By Hans Ebert
By the time I woke up, the person with me announced, “Good morning, sleepyhead, the Joao show is in full flow.” And then she did a little dance. Still new to horse racing and with her own “internal intuitive systems” to win- and her inside run of financial wins would make many professional tipsters and punters blush- she’s a massive fan of Joao Moreira, the Brazilian Magic Man and complete horseman who’s simply in a league of his own.
Some might not like hearing this, but it’s a fact: Joao Moreira has rewritten Hong Kong racing’s history books over and over again by breaking his own records. He is the only marketable product in horse racing that will attract brands with endorsement deals, and now here was Joao Moreira making history again by riding the first five winners on a ten race card and giving the HKJC the headline story for the next day.
Some will natter that this incredible talent has the pick of the best rides. Really? His fifth win for the day was on a horse that had gone winless for over thirty starts. Even the pundits of Hong Kong racing gave Yourthewonforme no chance saying it was way under the odds because of people being swayed by the sentiment that this was the first runner sent out by local first season trainer Frankie Lor.
Perhaps Lor had performed the oracle and fine-tuned or even found the horsepower laying dormant on Yourthewonforme for so long? My friend was having none of it. To her, it was all about Joao and how she believes he’s like a stranger in a strange land with superhuman powers and should have his own series of manga comics.
She might still be understanding horse racing, and how to win at the game, but knows how to market a product -and horse racing is a product- extremely well and, to her, Joao Moreira should be used far more effectively, yet sparingly, to promote Hong Kong racing and also be the face of horse racing worldwide.
Worked by the right people, this could be the forerunner to making this “hobby/pastime” (is horse racing really considered a sport by the millions who are still to be attracted like the Marx Brothers did to A Day At The Races?) something much more consumer friendly than what it is today and where it’s saddled with the gambling albatross.
It’s no secret that many sponsors and even celebrities don’t wish to be associated with gambling. Why? It could tarnish their image. Horse racing needs a new infusion of style comprising that inspiration aspiration appeal and which can work on a very different level to the current turnover driven business model which really is its heartbeat.
Though he rode “only” five winners, and it was great to see jockeys Australians Nash Rawiller, and Tommy Berry, Mauritian Karis Teetan, Italian Umberto Rispoli and South African Chad Schofield get off the mark, the feat of Brazilian Joao Moreira is making headlines in the racing world and being talked about by those not involved in horse racing.
People wish to know more about him and what he looks like and what type of person he is. They like what they read and what they see. There are sponsors who are looking at horse racing in a positive way today because of this very likeable and hugely talented horseman.
Tonight, the music world lost another of its brothers: Walter Becker.
As half of Steely Dan, named after the dildo in William Burroughs’ “The Naked Lunch”, Becker and his musical partner Dan Fagen played by their own rules and raised the standard of music by breaking rules and striving for the perfection that mattered only to them.
Over dinner with friends from various different industries, but somehow connected to technology and the entertainment world, it was interesting how the work and legacy of Walter Becker and the achievements of Joao Moreira were talked about in the same breath.
It offered more than a glimpse of what could be if only those who see The Big Picture surround themselves with those from other industries who share this vision and are committed to giving back to society.
“But of course we’ll never see any of this in our lifetime because horse racing is too set in its ways” came the booming voice of a well known owner in the UK. Bullshit.
This is the type of negative and backward thinking that will keep horse racing being an also ran and ignored by many as an elitist hobby that remains the sport of kings, queens, sheikhs and those with plenty of money to burn, and who cannot be taught Stupid.
#JoaoMoreira #HKJC #NashRawiller #TommyBerry #KarisTeetan #UmbertoRispoli #ChadSchofield