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BITCHES AND PIECES

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MR SMITH RETURNS TO RACING.

Around ten years ago, British bloodstock agent and bon vivant Andy Smith was on top of the world and making money hand-over-fist, thanks to his biggest client at the time in horse owner George Tanaka.

We’d meet Andy regularly at his local near Carlton Towers in the ritzy Cadogan Avenue area of London where there would always be an eclectic group of individuals- Lennox Lewis, Frankie Dettori, Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood etc before heading over to the upmarket gentleman’s club Aspinall’s.

Then, when George Tanaka was hauled off a plane in the US and jailed for tax fraud, the newly-married- to a young stunner from Turkey- Andy Smith went poof and disappeared with many of his clients left high and dry with various horsey problems. Emails went unanswered, phone calls landed on deaf ears. It was like a Hitchcock mystery.

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Now, he’s back- bigger than ever- financially and physically- and with the lifetime breeding rights to the American-bred Declaration Of War, below, which will keep him in the lifestyle to which he is accustomed forever and with several local horse owners now on his books along with a few long-time trainer mates from his halcyon days in the UK waiting to meet up with when supposedly hits these shores next month.

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EARTHQUAKES SHAKES UP RELAXED RACING AT CAULFIELD!

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We made a flying visit to Caulfield for Oakleigh Plate Day as guests of a group of owners and, from a positive point of view, we have nothing but praise for the winning rides by Damien Oliver, Chad Schofield, Craig Newitt on the much-improved Lankan Rupee, and Damien Browne- especially the latter and his winning ride on the brilliant Earthquake. Here’s a jockey going International.

Caulfield Races

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That win well and truly stuck a pacifier up the arses of those groveling racing pundits who kept chanting Rubick, Rubick, Rubick for weeks.

They have made right cubes of themselves and one can really sense many losing their credibility.

After all, like many racing executives we know, What do these people actually DO???

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As for the crowds in the Public area? So Relaxed about racing, many never showed up- shame as it was a great day’s racing, but the experience? Myeh- whereas in the Members area, we listened to the usual lament about just how poor a turnout there was and the financial ruin facing racing in Oz while the Neros fiddle and remain in denial- and we don’t mean the river in Egypt.

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As for this Relaxed Racing brainwave- no doubt created by gremlins during a heatwave and with the sun playing tricks on one’s brain- this has all the signs of being a very expensive and daft marketing campaign with no ROI or USP in place and, perhaps workable for Boo Boo and Yogi Bear at a pic-a-nic meeting, but totally outta whack with a major race meeting like the one yesterday where people- young and old- WANT to get dressed up as it’s one of the few occasions where they CAN.

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The radio spots built around chanting Om- an insult to one’s intelligence- and damage control lines like “Enjoy Relaxed Relaxing with an adrenaline rush”- Valium and Red Bull???- and suddenly using Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood- which should have been used right from the start so no one takes this, well, THING, seriously- shows a marketing disaster as big as what befell the Titanic and Hindenburg, combined.

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What to see CLEVER, competitive advertising? Click here. It’s not racing, but use some imagination.

As for the Relaxed Racing Ambassadors, PUHLEEEZE.

Knowing some of them pretty well, the choices are making our heads spin faster than Linda Blair’s did in The Exorcist- and making us just as scary.

But, hey, maybe it works in Melbourne- though we hear not from the older Wu Tang Clan whereas the newbies to racing we know have never heard of Relaxed Racing and have no interest in finding out what it might be.

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They’re on the go all the time- and enjoying it- to get laid back at a race track on a Saturday afternoon when there’s the night ahead.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZZIs6JTGN4

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IN KEVIN MOSES AND THE THREE AMIGOS WE “THRUST.”

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While our old mate Kevin Moses has parted the Red Seas and bought himself a bar in, er, Shanghai which we have pencilled in to visit, we understand that The Three Amigos, the stars of the television reality series Keeping Up With Racing To Win, have sold their interests in Singapore-based galloper Thrust (?) following a Class 5 win in the Lion City.

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The horse is, apparently, being moved by new owners to “greener pastures” in Malaysia.

Malaysia? Greener Pastures?

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We’re willing to bet that if this move happens, there will be Thrust issues soon taking place in Western Australia where the Malaysian influence on racing is far greater than many realize- or wish to admit.

There was one race at Ascot yesterday which should be studied by newbie punters to see how to plan a complete “boat race” and make mugs of tipsters and form students through a dawdling pace and some horribly suss rides.

The result of the race was tipped to some from Singapore- on Friday afternoon- and from Macau via Malaysia on race day morning.

Richard Burt has a problem on his hands- and it’s been around WA racing for almost two decades.

Then again, look at the fun and games going on in Sydney these days and with no one saying ticky boo about them.

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THANKS FOR ALL THOSE YEARS OF THE CAT, FELIX COETZEE!

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Felix Coetzee, one of the greatest jockeys Hong Kong has had the good fortune to see in action and the type of truly top bloke one meets once or twice in a lifetime, officially retired last week.

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Having started out as stable jockey for the controversial Brian Kan ping-chee when he took over from another racing legend- Brent Thomson- “The Cat” as he was known, really came into his own for his association with the Hong Kong champion sprinter Silent Witness and his partnership with trainer Tony Cruz and owners Archie and Betty Da Silva.

His strength in a finish and his judge of pace was something we had not seen before- ever.

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What we still don’t understand are why these two legged legends of the turf are not utilized much more as presenters on television programming instead of the dullards that are hired to be vapid talking heads with selective memory recall.

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Also why- and we have mentioned this before- a forward-thinking racing club like the HKJC don’t have even ONE race day where a Legends Of The Turf Cup Race is the highlight of a meeting and with every other race named after such legends as Felix Coetzee, Darren Beadman, Michael Kinane, Basil Marcus, Bart Leisher, Gary Stevens, all of whom have ridden here at one time or another?

Surely, there is far more relevance to this idea than races being named after Hong Kong’s beaches, streets and local electrical appliances including fridges and vibrators?

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Imagine seeing their greatest wins on the DiamondVision screen! Imagine having them all present for this race meeting! Imagine the sponsorship and media appeal!

Now, stop imagining and make it happen, baby!

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Legends like these should never be allowed to just fade away into the distant past and forgotten like yesterday’s news.

RACING CARES should be a far more pertinent and human theme that should be made mandatory amongst all racing clubs instead of much of the wooly bully stuff we see- and where punters money is used to turn this goofiness into irrelevant reality.

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STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S DING DONGS.

THE FAST TRACK GUIDE TO SHATIN 1

Wednesday night- a bitterly cold Happy Wednesday night- was where the races were dreary, lackluster, dull, boring, soggy, yawning, meandering, turgid affairs with even some of the top jockeys riding like learner drivers and giving some absolutely shocking displays lacking in fine motor skills.

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Let’s just get down on our knees and pray that it was because of the weather and the jockeys were frozen or, like the Jonas Brothers, they were saving their virginity for today and the running of the Hong Kong Gold Cup at Shatin.

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If not for the performance of the latest Witness-named galloper- Key Witness- which finished like a bloody train- there was really nothing to get excited about on the first Wednesday of two more Wednesdays of Magic In The Valley where one of the magicians was so awful, we almost wished that the dopey Bobby Borgia was back.

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THE TWATS AND STRAIGHT BATS ON TWITTER.

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Most of the rants about racing on twitter are the twitterings of trolls, fawning groupies, bogans, and many who DESPERATELY wish to be seen as vital to the future of, especially, racing in Oz- and which is rapidly heading towards oblivion.

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To them we say, get out more often, look after your own backyard and see how the rest of the world lives before making absolute knobs of yourselves and making horse racing look like a sport only followed by one-dimensional intellectual midgets.

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Having said this, there’s the far more interesting band of racing’s version of the Twitter Police who do a better job than most Stewards and the stunted racing media lacking balls and one iota of creativity other than what they copy and call their own.

This Twitter Police- The Gailays, the Dirty Cowboys etc- are those who can easily spot and shame the jockeys by naming bad rides, taking well-aimed shots at racing’s sacred cows- even those in Hong Kong- and questioning the decisions of untouchable trainers and their owners.

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No one is spared- and rightfully so- with strong arguments to back their charges and not daft rants lacking any real knowledge other than what can often be a stupid and dangerous outlet which has seen racism, hate, bullying and cowardice at the fore on Facebook and YouTube.

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The day when this equivalent of racing’s “underground scene” becomes mainstream and a real global game changer with enormous clout as it communicates directly with the public is right around the corner.

And gawd knows, horse racing needs some serious changes if it’s ever gonna compete for audience share with other sports and bring in new sponsors who can change the way the sport is still perceived by 99.9% of human beings: Irrelevant.

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When this happens- and it will, sooner rather than later- and even as independent online consumer-generated programming beholden to no one- many in racing clubs will be held accountable for simply not being good enough and with no more asking of some racing executives, “How the fuck did he get that gig?” and the usual, “What does he actually DO???”

The Truth will finally be out there.

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THE FAST TRACKER GOES LOOKING FOR GOLD.

It’s good to have Tye Angland back in action after a short suspension with the jockey being popular with punters for the same reason Joao Moreira is- being extremely reliable and seen as a rider who tries on every horse he rides.

Sure, sure, EVERY jockey tries, but Angland and Moreira are seen as trying just that much more and not involved in those “easy runs” to get a horse down in the ratings- which, of course, NEVER EVER happens.

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Another jockey who has quickly won over the Hong Kong racing public, trainers and owners is Mirco Demuro, below- almost certain to return to Hong Kong after his next contract in Japan expires.

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Meanwhile, we have Tommy Berry back in town- and what a great ride he gave aboard Valentia at Randwick yesterday to just edge out another superb ride- this time by Corey Brown on Greco.

Berry in town always means that trainer John Moore has a winner waiting for him- it will never be one with SUN in its name- whereas amongst Moreira, Purton and Whyte, the latter’s rides have drawn the best barriers and what looks to be the best book of rides of the trio.

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But, then again, that’s what I thought, he had on Wednesday with Fire Starter, Step High, Getaway Guy and Bullish Friend, each of which crashed and burnt without barely causing a ripple- or even hardening a nipple.

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Today’s highlight is, of course, the running of the HK Gold Cup which has attracted a disappointing seven runners with John Moore having five of them.

Yes, here, The Chris Waller Syndrome has hit Hong Kong.

One guesses that the clash of Akeed Mofeed and Military Attack has scared off many though punters would be silly to leave out the Tony Cruz-trained Blazing Speed, below, which has Mirco Demuro aboard.

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With the experienced Italian jockey doing so much riding for the trainer these days, one has to wonder if all is well with the Cruz-Chadwick partnership?

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R1 CONFUCIUS ELITE/COLUMBUS LINE/WHAT A HEART/GOLDWEAVER

A bit surprising to see the first two races being dirt races- one guesses a cheap appetizer for the early birds at the track before the big boys step in with their million dollar bets- like the one punter in Oz who whacked AUS$500,000 for South Africa to win the first Test against Australia at $1.95 before Mitchell Johnson shattered that dream.

Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson reacts during play on day 4 of the 3rd Ashes test match between Australia and England at the WACA in Perth, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP

R2 SUISSE D’OR/EL GRANDE/SUPREME HONG KONG

R3 FLYING RED/FIGHTING BOY/ISLAND GARDEN/NAUGHTY BABY

Could be a race worth betting on. Industrialist Way will be in the money, but might be looking for longer. Fighting Red interests me quite a bit.

R4 GORGEOUS DEBUT/HIT THE BID/MR VANILLA/HAPPEN FOR REASON

A very open looking first leg to the Triple Trio and, call me stupid, but I’ll be banking on some of that ol’ Whyte Magic helping Gorgeous Debut run in the first three despite top weight and a wide barrier- but also taking another set with Hit The Bid as a banker. But, jeez, this is a very tough race and I just might end up closing my eyes and using my magic pin.

R5 PRETTY ONE/PRECISION KING/BRAVE BROTHER/BEAUTY JOURNEY

Has Hong Kong what a damn good jockey Brett Prebble can be- when in the mood?

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R6 KHAYA

Here’s hoping that Douglas Whyte has got his mojo back and doesn’t do anything weird like his bizarre ride on Fire Starter at Happy Valley’s Unhappy Wednesday as Khaya makes his late bid to get enough rating points to make it eligible for the HK Derby.

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As a double banker for the last leg of the Triple Trio, I’d take either the lightly weighted Malaysian Gem, which has shocked me by winning two races in a row- one over course and distance- or Better Announce.

R7 BLAZING SPEED/AKEED MOFEED/MILITARY ATTACK

An interesting race to watch and see how The Magic Man fares with Military Attack after regular rider The Zac Attack was unceremoniously dumped by trainer John Moore after four disappointing runs by the horse.

That old warhorse about needing a change of luck has been dragged out.

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If Military Attack doesn’t win- and, especially if another Moore runner does- it will be entertaining/interesting to see whether owner Steven Lo will keep his horse with the stable- not that I think John Moore will be losing any sleep as to whether he stays or if he goes.

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R8 OUR FOLKS/AEROVELOCITY/SMART VOLATILITY

R9 PERFECT JOY/GOLDEN ADDICTION/MASQUERADER

And- BANG- outta nowhere- another dirt race where anything can happen- and here’s hoping Tony Cruz can do SOMETHING with Masquerader which has been quietly transferred to his stable from that of Tony Millard, below.

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How I wish there’s some letters like ST next to horses that have had these stable transfers on race cards as often they result in inexplicable reversals of form.

R10 SANTA FE SUN/DUNDONNELL/FAT CHOY HONG KONG/WAH MAY STAR

Yes, the HKJC has saved the best for the last and with almost half the field capable of winning and with the odds probably not telling the true chances of many of the runners.

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After a few what look like “easy races”, this will be the race for Six Up and QP and all-win roll up players to load up in the leg.

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This is also the day’s second quartet race which is still to be effectively marketed as many are clueless about how to bet on it.

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BEST BET: RACE 6 KHAYA
NEXT BEST: RACE 7 OUR FOLKS
LONG SHOT: RACE 9 HARBOUR MASTER

SARIKA’S SIX UP

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R5: 5-7
R6: 4
R7: 1-2-4
R8: 11
R9: 2-5-6-7
R10: 2-10-11-12

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TODAY’S SELECTIONS FOR SHA TIN FROM THIRD DIVIDEND
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Mainly fine. Cool in the morning. The maximum temperature will be about 19 degrees. Moderate to fresh easterly winds.

Outlook : Temperatures will rise progressively in the next couple of days. Some mist in the latter part of this week.

Race 1: CITIGOLD PRIVATE CLIENT HCP CL5
1 – Goldweaver (1)
2 – Columbus Line (4)
3 – Confucius Elite (6)
4 – Mega (10)

Race 2: CITIBANK CITIGOLD HCP CL4
1 – Verdane (4)
2 – Suisse D’Or (14)
3 – El Grande (7)
4 – Supreme Hong Kong (13)

Race 3: CITIBANK ULTIMA CARD HCP CL4
1 – Naughty Baby (1)
2 – Flying Red (7)
3 – Industrialist Way (8)
4 – Grand Harbour (12)

Race 4: CITIBANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT SERVICES HCP CL4
1 – Gorgeous Debut (1)
2 – Hit The Bid (3)
3 – Real Fit (5)
4 – Silver Dragon (12)

Race 5: CITIBANK GLOBAL BANKING HCP CL3
1 – Precision King (5)
2 – Brave Brother (7)
3 – Beauty Journey (10)
4 – Pretty One (2)

Race 6: CITIBANK CITIBUSINESS HCP CL3
1 – Khaya (4)
2 – Malayan Pearl (14)
3 – Wayfoong Express (3)
4 – Better Announce (13)

Race 7 (Q1): THE CITIBANK HONG KONG CUP – HK GROUP 1
1 – Military Attack (2)
2 – Akeed Mofeed (1)
3 – Blazing Speed (4)
4 – Dan Excel (5)

Race 8 (Q2): CITIBANK PERSONAL LOAN SERVICES HCP CL2
1 – Aerovelocity (2)
2 – Smart Volatility (1)
3 – Our Folks (11)
4 – Hypersonic (3)

Race 9 (Q3): CITIBANK MORTGAGE SERVICES HCP CL3
1 – Perfect Joy (7)
2 – Golden Addiction (8)
3 – Smiling Watch (2)
4 – Horse Aplenty (10)

Race 10 (Q4): CITIBANK INSURANCE SERVICES HCP CL2
1 – Santa Fe Sun (11)
2 – Smart Man (10)
3 – Dundonnell (2)
4 – Eagle Power (4)

Best Bet
Race 6: Khaya (4)

Next Best
Race 2: Verdane (4)

Value Bet
Raec 9: Perfect Joy (7) – Currently, $5.30/$2.50

Long Shot
Race 4: Mr Vanilla (8) – Currently, $13.00/$3.20

SPECIAL
Race 7: Military Attack (2)

Quaddie ($100 gets you 138%)
1.2
1.2.11
2.7.8.10
2.10.11

Six Up
5.7
4
2
2.11
7
10.11

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SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)

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BEST BET
Race 8, No. 2 Aerovelocity
Promising gelding who won last month in emphatic fashion. Hard to go past on that run.

SECOND BEST
Race 5, No. 7 Brave Brother
Solid effort behind Precision King last outing. More pace engaged here and meets him 3lb better at the weights.

LONGSHOT
Race 6, No. 7 Lucky Omens
Fitter now and the extra distance should help. Capable of making his presence felt.

LAY
Race 10, No. 2 Dundonnell
Stack of speed and will have to do it at both ends. Happy to take him on.

QUADDIE
2,4 / 1,2 / 2,3,5,6,7,8,11,13 / 10,11,13. $50 for 52.08%.

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PARTING SHOT

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