent has drawn barrier 12, which might prove to be a big hurdle.
If Dougie Whyte gives it one of his vintage rides and wins, well, the connections will have to thank old mate and racing legend- New Zealand Bloodstock’s Brent Thomson, below- for finding them this horse which won at 100 to 1 at its first start with Weichong Marwing aboard.
R11 GALLANT TRIUMPH/ SZECHUAN VIGOUR/WAH MAY STAR/LUCKY BONUS/
Interesting to see Tony Cruz replace Alvin Ng and book Howard Cheng for Wah May Star- a regular ride for the jockey when the horse was with its former stable for this, The Arthritis Handicap.
Let’s just hope, Howard The Duck doesn’t drag it out to McDonald’s as he did on Wednesday with Ongoing Vitality which was a certainty beaten
Can Wah May Star win?
Well, it’s been going close, but with no cigar since being moved to the Tony Cruz stable and the former champion jockey must be wounding if he’s run outta options and if Wah May Star might have peaked last season?
As always, it’s a good competitive race to end proceedings where, apart from those that will be in the market, remember this is a quartet race and the last legs of the Six Up and the third Double Trio where one should look at some value chances- like Lucky Bonus which the underrated Derek Leung is riding two pounds over and could run into the placings at big odds.
BEST BET: R7 STAG KNIGHT/TOP ACT/EVER SHINY/RIBOT LEGACY (Stag Knight as the banker onto Ever Shiny, Top Hat and Ribot Legacy- quinella, tierce and quinella place)
NEXT BEST: R8 KHAYA
LONGSHOT: R11 LUCKY BONUS
Sarika’s Six Up and Quaddie
SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)
Race 11, No. 11 Gallant Triumph
Luckless when blocked at his last two outings. Worth another chance.
Race 9, No. 2 Sichuan Exec
Drawn well and should get an ideal run just behind the speed. Rate highly.
Race 8, No. 6 Travel Brand
Pace the obvious query but will hit the line hard. Each-way.
1,4,6,7 / 2,5 / 2,3,9 / 5,11. $50 for 104.16%.
Today’s Selections for Sha Tin from Third Dividend 13.4.14
SHA TIN (HKG)
Day Races @HKJC_Racing
Mixed-Turf (“C” Course/AWT)
Weather: Cloudy periods with fog in the morning and at night. Mainly fine during the day. The weather will be warm with a maximum temperature of around 28 degrees. Light winds.
Race 1: INNOVATIVE LEARNING FOR MEDICINE PLATE – GRIFFIN RACE 1000M
1 – Bullish Smart (1)
2 – Manipulation (6)
3 – Just Pleasant (5)
4 – Success And Gold (8)
Race 2: BRAIN HEALTH SERVICES HCP CL5 1400M
1 – Solar Dragon (3)
2 – La Cote De Blue (7)
3 – Record Again (5)
4 – Cool Pal (2)
Race 3: HEART SAFETY SCHOOL HCP CL4 1200M
1 – Hurry Hurry Up (8)
2 – Forever Ahead (4)
3 – World City (2)
4 – Maroon Prince (10)
Race 4: SPECIAL WHEELCHAIR BANK HCP CL4 1650M
1 – Verdane (3)
2 – Goldland Dancer (6)
3 – Joy Together (1)
4 – Oyster (8)
Race 5: COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE HCP CL5 1650M
1 – Infinite Courage (12)
2 – Prince Of Sunchine (10)
3 – Money Win Wins (11)
4 – Surrounded (2)
Race 6: THE HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB COMMUNITY TROPHY HCP CL4 1400M
1 – Island Garden (4)
2 – Mr Gourmet (2)
3 – Vara Pearl (8)
4 – Winning Dream (3)
Race 7: GERIATRIC HEALTHCARE HCP CL4 1200M
1 – Stag Knight (8)
2 – Naughty Baby (4)
3 – Master Sommelier (2)
4 – Lucky Scepter (3)
Race 8 (Q1): MEDICAL TRAINING HCP CL2 2200M
1 – Khaya (7)
2 – Wayfoong Express (8)
3 – Approve (2)
4 – Sunny King (4)
Race 9 (Q2): PRIMARY HEALTHCARE HCP CL3 1600M
1 – Boy Oh Boy (5)
2 – Why Not (7)
3 – Sichuan Exec (2)
4 – Starting Over (10)
Race 10 (Q3): HEALTH PROTECTION HCP CL3 1200M
1 – Numero Uno (3)
2 – Full Talent (9)
3 – Sparkling B (2)
4 – Lucky Day (10)
Race 11 (Q4): ARTHRITIS CARE HCP CL3 1400M
1 – Gallant Triumph (11)
2 – Geronimo Meadow (9)
3 – Sichuan Vigor (5)
4 – Wah May Star (2)
Race 11: Gallant Triumph (11)
Race 10: Numero Uno (3)
Race 2: Solar Dragon (3) – Currently, $4.50/$2.10
Race 4: Oyster (8) – Currently, $10.00/$2.40
Quaddie ($100 get you 156%)