NO PUN INTENDED, BUT DO WE HAVE A SHORTAGE OF JOCKEYS?
Not that long ago, no one turned their back on riding or training in Hong Kong, or pulled up stumps and left- especially, when going well- but in recent months that’s what jockeys Tye Angland and Hugh Bowman have done.
Yes, Tommy Berry can be added to that list, but his reasons for not staying in Hong Kong for the next season as planned has had to do with family and home and picking up the pieces of personal heartbreak after a year that would have brought the strongest among us to our knees.
But Tye Angland and Hughie Bowman leaving when they could have practically been given the keys to the city is an interesting one.
At Rosehill on Saturday, Angland rode four winners- winners for the all-conquering Chris Waller stable plus that of Jason Coyle.
The young jockey who was riding just as well as Zac Purton- and Purton has ridden phenomenally well for the past two seasons- decided that he needed to return home where he would have the opportunity to ride in the big black-type races whereas in Hong Kong, his chances of getting on board the best the city has looked a forlorn hope as most were already taken, lock, stock and two smoking barrels.
To those who thought Angland was making the wrong career move have been proven to be very wrong.
The jockey has hit the ground running so hard that in three short months, he has accomplished more than it takes very many riders to achieve in a lifetime.
With Tommy Berry, Hughie Bowman and Nash Rawiller riding outside of Oz, Angland has taken the bull by the horns and become Top Dawg while the Top Cats are away.
A former rodeo rider, and a simple, country boy- and said a fellow jockey- “not very smart”, perhaps on a worldly level, Angland has proven to be extremely savvy when it comes to taking his god-given talents and having the single-minded focus to succeed- succeed in horse racing in a way that has rarely been seen before- anywhere- for a long time.
Hong Kong racing losing Tye Angland to New South Wales has become the subject of much talk while Hugh Bowman, who came out to ride in Hong Kong for three months, and would have been happy to ride 3-4 winners during this stint, left on Saturday night after riding another double which took his tally to eleven winners.
Bowman was extremely open speaking to Alan Aitken in the Sunday Morning Post about his time in Hong Kong- complimentary about the way racing is administered in the city, but, there were also a few comments and some “unsaids” that made interesting reading- especially that he was under no illusions about “the ebbs and flows” of riding in Hong Kong and there been no guarantees.
Hughie Bowman is a laid-back character. He’s like Clint Eastwood in those Sergio Leone movies- quiet, wary, husband to Christine, a new father to Bambi, close to his parents, and seems focused on ensuring a solid base to his personal life while continuing work as the best jockey in Oz.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, there is the usual “jockey shortage” that now seems to happen with increasing regularity, especially towards the end of the season, but, this time, it seems, feels and looks different.
Next season, Joao Moreira has decided to adopt a wait-and-see attitude about his future in Hong Kong by asking for- and receiving- only a six-month license.
The brilliant Brazilian jockey arrived in Hong Kong last October after being hailed the Magic Man of Singapore racing and won over Hong Kong’s hardened and cynical racing fans in double-quick time by riding doubles, trebles and four-timers.
Everybody Loves Raymond and Everybody Loved Joao.
He had it all- talent, charisma, that relentless passion to win and a viral media blitz never ever seen before for all the great Hong Kong racing success stories- not Tony Cruz, not Basil Marcus, not Dougie Whyte, not Zac Purton.
Joao Moreira was The People’s Choice and a marquee value name for the HKJC which glittered at Meydan and every local meeting. Even when he lost, he won. He was forgiven.
A few months ago, one of Hong Kong’s better-known owners was explaining the Moreira Factor to me: “My trainers have told me, he can improve any horse he rides more than any other jockey plus Hong Kong racing needs a hero and he is it.”
What about Zac Purton, I asked- and Douglas Whyte?
“Whyte is popular again because of what he has achieved. I don’t like Purton’s face. He looks arrogant.”
After Saturday’s races, my owner friend was not a happy camper. His face said it all. Playing catch-up by following Moreira in each and every race had him talking through his pockets. The magic had dissipated and there was a need for a new hero.
Yes, those “ebbs and flows” of Hong Kong racing Hughie Bowman had referred to is being seen again.
Apart from prize money to encourage better purchases, Hong Kong racing has a basic problem: The jockey ranks- or, to be more precise, who’s going to make up these ranks with the quality it needs- and how much riding “quality” IS there in the world today, anyway?
Only the most simple of simpletons will think that Zac Purton and Douglas Whyte are not weighing out options.
The success back home of Tye Angland must surely be playing in the back of Purton’s mind whereas Douglas Whyte has done it all as a jockey.
What’s next and where to next for him?
Who else is there in Hong Kong right now? There are some good, solid riders, but there is no one with pizazz. And if dyslexic, no one with pizza.
There is no chance in the world of attracting Ryan Moore, or Christophe Soumillon. Or even a William Buick- surely not as good as some in the UK racing media prattle on about- and now, there is no Tommy Berry, Hughie Bowman or Tye Angland.
Mosse is Mosse and will be back as usual to ride “zee goats” and was a great jockey- past tense- while Brett Prebble had an unremarkable 2013-14 and could be looking at “diversifying his business portfolio” with riding not being the sport that once made him a driven man.
Winning’s great- but it’s not everything. Not these days, anyway, when more and more jockeys, having learnt the hard way about the brittleness of their jobs, like musicians, are looking at other business opportunities.
Getting back to jockeys, Matthew Chadwick is Hong Kong’s best home-grown talent, but he’s no Tony Cruz, he’s no future champion, and how much further he can go by leading on horses, thanks to an appalling track bias, is a moot point.
Meanwhile, Karis Teetan has been a revelation and a real success story while Neil Callan is a tough jockey who does the best he can with what he has as do Andy Suborics and Olivier Doleuze- and then, well, then, there’s a steep drop in riding talent.
Next season, Hong Kong will see UK-based Italian jockey Andrea Azteni, below, and, possibly, Silvester De Sousa joining the jockey ranks along with Christian Reith who’s been granted a six-month license, and the return of Umberto Rispoli.
Time will tell how much support these new boys will receive and if it will be as rabid as the huge surge to get Moreira up and running in Hong Kong in double-quick time, which, looking back, was way over-the-top.
Will Jerry Green, as he did to ensure there was magic in the air, be despatched to bring good tidings and trainer support of “the Moreira kind” for these new riders- the same promotional push extended to Maxime Guyon, below, when he arrived in Hong Kong in a blaze of wunderkind hype only to self-implode less than two years later? Merde.
The big questions many are asking is who will John Moore be turning to now that Tommy Berry won’t, as planned, be in Hong Kong for the new season?
Yes, Moore can throw a bone here and there to Prebble, Whyte, Derek Leung, Neil Callan and, perhaps, Christian Reith, but, as history has proven, the trainer always relies on the “Made In Sydney” brand.
Will this mean flying in Tommy Berry and/or Hughie Bowman for the big Group 1 races and what does this say about Hong Kong’s riding ranks?
Also, does this mean other trainers being allowed to do the same- fly in whoever they choose for the big races and create more crowding in the sky than we see around the Mercedes Bends around the tight Happy Valley track?
What about John Size- and will he continue to rely on Joao Moreira?
With his six month riding license to think about, would Size’s owners be wanting something more permanent-like the partnership the trainer had with Douglas Whyte?
It all promises to be a very intriguing and testing first part to the new season and a challenging one for the HKJC- but, let’s also open eyes and minds and think who the five best jockeys in the world are today.
Take away Ryan Moore and Hugh Bowman and who’s there?
There’s work-in-progress, but, honest-to-goodness great riding talent who owners and trainers would entrust to ride some of those truly brilliant gallopers seen at Ascot this year- the new benchmark for equine talent.
The world is changing, industries are changing, cultures are changing, consumer tastes are changing, and, today, young jockeys like Tye Angland, Adam Hyeronimus, Bowman, Rawiller, even Tommy Berry, and those coming through the ranks like Luke Dittman, below, are physically taller, and, more to the point, they have other career options rather than wasting and putting in the hard yards like the generation before them and risking life and limb in the most dangerous sport in the world for- if not a marquee value name- chump change.
In Australia, racing is part of the country’s culture where young girls grow up around horses, ride at a young age and seeing so many talented female hoops around today-more than ever before- Katelyn Mallyon, Kyla Nisbet, Jamie Kah, Tegan Harrison, the Schmidt sisters etc- and many more to come- is a sign of the times and where racing Down Under might be heading: Towards Girl Power.
Where are the female jockeys in the UK, Europe, Japan, Singapore, Korea and the US?
There are practically none, or none at all and, again, shows how horse racing might be similar in one way, but also very different from country to country.
As for talk about a female jockey from Oz riding in Hong Kong, forget it. It will never happen.
Hell, let’s try and find at least two male local jockeys who can actually ride instead of them just making up the numbers and, through inexperience and, possibly, not having the talent, getting in the way as their fine motor skills are just not there.
So, while the HKJC’s Licensing Committee and Executive Director of Racing have their work cut out for them as bigger prize money to attract a better quality of equine talent means having the best riders to pilot these expensive purchases and add star power to all the big sponsored races, there is a much bigger question nagging at the future of the GLOBAL racing industry: A real shortage of quality jockeys.
Years ago, Craig Williams was savvy enough to grasp with both hands the opportunities that exist in being a freelance globe-trotting jockey.
It’s a business strategy where the best riders in the world- with the right manager like a Simon Fuller who manages Becks, Lewis Hamilton and Andy Murray, and not just a bloke who gets rides- are now in a position through their partnerships with trainers and, especially, the rich, powerful owners around the world to stop the tail wagging the dog and become game changers in a very big way.
All it requires is being able to think outside of the box, make the right connections, and ask themselves, If Craig Williams can do what he’s doing, why can’t I?
I’m willing to bet that Joao Moreira has asked himself that question- and answered it.
FROM THE RACING TWITTERVERSE
THE FAST TRACKER PLANS TO OCCUPY SHATIN
Just when you think he’s run outta bullets, Caspar Fownes reloads that stable gun and spits out something like Mobile King, which led all the way in race one on Saturday.
Though currently the leading trainer with Fownes, I wouldn’t say this has exactly been a stellar year for John Size, which sounds like a dumb thing to say when he’s most likely to be crowned champion trainer, but, compared to a few years ago when nearly every first starter from the stable was a winner, this season, the new flip flops have been way too many.
Whereas Caspar Fownes has patched up horses, played a smart waiting game when picking and choosing their races, shuffling his jockey roster, taking a horses for courses approach and playing the handicapping game to ensure doing the best he can with what he’s got, the Size-Moreira partnership has blown hot and cold- and consistent in its inconsistency.
Win or lose, Caspar Fownes is the winning trainer this season in these books and I hope he wins it for himself, and, especially, his dad- Lawrie Fownes.
Elsewhere, Tye Angland is in Hong Kong riding today and next Sunday along with Dougie Whyte after a three-day suspension, and who, I think, will, ironically, win the trainers premiership for Size.
As for today’s races, let’s hope that they don’t suffer from the recent farcical track biases that have made all semblance of form go out the window.
There is a very healthy Six Up Jackpot up for grabs and which MANY bet prior to the running of the first race.
The last thing anyone wants is to make their bets- especially today when I might be Occupying Central as it seems the thing to do- and then finding out that it’s eleven more greyhound races.
Last Saturday if not on the inside and on the speed- like Heartwood, Global Fame, Mobile King and too many others to mention that bring back bad memories- there was no chance to win.
It was like the meeting before when Matty Chadwick led and won- four times- and which is just not good enough nor fair on form students who don’t study boat races and processions.
Earth to John Ridley, Earth to John Ridley, Is there anybody out there?
Meanwhile, when at Shatin today, as the official press release screams out, you can have an “INSTANT photo with the Reunification Cheering Squad”.
Who on earth at the HKJC comes up with this crap- and who APPROVES this childish, irrelevant, inappropriate goofiness???
R1 GREAT SPEED (3) JUST ACE (5) JOYEUX(13) FRESH AND FRESH(1)
The last run of Great Speed as one of the shortest favorites of the season- and in a six-horse field- was just too bad to be true, despite Dougie Whyte losing his irons when the gates opened. Great Speed showed NO speed. But not knowing much about the first-starters except for Joyeux that is a very nice type, I’m just looking at this race as I do watching E!: Mindless fluff so I can go astral traveling.
R2 COLUMBUS LINE(1) COSMO ONE(6) POSITIVE ENERGY(9)HAPPY GOAL (10)
It’s really the only horse I think has any upside in a Class 5 races made up of no-hopers. Owners who waste money buying this rubbish- and then paying for their upkeep- and hoping for even one win is something I just do not comprehend.
R3 HIT A HOME RUN (5) ISLAND SPRING (1) SUPER CAGA (6)
It took a brilliant ride by Douglas Whyte to get Hit A Home Run to win and all credit to the David Hall-trained runner for showing a fighting spirit. Zac Purton takes over from the suspended Whyte and though it looks better than the other runners it faces, it’s a race that’s more of a watching brief for me.
R4 SEA RUBY (7) LOVELY DELOVELY (5) MELLIFLUENT(4)SIR JOHN (14)
The John Moore first-starter Sea Ruby has been working very well and will probably start second favorite. If at 4s or over, I’d weigh into it on a win line and have a straight quinella with Lovely Delovely.
R5 VARA PEARL (13) MY GOAL (2) PLAIN BLUE BANNER (14) CIRCUIT KINGDOM (1)
Vara Pearl was a shocking disappointment when sent out a 2 to 1 favorite at its last start, finished sixth and was beaten almost four lengths by- jeez- the very average Born To Win- after what racing writers describe as a “torrid run” where Moreira looked like the Cisco Kid caught up in Custer’s Last Stand. It was awful to watch.
Moreira sticks with it, and though drawn barrier 13 over this 1400m race, yes, I shall go to the same well again and make it the banker in this first leg of the Triple Trio.
In fact, I’ll be taking one Triple Trio using Moreira’s rides as bankers in all three legs- just as most of Hong Kong will be doing.
R6 CONFUCIUS ELITE (10) GRAND PLUS (8) EL GRANDE (11) AMBITIOUS GLORY (2)
I really this is the boxed quinella- perhaps even the tierce.
R7 FASTER MORE(8) ONGOING VOLATILITY (4) GOOD FIT(13) ISLAND GARDEN (6)
Another winner for Moreira and with something that’s shown zero form coming in, placing at huge odds and wiping out triple trio bets.
R8 SMART VOLATILITY (2) IMPERIAL CHAMPION (8) LORD SINCLAIR(1) SMART MAN (10)
Access Years might start favorite, especially if Moreira has banged in a few goooooooaaaals by the time of this race.
Still, despite being the form horse, going up in the weights and with a wide barrier to contend with, I’ll be taking it on and giving Smart Volatility with Tye Angland a BIG chance and, perhaps, Imperial Champion and Lord Sinclair,some chances- but without much confidence.
R9 SUPREME FLIGHT (5) DIVINE DIYA (4) GALLANT TRIUMPH (1)
R10 AMBITIOUS CHAMPION (7)ADMIRAL LORD(11) MALAYAN PEARL (13) LUCKY OMENS (9)
A tough race to figure out, especially without knowing the odds and refusing to believe those “overnight odds” which are so easy to manipulate.
R11 TONYBOY(3) GOLDEN DEER (2) DYNAMIC VOYAGE(13) WINFULL PATROL (8)
There’s something ironic about Tony Cruz’s brother Derek Cruz training a horse named Tonyboy, but call it what you will, it’s getting close to a win and will definitely figure in the placings.
Finding the winner is tough as there are a number of chances- the favorite probably being Golden Deer.
Though drawn barrier eleven, Zac Purton can have them positioned anywhere he wants and this could be another winner for the trainer he’s helped most in recent months other than Caspar Fownes- Benno Yung.
Local celebrity and one-dimensional actor Aaron Kwok, pictured below, will have the snapparazzi busy as his Calling With Love is entered and has a chance with the value horse being Dynamic Voyage.
As this is the second Quartet bet for the day, I’ll take 3 and 13 as multiple bankers with 1,2,4,6,8,12 as shapely Heidi Klum legs.
BEST BET RACE 4 SEA RUBY (7)
NEXT BEST RACE 4 QUINELLA LOVELY DELOVELY (5) and SEA RUBY(7)
LONGSHOT RACE 11 DYNAMIC VOYAGE (13)
SPOOKY SPORTING FACTS
SARIKA’S OCCUPY CENTRAL SIX UP
SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)
Race 10, No. 11 Admiral Lord
Racing consistently and last two runs have been sound. Rate highly.
Race 11, No. 2 Golden Deer
Notched a determined win last outing. Can make it three in a row.
Race 8, No. 9 Our Folks
Hasn’t disgraced himself against the likes of Aerovelocity and Tour De Force. Could be thereabouts.
1,2,3,8,9,10 / 1,4 / 4,5,11 / 1,2,6. $50 for 46.29%.
Selections for Sha Tin from Third Dividend 1.7.14
SHA TIN (HKG)
Day Races @HKJC_Racing
Mixed-Turf (“B+3” Course/AWT)
Weather: Mainly cloudy with a few showers. Isolated thunderstorms at first. Hot during the day with a maximum temperature of around 32 degrees. Moderate south to southeasterly winds.
For a FULL set of Tips/Selections for Australia, Hong Kong & Singapore, see: http://www.ThirdDividend.com
Race 1: ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS PLATE, 01/07/2014, 12:30, Griffin Race, Turf, “A+3” Course, 1200m, Good
1 – Joyeux (13)
2 – So Cafee (8)
3 – Great Speed (3)
4 – Raging Bull (14)
Race 2: HONG KONG PEOPLE ADMINISTERING HONG KONG HANDICAP, 01/07/2014, 13:00, Class 5, Turf, “A+3” Course, 1200m, Good
1 – Columbus Line (1)
2 – Cosmo One (6)
3 – Happy Goal (10)
4 – Flying Keeper (8)
Race 3: HIGH AUTONOMY HANDICAP, 01/07/2014, 13:30, Class 5, Turf, “A+3” Course, 1400m,
1 – Hit A Home Run (5)
2 – Island Spring (1)
3 – No Ties (2)
4 – Winning Advantage (10)
Race 4: THE CMA 80TH ANNIVERSARY CUP (HANDICAP), 01/07/2014, 14:00, Class 4, Turf, “A+3” Course, 1000m, Good
1 – Lovely Delovely (5)
2 – Mellifluent (4)
3 – Sea Ruby (7)
4 – Victory General (11)
Race 5: WINNING PARTNERSHIP HANDICAP, 01/07/2014, 14:30, Class 4, Turf, “A+3” Course, 1400m, Good
1 – Circuit Fortune (1)
2 – All Times Lucky (11)
3 – Vara Pearl (10)
4 – My Goal (2)
Race 6: SPORTING EXCHANGE HANDICAP, 01/07/2014, 15:00, Class 4, All Weather Track, 1200m, Wet Slow
1 – Grand Plus (8)
2 – Hurry Hurry Up (4)
3 – Confucious Elite (10)
4 – Silver Dragon (7)
Race 7: RACING GOES ON HANDICAP, 01/07/2014, 15:30, Class 4, Turf, “A+3” Course, 1600m, Good
1 – Faster More (8)
2 – Island Garden (6)
3 – Ongoing Volatility (4)
4 – Demolkes (2)
Race 8 (Q1): THE HONG KONG REUNIFICATION CUP (HANDICAP), 01/07/2014, 16:05, Class 2, All Weather Track, 1200m, Wet Slow
1 – Imperial Champion (8)
2 – Access Years (3)
3 – Lord Sinclair (1)
4 – Smart Volatility (2)
Race 9 (Q2): THE GUANGDONG-HONG KONG CUP (HANDICAP), 01/07/2014, 16:40, Class 3, Turf,
“A+3” Course, 1400m, Good
1 – Gallant Triumph (1)
2 – Starting Over (3)
3 – Divine Diva (4)
4 – Supreme Flight (6)
Race 10 (Q3): A FORCE FOR GOOD HANDICAP, 01/07/2014, 17:15, Class 3, Turf, “A+3” Course, 1800m, Good
1 – Admiral Lord (11)
2 – Holmes Legend (4)
3 – Malayan Pearl (13)
4 – Harbour Master (1)
Race 11 (Q4): SERVING THE COMMUNITY HANDICAP, 01/07/2014, 17:50, Class 3, Turf, “A+3” Course, 1200m, Good
1 – Golden Deer (2)
2 – Tonyboy (3)
3 – Calling With Love (4)
4 – Master Sommelier (6)
Race 6: Grand Plus (8)
Race 10: Admiral Lord (11)
Race 11: Golden Deer (2) – Currently, $7.00/$3.00
Race 5: Friends Of Yan Oi (13) – Currently, $24.00/$5.00
QUADDIE ($100 gets you 39%)