(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
WHAT WAS SAID HERE ON SUNDAY
“As for today’s card, there’s an ordinary look and vibe to it with Joao Moreira having what could be termed a lacklustre book of rides- on the surface. But $1.85 for him to win the Jockey Challenge? Oh, puhleeeese! What’s even remotely interesting is whether he can ride winners for the only two trainers his magic wand has yet to yield any rabbits- Sean Woods and Almond Lee. He rides Happy Journey (Race 7 for Woods, and Octal Luck (Race 3) for Lee, and it will take some mighty divine intervention for either of these rides to salute.”
What happened? The Magic Man rode one winner- it wasn’t for Sean Woods or Almond Lee- and the Jockey Challenge went to Keith Yeung. Followers of Moreira got burnt. Again.
“For example, ten-pound claimers Jack Wong and female apprentice Kei Chiong have solid chances in Race 5 aboard Best Hope and Unique Joyful, respectively, and an apprentices quinella in this race would not be a shock to the system.”
What happened? The quinella tipped above waltzed in at 12 to 1. It almost looked synchronised swimming- on turf.
With three race meetings run and won, Hong Kong racing has a temporary new Magic Man and leading trainer in that good guy with humongous feet named Andreas Schutz.
Sgt Schutz, who has just 28 runners in his stable and only one rated over 68, has managed to already lead in four winners, all of which must mean the likeable German trainer putting away his worry beads for a while as he storms towards reaching his necessary benchmark of fifteen winners for the season to ensure his license for next year is out of harm’s way. In all seriousness, what Schutz has been able to get out of his Class 4 galloper Trillion Treasure deserves special mention- five wins and five seconds and another win to add to his tally on Sunday.
It was a strange meeting on Sunday for reasons I just can’t put my finger on. In fact, the season to date has been a tad weird with surreal outbursts from Sean Woods who was quoted as saying one of his horses had won “the worst race in Hong Kong- ever” adding a Pythonesque twist to it all.
How the trainer explained to the owners of Full Speed Ahead that their horse had won “the worst race- ever” would have been the REAL story to report here, Sherlock. Will this quote rear its ugly head and bite the Woodsman on his arse? Bet on it. Battling trainers with little to no horsepower mouthing off in print?
Caspar Fownes, meanwhile, must have also been suffering from heat stroke when saying Hong Kong racing needed more local ten-pound claimers. Seriously? Popping them trippy candies again, Cas?Apart from the fact that most local kids are not being strong enough, how many, in this day and age, are willing to sacrifice their youth to be a jockey? They have far better career options. No, the next generation of Chinese jockeys WILL come from all those remote Chinese provinces outside of Mongolia or the phenomenal young Mongolian talent actually born to ride.
As for the races on Sunday, this column did predict that with Joao Moreira having an extremely ordinary looking book of rides, the $1.85 on offer for him to win the Jockey Challenge looked ridiculous. Though after winning the first race, the $1.85 whittled down to $1.20, all this do was lead followers of the Magic Man down the gurgler as Keith Yeung ran off with the Jockey Challenge. And the dish ran away with the spoon.
This aside, there were a few other oddities- Douglas Whyte shooting blanks throughout the day on some sizzling hot pots, Moreira managing to ride the lone winner, whereas Athena’s Baby, a horse on which the Magic Man had won three races, surprisingly being taken off and the ride going to Keith Yeung. If connections thought a lesser mortal than Moreira on the back of their horse would mean luxurious odds, they got their speed maps in a knot. $2.2 favourite Athena’s Baby was never sighted whereas the money on the first two past the post was bang on- Whyte on Anticipation and a brilliant winning ride by Brett Prebble ensuring that the heavily backed Industrial Way- 20s into 10s- duly obliged.
What was both surprising and disappointing to us was snaring the Quartet, and expecting a mammoth payout, but, instead seeing Chicken Little dancing to the tune of $113,686- not too shabby, but it meant shelving plans to buy that bungalow in Sri Lanka.
Apart from Prebble’s masterful ride, other highlights were the ultra impressive win of the Ricky Yui-trained Blizzard, which gave Karis Teetan his first winner of the season- and in a Cup race- and the tight as Nuruyev’s leotards finish to the running of the Kwangtung Handicap Cup, which saw Neil Callan practically lift Beauty Only over the line and beat the very expensive purchase and “Gai Waterhouse escapee” Divine Calling by a nose.
The latter was having his first start for trainer Caspar Fownes and Cas has already done an outstanding job on this disappointing galloper. If, like his first start for former trainer Tony Millard when he won with a leg in the air and some carried on as if they’d witnessed the second coming of Secretariat, Divine Calling is not a galloper that only runs well fresh, it could have a decent career- no Group 1 winner, but a solid racing proposition in Class 1. The disappointment of the race was the performance of Giant Treasure. The Richard Gibson-trained and Douglas Whyte-ridden grey loomed up to win for The Odd Couple of Hong Kong racing, but then went down faster than owner Pan Sutong’s Goldin shares. Perhaps, as they say, the horse will “come on for the run”- and it better, as this Giant Treasure looked like Fools Gold on Sunday.
Still with this race, it was a very good call by Brett Davis. While Darren Flindell is still to be accepted by Mark Shean fans in Sydney, Amigo Brett is doing far more than holding down the fort and being Deputy Dawg. He has improved many lengths as a race caller, and, if a betting man, I’d be giving him all the support and encouragement to keep improving. He can easily be one of the best in the business where, in 2015, the talent pool for race callers is a shallow one.
As said here before, one really doubts too many kids these days wake up and say, “Mum, Dad, I’m going to be a race caller when I grow up because I wanna dribble on like David Raphael on speed.”
As that old moll Rod Stewart once sang, tonight’s the night- at least, tonight’s the night for magic to strike the Valley and it would not surprise anyone to see Joao Moreira ride 3-4 winners. The problem is that none will be of any value, and if a small punter just dabbling in the dark, exotic bets like the Six Up, Treble and Six Up simply won’t pay.
It might pay to follow Douglas Whyte, but these days, the Durban Demon could have Wolf Blass on his mind, and getting on the winemaker’s highly-touted Alpine Eagle for one of the big races during Melbourne’s Spring Carnival.
Ten-pound claiming apprentice Jack Wong will be around the money, but to add real value to small bets, there is a need to have the short and curlies on offer for horses like Axiom, where two magic men combine- Moreira and Schutz- and another of billionaire owner- but still unable to buy himself a decent suit- Pan Sutong’s gallopers in Obliterator rolled. If not, be prepared for a Treble and Six Up that won’t be enough to buy you a char siu fan at Mott32.
Watching what The Three Amigos had to say on Racing With The Wobble Heads- and watching that show is not made any easier by some idiot’s idea to have the shocking sound of blowing and sucking of trumpets heralding discussions about every race- their tips were what any mug punter would pick- which is to say that finding value tonight- and without seeing the horses parade and which is where our Jenny From The Paddock never leads anyone astray- is as tough as trying to find a way into Kate Beckinsale’s…heart.
The only interesting part to the Wobble Heads show was watching Iron Man Callan pursing his lips and seemingly coming on to Amigo Clint (Trish?), and, when summing up Race 6, Amigo John Boy attempting to break the land and sea record for cramming the most number of words into one minute without breathing and turning purple in the process but it had to be done because the studio floor manager was no doubt making “Fai dhee lah” hand gestures. It made my head spin. Fast. Three times.
RACE 1: 11-1-5-10
RACE 2: 10-4-8-9
RACE 3: 1-2-10-12
RACE 4: 3-11-2-5
RACE 5: 2-5-4-11
RACE 6: 5-10-1-11
RACE 7: 2-6-7-1
RACE 8: 4-6-1-5
RACE 8: Top Act (4)
RACE 7: Regency Ho Ho (2)
RACE 4: Super King Star (11)