By Hans Ebert


Simply tell us who won this season’s HKIJC at Happy Valley Racecourse in December 2017.

The first five correct entries received will win one of these limited edition posters.

Send answer to competition@fasttrack.hk


It was reminiscent of the sheriff who had decided to hang up his guns for a while to stare at the cacti against the purple sky of the prairie deciding that, aw shucks, it’s time to return to Dodge City.

And so it was that with a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders John Size walked back into town and showed who’s boss and that Size always matter.

It was also the Sorcerer and the Apprentice stuff with John Size unloading four rounds of winners that afternoon in the direction of his former Assistant Frankie Lor.

Lor has hit the ground running in his first season as a trainer and offers much more than a glimpse into the not so distant future. But right here and now, John Size is the best trainer in Hong Kong and Frankie Lor couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.

For his owners, apart from complete trust, they must often think they’re talking to either Clint Eastwood or Coop. John Size doesn’t say much, but he says enough. It’s experience and knowledge talking with one look often saying it all.

Though not easily intimidated, except by my ex wife when she’s in full flow and dragging up the past in another sudden surge of cathartic anger, John Size can be intimidating. One wouldn’t want to waste his time because he has no time to waste. And then there’s Joao Moreira.

Together with John Size, they’re Butch and Sundance. Of course John Size is a brilliant horseman and trainer, but the rides offered to Moreira aren’t all simple “sit and steer” jobs. They didn’t nickname him “Ghost” in São Paulo for nothing. Getting horses out from barrier thirteen and quick as a flash having them one out on the rails is no magic trick. It requires talent and great horsemanship.

Watching Joao Moreira on the first meeting of 2018 take many of his rides behind the barriers and give them some quick schooling by having them turn from left to right and right to left as a reminder of what’s expected of them when the barriers open, made fascinating viewing. It was far removed from what is normally seen as being part of horse racing. We were seeing another facet of the sport. It was, dare I say, mystical and a ritual of the dance. It was balletic dressage.

There are a number of brilliant jockeys. There are extremely few exceptional riders. There’s a difference. Horse racing has its Lone Rangers, Hopalong Cassidys and Roy Rogers and lesser cowboys. In Joao Moreira, there is Zorro.

It’s no doubt why a master horseman like John Size uses the best available jockeys for his horses, but uses one rider the most. Why? Because Joao Moreira is a freak of nature. His sense of timing is impeccable.

So, while apparently going through a “slump” by his own lofty standards and taking a backseat to Postman Zac (Purton) riding brilliantly and delivering winner after winner, Joao Moreira chose the first race meeting of 2018 to entertain and feed the sixty thousand at Sha Tin with another display of horse racing as both a sport and entertainment.

Winning five races on the day, four for John Size, was one thing. He was probably disappointed that it wasn’t one more. But what he also gave racing fans was showbiz.

After each win, he punched the air, he stood up on his irons to salute his followers, he hugged the outrider, threw his goggles into the crowd and high fived those who might have been hoping some lucky New Year Day magic might rub off on them.

With horse racing still looking for that magic elixir that will be its first real entrée into the big world of sports entertainment with its huge customer base and group 1 sponsors, Joao Moreira just might be the answer.

He’s equal parts horseman, rider, magician and entertainer. He’s poetry in motion and a game changer in an industry needing change in order to progress and be more than what it is today.


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THE ART OF JANET HAMMILL @janethammilart


At a time when a number of products and brands are losing the way and becoming dazed and confused about the most effective ways to use social media as a marketing tool, Hong Kong’s Burger Joys is succeeding wonderfully well while others stumble and trip over each other. Why? There’s no over-thinking and trying to follow some over-intellectualised template based on The Teachings Of Google.

Does Burger Joys use a #hashtag? A number of hashtags? Perhaps. But as a consumer and huge fan of the brand, it comes down to the quality of the product.

Simply put, they’re the best burgers I have tasted. And having worked on the McDonald’s business for over twenty years when in advertising- from Copywriter to Director Of Creative Services- many many burgers have crossed my path around the world. Yes, I am a burger connoisseur.

Burger Joys, like discovering good pommes frites, is a joie de vivre at a time when when simple joys in life are few and far between.

As a business, it’s a huge success- and it’s evolving and expanding with a quiet sense of clever strategic planning.

When Founder Manu Lee, pictured below, mentioned his plan over lunch around two years ago to give Hong Kong the best burgers around, I thought it would be another of those small pop up type small businesses- just another hobby for someone who had inherited a club as part of the family business.

Manu had other ideas. He’s now the face of Burger Joys and with a second outlet opening soon in the fairly new trendy area of Hong Kong that is Sai Ying Pun, the brand is increasing its customer base.

Burger Joys in Wanchai is big business. Very big. Going to Burger Joys is not an after-thought. It’s become something to write into one’s schedule. It’s a planned lunch or dinner. It’s casual haute cuisine. And it’s about extremely smart marketing by ensuring that nothing gets in the way of maintaining the quality of the product.

This results in the best and most effective types of marketing and advertising: word of mouth advertising. Literally.


#HKJC #HongKong #HongKongHorseRacing #JohnSize #JoaoMoreira #FrankieLor #HKIJC #LarkinPoe

This entry was posted in Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, JOAO MOREIRA, JOHN SIZE, The horse racing industry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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