AN ODD ODE TO LAST SUNDAY
It was the Prelude to December 14
And the sun shone brightly last Sunday
All the big guns were there to do battle
It was a U2 Hum and Rattle
Alex Lai won the curtain raiser
On a horse that was barely known
Gold Talent took Race one out
And we were all left to wonder
Would it be one of those weird days
When horses without names won?
Would all those big guns fail to fire?
And happiness not be a war gun?
Line Seeker won for the Zac Attack
And went to the line in a canter
It really was a one horse race
There wasn’t even any need
for that usual Purton banter
Eroico then went and made amends
For its mighty last start flop
He might have liked that Shatin grass
And having the Magic Man back on top
Packing Pins just couldn’t be beat
Or so we all told ourselves
Moreira on Stradmore had other ideas
And Mirco Demuro got a swift kick up his rear
He had the last start winner
All the way back there and last
It never ever had a f***ing chance
Favourite backers were sent home packing
And the horse’s owner was aghast
Unbeatable Guts didn’t show much balls
It was a spent force early on
Contentment was on Size’s entrapped face
Triple Trio damage had been done
Brett Prebble kept banging them in
And Sempiternal did it once again
This time it won over 2000 metres
While Oxford Charley remained a bloody pain
There were LOUD hard luck stories everywhere
After the running of the Jockey Club Sprint
Dougie Whyte kept away from any traffic jams
To ensure Peniaphobia notched up another win
Tony Cruz did his own victory dance
While others whined and moaned
And what about that champion horse from Singapore?
Spalato went splat and never ever felt at home
John Moore showed he has an Able Friend
He won with a leg in the air
Dr Cornel Li has another Able one
And this one can go very far
But all the plans for any Designs On Rome
Went down in flames right then and there
Moore made squeaky noises about the ride
We doubt Joao Moreira even cared
The door was always left wide open
For Tommy Berry to be on its back
The Magic Man was just filling in
Doing the groundwork for the leading act
Blazing Speed came flying from the clouds
It launched its own Military Attack
Callan and Cruz combined to win the big race
While the group of owners continued their public spat
Christian Reith nearly had the next race won
When Multi-Victory hit the front
But the big tip was for High And Mighty
And Brett Prebble got the job done
Matty Chadwick showed why he’s in charge
By taking out that very key last race
He made Joao Moreira on Teofilo Calva
Lose one helluva lot of face
We now sit and talk and wonder
What December 14 holds for us
The Greatest Show On Turf rolls into town
And will leave the also-rans eating dust
Lord Tennyson Ebert
THE INSIDE TRACK
CLASSIC PHOTO: WHEN NORAH JONES MET HK RACING ROYALTY (AND SOME PAUPERS!)
One hopes the HKJC Corporate Comms people were listening in on Tuesday to Shane Anderson on RSN interview Robert Heathcliff, trainer of the great and brave Aussie sprinter Buffering, below, which will be competing in Hong Kong for the first time when it lines up in the HK International Sprint.
It was very interesting to hear the very knowledgable trainer talk about how he felt the mighty Buffering had now proven himself to compete the world’s best- remember, it was Buffering that burst the Lankan Rupee bubble this year- and mention how he had watched the replay of Sunday’s Jockey Club Sprint “over twenty five times”, mentioning, in particular, Lucky Nine, and the respect he has for the Hong Kong champion. Buffering and Lucky Nine clashed in Oz when the Hong Kong galloper seemed off that day, according to Heathcliff who arrives in Hong Kong next Wednesday and stays here for two weeks.
One hears that an avalanche of frustration and anger spilt over and erupted like Mount Vesuvius after the running of the Jockey Club Sprint when words were exchanged between jockeys Zac Purton and Mirco Demuro.
In a roughly run race, the Zac Attack on race favourite Aerovelocity probably had most of the backlash and, one hears, fired off a chain of well-chosen expletives in the direction of the Italian jockey whose comeback is said to have been the rather calm, “You’re not my brother to speak to me like that.” Wait: Was it “brother” or was it “mother”? A mother of a ride, however, was what the owner of raging favourite Packing Pins, ridden by Demuro, was screaming to everyone within earshot and to the Chinese racing media when his horse got rolled after being slowly away and still did a helluva job to just get beaten into second place.
Interesting to hear John Moore already chanting to the media that the loss of Designs On Rome was due to “Joao not being familiar with the horse.”
This mantra might click happily into place when former regular rider Tommy Berry takes over the reins on Designs On Rome which he has ridden to breathtakingly easy victories.
SEPARATED AT BIRTH
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
THE BEAUTY OF HORSE POWER
THE FAST TRACKER GOES AFTER EVERY BIG JACKPOT!
At least on paper, Caspar Fownes looks the trainer to follow tonight, and if paper is anything to go by, it should help ease a bit of the misfortune that befell Military Attack and, especially, Lucky Nine on Sunday. It was heartbreaking stuff despite some respite when his I’m In Charge won the last, thanks to a brilliant piece of competitive riding from Matthew Chadwick.
Having said this, what we have tonight is an extremely tough looking card made even tougher as, since the opening of the new, improved Happy Valley track, those days when one could follow “Valley specialists” with some confidence is not working anymore.
One can look at a bit of form and riding engagements, but what works best is to sit out and watch the first two races, see how the track is riding and make some personal deductions. With big Triple Trio, second Double Trio and Six Up jackpots available tonight, have a small throw at the stumps at these. But from a punting point of view, focus on the last three races by taking a treble and a 3×1 quinella place all up. And then pray like hell.
Ben Semmens and the band will be warming up between 6.30pm and 7pm and then performing at the Beer Garden after Races 1 and 2 and I would prefer to be hanging out with the boys and the lovely Sarika backstage of the Beer Garden, below, than worrying about these first two races.
With the Turning Japanese promotion continuing, I’ll be more keen on finding some sushi than wondering if Navel Orange and Horse Supremo can win the first double of the night.
While we wait for Tony Millard’s Divine Calling to call on us and its owners from the Motherland again with Zac Purton onboard this weekend, the trainer-jockey combination looks the one to beat with Horse Supremo and the fly in the ointment being that Brazilian stinger Joao Moreira on Rugby Diamond. What’s a rugby diamond?
If Power Cool had drawn a better barrier, it would have been the on top selection after its last start third, but barrier 10 over 1200 metres on the C Course is off-putting. Though it can place, the one on a win line for me is the perfectly drawn Jolly Posh with the in-form Matthew Chadwick aboard. And who doesn’t like Old Spice Posh?
With every opening leg of a Happy Valley Six Up resulting in an upset of Sodom and Gommorah proportions, don’t ignore Danewin Winning. With trainer Gary “Shuffles” Ng seemingly only able to win with sprinters much like his favourite jockey who’s booked for this ride- Eddie Lai- this could easily bounce to the front and keep going like Usain Bolt on monkey glands.
An extremely tough opening leg to the Triple Trio made tougher with some very average types competing against each other where the luckiest and best of a weak lot will win. Karis Teetan has been having a horror run of outs and surely must ride a winner soon. I’ll take a chance with him on Electronic Gospel which came a good second over course and distance at its last start and hope the young Mauritian is keeping his pecker up. Karis, remember this…
Finding legs- especially good legs- is a minefield though Neil Callan choosing Telecom Supremo over last start winner Enjoy The Game- or maybe he couldn’t make the weight- could be a good lead along with Dougie Whyte finally ditching Mister Marc and riding the Richard Gibson-trained Sure Champ.
Expectator didn’t let the team down that badly at its last start and with Callan staying loyal to it, it should have a big chance along with Always Something, which ran a very good third at its last start for Olivier Delouze and this time has Whyte taking over from the recuperating Frenchman and all-round good guy.
Calling With Love will be all the rage, more because of its owner- popular one-dimensional actor Aaron Kwok- than the ability factor. Sure, it can win like it was supposed to at its last start, but this horse is not for me. Neither are Aaron Kwok’s movies.
I would rather go for some Clever Beaver and the very dangerous Bespoke Collars. What are “bespoke collars”?
Caspar Fownes has two runners here and both have great chances- My Name Is Bond and Domineer- with me preferring the latter by a whisker.
Beauty King is drawn barrier 12, but with two consecutive wins on the board and Matthew Chadwick riding in such great form, it should go very close in this 1650 meter event.
Take this Beauty away along with likely favourites Circuit Star and Invictus, and things open up with chances given to a number of other last start winners-though those wins might have been their last until they drop in the ratings. Quite a scary ending to the night.
SARIKA CHOY’S SIX UP