(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
From racing’s Twitterverse
CROSS-OVER BETTING AND CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC
It doesn’t take an Einstein to see that with all the various platforms available today, attending the races- unless a truly CAN’T MISS race meeting or if an owner with a horse running or making that decision to make a day of it with friends or as part of socializing with business partners- many would rather watch the races on television and in the comfort of their homes.
Attend Ascot? Hell, what better than to wear only a top hat and tails- nothing else- and watch all the pomp and ceremony while tuning in to a stimulating simultaneous broadcast hosted by JoJo “Beeeautiful” McKinnon and guest Wally “Soff-tah” Pyrah and his Tales From The Crypt and able to switch to one of the World Cup matches?
And if not watching the races on television, then one can watch it all like Chauncey Gardner via the streaming of races on iPhones and computers, at off-course betting centers or simply listening in to any racing radio medium.
Hong Kong is very fortunate as, in a small city and if living on the island, attending a race meeting- especially, a night meeting- “all the way out in Shatin”- is only a 30-minute drive away- but considered “inconvenient” by many.
Yes, many in Hong Kong have been spoilt, and even being told an important dinner is in Kowloon is reason enough to cancel making the trek over.
One of the very few times gentlemen we know gladly zoomed over to Kowloon side- Tsimshatsui, to be exact- were when deluxe escort clubs China City and BBoss existed and where dance troupes- a new one every six months- comprising gorgeous Group 1 girls from Lithuania kicked up their heels and kicked on at sadly missed nightspots as JJ’s at the Grand Hyatt where many in the racing world would congregate.
As for racing in Hong Kong, whilst turnover is on an upward spiral and attendance figures remain stable, there is a need “to do the maths” and look at growing that customer pie.
Like a marriage, too much stability could lead to lack of growth and eventual stagnation.
At least in Hong Kong, this is where cross-betting comes into play- or, to be more precise, the importance of those who enjoy heading to Happy Valley after a Sunday brunch at The Brasserie and having a bet with the Kinks singing Lazy Afternoon in the background as, apart from taking in a movie, or going shopping, there’s bugger all to do.
Tonight at Millions at Happy Valley- the $90 entrance fee keeps the “racing uncles in the public stands or on floors with no facilities making their bets and watching the Shatin races from afar- there is the second Happy Wednesday Cross Betting Party- and we can’t wait.
And to those who pretend they’ve been to the Beer Garden on a Happy Wednesday and are trying desperately to be perceived as experts on Hong Kong racing to their Aussie mates, stick a sock in it and start to become relevant by experiencing what the HKJC delivers by actually Being There.
Will these parties at Millions for those who prefer the cross betting experience at Happy Valley to making that Long March to Shatin become something permanent next season?
It will only help make that pie grow and should be part of any strategy to win over new members, new horse owners and that new generation of racing fan who is yet to “graduate” to the Shatin School of Hard Knocks.
THE FAST TRACKER AVOIDS CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC
Some say that Andreas Schutz will have his trainer’s license renewed for single-handedly ruining every Triple Trip bet on Sunday- including mine- when his Cheryl’s Horse- beaten over 29 lengths at its last start- plopped in at over 60 to 1 to come third and guaranteeing a jaw-dropping jackpot of $94 MILLION for this weekend.
With this type of money to be won, tonight’s races hardly attack my loins with any great vigor, but with small jackpots available in the first Double Trio- around a million- and the TT- over $5m- SOME effort must be made to snare them.
I’ll be cross-betting and, perhaps even, cross-dressing, from Millions, a brilliant venue at Happy Valley racecourse- HUGE balcony area, ‘live’ music, some absolute glamours sashaying around, a great buffet and darn convenient to place a bet and watch a race.
As for the racing, many eyes will be on the battle for the trainers premiership between Mssrs Size, Fownes and Cruz, the outsider in the field, but, seriously now, how would any of them winning this mean squat to you or I?
It’s why all the blah blahs about this title race or who wins the jockeys premiership leave me cold. None of it benefits me. I’d rather back things ridden and trained by anyone that brings home the bacon- and the entire squealing pig.
Looking at what I’d like to hopefully line my pockets with are a number of runners from the John Size yard- but which will all start favourites- so looking for outsiders with chances becomes important. And with Christian Reith placing on so many long-priced horses on Sunday- like Cheryl’s Horse- I’ll have to bung his rides into everything.
R1 LEELI’S STAR/CHINA GOOD/JUST GOOD/SPLENDID GUY
“Darth” Ferraris has been stuck on having trained 299 winners for months, which means he must be gloomier than usual until he cracks that 300 barrier- and a smile that will shatter cameras- and probably why he has TWO horses- almost his entire stable- entered here- Captain America with Brett Prebble up- and China Good, a somewhat surprising addition to the stable and- huh?- “Darth” legging up Alex Lai???
Could we see “Darth’s” winner 300? China Good should go close, but these are ordinary conveyances and anything can win though I like the chances of Leeli’s Star for that sprint team of Gary Ng and Eddie Lai.
R2 SHINING CHAMPION/REGENCY HO HO/RIBOT LEGACY/GLORIOUS AVENUE
Regency Ho Ho is the one to beat, BUT, Karis Teetan scored a VERY popular win recently for the John Size Racing Syndicate aboard The Comeback Kid, and can win again for the trainer on Shining Champion, which came third on its debut.
R3 TEOFILA CALVA/NORDIC ONE/SEASONS STAR/SUPREME FLIGHT
Moreira and Size combine again on last-start winner- Teofila Calva- which should be too good, but as I have always said, Dougie Whyte knows exactly when to jump aboard Nordic One.
R4 IMPERIAL CONCORDE/JOY TOGETHER/OWNERS GLORY/MIGHTY K
The first leg of the Triple Trio and class drops, apprentice claims, fit horses, fresh horses, the dodgy weather, barrier draws, the full moon etc make this a tough race to figure out though I see either Imperial Concorde with a rejuvenated Brett Prebble, below, aboard or Mighty K and Neil Callan, back after a lengthy suspension, being good bankers.
R5 FAIR WIND/GRAND PLUS/CONFUCIUS ELITE
Though loathed to bet on any Sean Woods-trained horse- they just don’t win when I back them- I’m hoping Karis Teetan can weave some Mauritian Magic and get Confucius Elite home without any confusion.
R6 PRINCE OF SUNSHINE/CULTURAL CITY/BEAUTY KING/ CRIMSON HEART
Prince Of Sunshine has been working very well in the mornings and though a very average galloper with Eddie Lai up, it could come home at odds. Alex Lai, Vincent Ho, and Eddie Lai, might not be the world’s greatest jockeys, but when the money’s on and the horse has been set for a race- like my Longshot for the night last Wednesday- Cheers Victories did by winning at 14s with Alex Lai up- these local boys can deliver.
R7 AMBITIOUS KING/MASTER KOCHANWONG/GERONIMO MEADOW/MULTIVICTORY
I have no idea though Ambitious King with Karis Teetan up is, to me, the best horse in the race and seems to have been kept in the freezer by trainer Tony Millard for an end of the season tilt.
There’s some hype going on about Master Kochangwong being Douglas Whyte’s 10,000th ride, though when chatting to the Champ, he seemed to be in the dark about it and not exactly top of mind awareness.
R8 AXIOM/PERFECT CHEERS/CARTOON FAY FAY/ALPINEFIELD
Good gawd, no, my hoodoo horse- Autumn Gold- has been entered by Sean Woods for this all-weather race over 1800m and will have the services of Hugh Bowman.
The poor thing has been running and running, it’s never ever shown any glimpse of being a Group 1 winner which was why it was purchased with the HK Derby in mind, it’s been gelded, it’s had a merry-go-round of jockeys and the now-nutless fella seems to have lost all zest for racing.
The Huge Bowman might be able to extract something extra outta it, but, I’m not holding my breath, and, in a tough ending to the night, I prefer Axion, Cartoon and Perfect Cheers- a horse that has been very profitable for me over the years- though at Happy Valley.
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SARIKA’S CROSS-BETTING SIX UP
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