THE INSIDE TRACK
CASPAR FOWNES: PROUD OF NEW BALLS.
We were somewhat taken aback to hear recently from a rather excited Alix Fownes, wife of The Casibah, telling us how happy she was with her husband’s “new balls”.
We took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, and thought to ourselves, “Caspar has new balls?” Could be as the dancing had slowed down a bit, and that spring in his step had been strung though that rapier wit remains very much intact.
When pressed to talk about her hubby’s “new balls”, these were, in fact, two soccer balls autographed by David Beckham as gifts for sons Ryan and Ronan Fownes plus autographed copies of his biography.
His minders might have erred with a somewhat flippant last minute cancellation to a recent race meeting in Shatin by Becks, but the contemporary Adonis showed he’s a class act.
Here’s hoping he’ll be back and that with Diagio, the manufacturer behind the Beckham endorsed Singlen Malt Scotch Whiskey- Haig Club- enter the sponsorship of horse racing- an area in dire need of a face lift from more lifestyle brands with strong customer bases appealing to aspirational-driven thirtysomethings.
The marketing and promotion of Haig Club, which has been impeccably timed to take advance of the resurgence of whiskies among a younger and affluent market, has been nothing short of sensational.
THOMAS NGAI: FLIES ALL THE WAY FROM THE UK TO SING ONE SONG TONIGHT AT ADRENALINE???
We’ve heard a few demos from Hong Kong-born singer-songwriter Thomas Ngai. And so, we emailed the twentysomething year old and invited him to come over to Adrenaline at Happy Valley Racecourse and sing one of his originals. He called to say, he would- and would be in Hong Kong on Tuesday night. Huh?
Thomas is at University in the UK, but was adamant of making this gig. With ‘live’ music being performed at the Beer Garden between 6.30-7pm tonight by Ben Semmens, drummer Anna Fang, guitarist Jay and the rest of maRK to get things going, Thomas The Thank Engine will also perform his song at this venue. With tonight being the start of the Happy Wednesday Japanese promotion, it stands to reason that Thomas’ girlfriend will be present cheering him on.
IT’S A BIRD! IT’S A PLANE! IT’S EB!
As CEO of the HKJC, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges moves in a fast-paced world. This world moves faster with his fondness to put the pedal to the metal and zoom through the streets of Hong Kong. Traveling with “EB” can be a hair-raising experience. Known as “the cool dude” by singer-songwriter Ben Semmens- the two fist-pump each other whenever they meet- the CEO’s Cool Factor has just gone up considerably. His purchase of the brand new BMW i8- in Batmobile black- has given him what looks like an UFO.
So, when you look towards the sky at night, remember that’s no UFO nor E.T. It’s just EB going home. Fast.
THE BEAUTY OF HORSE POWER
THE FAST TRACKER GOES GUNNING FOR ANYTHING THAT MOVES
Though Neil Callan replacing Ben So who had been doing all the work on Mr Award catches the eye, this is an open race, and time better spent raiding the buffet table at Adrenaline. But over $400 for the same old cold cuts and sausages week after week seems very very steep. At least bring on a chicken curry and some Asian dishes- and stop the office party drinking games and screeching emcees.
Zac Purton, who enjoys his food, riding two pounds over to stick with Humongous is a good lead. And with golfing buddy Neil “Donkey” Callan on Enjoy The Game, being another good chance, this could easily be one of those frequent Purton-Callan quinellas or quinella place results that a few seasons ago happened regularly with Zac and Tye Angland whose Big Bang re-entry into Oz racing has somewhat slowed down recently.
Great Toplight and Good Friends Magic are drawn well and have excellent chances, but, as I have said many times, the first leg of every Six Up at Happy Valley this season has seen horses without names win. It hurts bad when after the first leg of the Six Up you don’t have a leg to stand on.
The HKJC Racing Club desperately need a good new horse and winner to keep their peckers up. With a good barrier draw, their Young Talent might give them a reason to open that bottle of champers that’s been on ice for around five years. For the sake of Kim Kardashian and her big air-brushed ass, gawd, make this happen.
Vincent Ho rides Young Talent this time with Brett Prebble who rode it at its last start going onto Happy Rocky for battling trainer Almond Lee. This could easily be the surprise package in the race with the jockey probably having done more work on the horse than trainer who enjoys a good sleep in.
Others to seriously consider are G-One Leader with the Zac Attack up and Derek Leung on Jolly Good Star, which the Zacman rode at its last start.
Victorious will start under the odds because of the Size-Factor, but the horse has won only once in eight starts and this was when drawn barrier 12 and coming off the pace over this course and distance.
This is a tough middle leg of the Triple Trio, and I would rather steer towards Victory Heart running for the successful Mosse-Man combination, below, and, despite a rise in class and wide barrier draw, Longwah Amber.
Two good outsiders: Spitfire which has far better form at Happy Valley than Shatin and David Hall’s Heroic Guru. Whenever Hall puts Ben So on one of his horses- and he’s on Heroic Guru- alarm bells go off. Don’t be surprised to see this one backed late.
Whenever Redwood Baby steps out, listening to tipsters, it seems to already be a Group 1 horse, or at least, a Group 1 horse in the making despite winning twice in its last eight runs.
With Moreira up again, this Class 3 horse will start favourite again and is sure to run well over this 1800 metre race, but there’s just something about its finish which almost makes me feel that it doesn’t have that will to win. It might, but watch out for Dalwari- a Group winner in France over this trip- and Eton Blitz, both of which look like very promising gallopers with a killer punch. I’d be boxing these three and using all my powers of concentration to get the quinella.
The Caspar Fownes-trained Gun Pit is the logical choice with the trainer’s Travel Brother capable of running the quinella and terminating the rest of the field.
An extremely tough ending to the night where nine of the twelve runners can win without surprising. Douglas Whyte rides Wah May Baby a pound over for Tony Cruz with word being that the owners are tipping a win for their galloper. I doubt it.
Almond Lee’s First Sight Love steps out again and, after his last ride on it, it will be interesting to watch if Moreira gives it some magic this time. Can it win even with some better hocus pocus?
Personally, I don’t think much of this galloper which is certain to start under the odds. It can run a place, but like any horse from the Sean Woods yard- remember what I said about giving his So Caffe a wide berth and who predicted the 30 to 1 quinella in the last on Saturday?- I can’t have an Almond Lee-trained horse on a win line. If any win, they do without my money.
SARIKA CHOY’S SIX UP