WHEN RACING IMITATES LIFE AND LIFE IMITATES ART

What happens when an Irishman, Brazilian, a Chinese, South African, and two Frenchmen go to the races in Hong Kong? They ride winners.

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What happens when a group of Germans, Italians, French, Aussies, Brits, Danes, Eurasians, Chinese and every other nationality under the sun, moon and stars go to the races in Hong Kong? They have fun- and which is exactly what happened at Happy Valley’s Happy Wednesday night earlier this week.

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Irishman Neil Callan rode the first two winners of the night. The magic of Frenchman Gerard Mosse and Brazilian Joao Moreira struck by taking out races three and four.

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Local rider Eddie Lai and South African Douglas Whyte won the next two before Frenchmen Olivier Delouze won the evening’s Cup race, and countryman Mosse brought down the curtain to a great night of racing with attendance up on what was the last night of the Oktoberfest promotion and with over 22,000 people in attendance.

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And when a lady from the UK got up onstage of the Beer Garden with her friends from all around the world and the Beatles’ version of “Birthday” was performed for her special day by a band comprising a Welshman, a Filipino and four overseas-educated Chinese, what we had was one giant melting lot of nationalities- the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s very own United Nations Of Racing.

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Over the past two months, there has been much hue and cry over the management skills of those leading the charge at Racing New South Wales, Racing Victoria and its handling of the aftermath of the Melbourne Cup where there were more retreats than Napoleon in Poland plus the onslaught of criticism levelled at the ATC.

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To all, this bit of friendly advice: Come to Hong Kong and see how a successful racing club business model works as most simply don’t get it with the emptiest vessels making the most noise.

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With HKIR around the corner, and many making their annual pilgrimage out here, realise that Hong Kong is more than Al’s Diner, the Champagne Bar at the Grand Hyatt, and the Carbine Club Lunch.

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This is where “racing people”, get it so wrong and remain clutching at straws from inside their little drone boxes, never connecting with that other big, big world outside of horse racing.

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Racing people talking to racing people about racing is like a dog chasing its own tail and going around in circles and thinking this is the way to arrive at answers and bring about change.

Break free, stop following leaders and watch your parking meters. Stop following the flag barriers, the Sideshow Bobs, Krusty The Clowns, and leaping lemmings.

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When in Hong Kong in December, take in the new PMQ complex in Soho Central. Go to Manchu China or Ho Lee Fook for Chinese cuisine that’s more than spring rolls and sweet and sour pork.

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Take the Central escalator and see how the other half and three quarters and one eighths live, see what you like and decide to stop the world and get off.

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Hell, take a walk on the wild side of Wanchai, enter Escape and escape from it to Rio and Players that stays open till 10am.

All this is Hong Kong. It’s what makes Cosmopolitan Hong Kong rattle and hum and roll with much of it rolling into and onto the Happy Valley Racecourse on those Happy Wednesday nights where all worlds meet. Everyone is welcome.

It’s Hong Kong life mixing with racing life and living together happily ever after.

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It’s kinda like what Fidel’s at Crowne used to be “back in the day” when one could escape from the usual racing tragics at JJ’s and be Batman for a night and rule Gotham City with a never-ending line of Batladies for company.

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Hans Ebert

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GOPRO AND LIVING WITH BENCAM AND ANNACAM

GOPRO AND LIVING WITH BENCAM AND ANNACAM 1b

The continuing stranger in a strange land adventures of Welsh singer-songwriter Ben Semmens shot with his GoPro camera.

In the videos below, he takes us to this week’s Happy Wednesday night at Happy Valley Racecourse with cameos from jockey Neil Callan and trainer Caspar Fownes, below with Ben.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvDepePd-S0

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We also visit the very popular Ho Lee Fook Chinese fusion restaurant with Ben and see what all the fuss is about.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7olVigCNBA

Meanwhile, drummer Anna Fan takes her own GoPro AnnaCam and films all the “excitement” of an after-gig meal at 7-11 with her band mates from maRK.

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THE INSIDE TRACK

THE INSIDE TRACK 1

SYDNEY’S JIMMY OLSEN, CUB REPORTER, FAILS WITH A “D”.

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Remember in school how, when the kid making the most noise would be confronted with anything close to intellect, would huff and puff, and, in exasperation, splutter, “W-w-well, my dad can beat up your dad.”

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And so it is with the Jimmy Olsen of NSW racing, a cub reporter known for one huge faux pas regarding track conditions and, more recently, that infamous fawning “Corona” interview with Zac Purton.

Now, he’s baaaaaack with this piece of new exasperation. Sigh. That tall poppy syndrome can really stop the geographically-challenged from seeing the forest for the trees.

THE INSIDE TRACK 4

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SI, ALESSANDRO, HONG KONG’S MOST PASSIONATE RACING CHEF.

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One of the more colourful supporters of Hong Kong racing is our Italian friend Alessandro who runs and owns the extremely popular Da Domenico restaurant. Ask him about racing in Hong Kong and he always has an opinion.

Alessandro doesn’t hold back on anything, and, jeez, he would be brilliant as a guest host on any television programme on racing.

When at his restaurant the other day, we asked him who his three favourite jockeys were. His answers were not what might be the norm, and he had very definite reasons why he picked Neil Callan, Mirco Demuro and Vincent Ho. Moreira, Purton and Whyte? Not for him.

Callan was and is his main man, especially after his ride to get Beauty Only home, below, Demuro as he’s bloody good-and as Italian as pasta- and Vincent Ho for his huge improvement this season.

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When it comes to explaining the Jockey Challenge, how to use the in-play breaks, tabulating maximum points, least points before the races and the various law of averages, and how to place bets and when and how much, the man’s lost his calling in life.

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Alessandro is a television personality and hit, hip racing show waiting to happen.

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MATHERS KNOWS HIS MATHS

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Interesting piece of timing on Monday by regular blogger/correspondent and ATC Committee candidate James Mathers, below, aka “The Beav”, dissecting the ATC annual and financial statements, prior to their release which was reported in Thursday’s press.

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In his response, Mathers asked some very pertinent and inconvenient truths about a “five month turn around (in the ATC finances) from February 2014, alluding to financial difficulties in funding and budgeting, threatening the ability of directors to meet their fiduciary duties to ATC members”, further questioning why then “would they (ATC), make this statement, when five months later in July 2014 they posted an operating profit of allegedly $13.742 million”. Very odd indeed.

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It has to be said that as an accountant and operating a successful accounting business, James Mathers’ analysis and commentary on all matters financial are credible and authoritative. As a general rule, an accountant worth his/her salt knows the tricks of the trade.

Like a well-trained sniffer dog they can get the scent of a truffle and lead their master to the black or white gold pretty quickly.

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Judging from the many responses and feedback that we have received since James Mathers- and recently Christopher John- have provided their own personal and passionate commentary on the state of NSW racing, the sense of urgency for change is very real.

That there are some very good people on the ATC Committee is not in question. It’s the influence of those with more power and authority than the ATC which concerns the many and overwhelmingly genuine people who care deeply about NSW racing and are beyond alarm about the direction it is taking.

And let’s ask one last question: Why have James Mathers, Christopher John and others chosen RacingB*tch to raise their concerns with the state of NSW racing and the direction it’s heading towards?

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Perhaps the answer may have a lot to do with their faith, or more relevantly lack of faith in the mainstream racing print media in NSW, which, despite being independently owned, sounds like, looks like and, largely, smells like a mouthpiece for the powers that be housed at Druitt Street.

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And if “Mathers has enjoyed mass exposure on a Hong Kong racing website which often leans on D-grade contacts from Sydney and Melbourne for its Australian content”, then it is an indictment on an Australian racing media and, in particular, those which are independently owned, that a website relying on “D-grade contacts” can enjoy rapid growth of its subscriber and readership base.

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Jealousy must be earned, kiddo. Thanks for the compliment! Now run along with your mates and kick the cat.

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THE BEAUTY OF HORSE POWER

THE BEAUTY OF HORSE POWER 1

THE BEAUTY OF HORSE POWER 2

THE BEAUTY OF HORSE POWER 3

THE BEAUTY OF HORSE POWER 4

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THE FAST TRACKER GALLOPS INTO SHATIN

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Race 1

Dougie Whyte should go close to taking this one out and continue trying to chip away at the leads of Zac Purton and Joao Moreira and a rampaging Gerard Mosse. A very good roughie here is Enter The Dragon with “Paddy Callan” aboard, seen below at Lan Kwai Fong.

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SELECTIONS: 1-2-11-6

Race 2

Moreira and Oriental Fanstasia will go close, but this is not a betting race where there are easily 4-5 winning chances. You’re not gonna get rich betting on this. In fact, you might be poorer for it.

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Race 3

Moreira should win this on Dashing Fellow and I would use this combination as win banker in a tierce and add first starter Timely Arrived- well hidden at a recent trial- and Grassland Dragon as value legs.

SELECTIONS: (3)-1-6-7-9

Race 4

Grace Heart won well at 13s for Vincent Ho at its last start over 1000m. It tackles 1200m with Ho retaining the ride. And though up in with and barrier 11 to contend with over, this time, 1200m, it can’t be left out and should definitely run a place.

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While Neil Callan is the new rider for Lucky Day, which seems to have been deserted by Douglas Whyte and Joao Moreira, it’s off my list, and the horses I see on a win line with Grace Heart are Magic-Win General with Monsieur Mosse aboard who’s riding as if he really needs the money-Ah Bo, Moreira’s choice, Brilliant Monkeys, and, whatever you do, don’t leave out Solar Kingdom. Apprentice Ben So aka The Plunger, has been a bit like The Scarlet Pimpernel this season with his cameo appearances, and his booking for this ride for which there have been some very loud whispers amongst the big punting Chinese boys, is more than interesting as it can crash from 14s to 4s in one hit.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-image32085005

SELECTIONS:11-2-5-8

Race 5

The first leg of the Six Up and I am happy not to include last start winner Sempiternal which gave local rider what remains his only win for the season at 63 to 1. Surely that a fluke of nature and one of the vagaries of racing?

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I’ll be taking En Civil, Winnam and Supreme Profit. Yeah, it’s that kinda race: Hard work.

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SELECTIONS: 6-10-12-8

Race 6

Star Magic with Moreira riding for Paul ‘O Sullivan will start favourite and should be in the top three, but for value, add Happy Champion and Beauty Journey, both ridden by hardly le creme de la creme of local riders, Mark Two, the ride of The Zac Attack, and the John Size runner Tom’s Charm, named after owner Dr Thomas Chung with “Barney” Prebble replacing the still-suspended “Bam Bam” Rawiller.

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SELECTIONS: 3-9-13-5

Race 7

One of those races on the dirt where upsets is the name of the game. I’ll follow the tipsters here though I will definitely have Hello Kimberley in my bets as it has performed so well on this surface before- though only for Joao Moreira. The in-form Chadwick takes over here and it just could spring a surprise.

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SELECTIONS: 1-4-8-11

Race 8

The Panasonic Cup with John Moore and Tony Cruz, each having three of the fourteen runners in this 1600m Class 1 event. Having said this, the horse that interests me is Luger, probably the only ride Douglas Whyte receives from his former bon ami John Size who was also the bon ami of Shane Dye.

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But Size knows when to show them, knows when the fold them and if Luger doesn’t fire, watch the ride go to The Magic Man. It might not be anything personal, but it’s probably everything to do with business.

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SELECTIONS: 7-2-3-1

Race 9

After his brilliant ride to win aboard it at its last start, it’s a bit surprising not to see Douglas Whyte aboard Full Talent, a very astute purchase for its owner by “The Babe”- Brent Thomson.

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Brent’s longtime friend Monsieur Mosse takes over with Whyte going onto Ho In One from the stable that gives me the heebee geebees- the Sean Woods yard.

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SELECTIONS: 3-2-1-7

Race 10

Woods and Whyte- the Wah Wah team- combine again on So Caffe, which is good enough reason to pen what will be the favourite again. Give me that Club Life instead.

SELECTIONS: 6-8-5-12

BEST BET: RACE 4: GRACE HEART (2)
NEXT BEST: RACE 4: 2-5-8-11 (boxed quinella)
VALUE BET: RACE 1: SOLAR DRAGON (PLACE)

SIX UP

R5: 1-3-8-9-12
R6: 3-9
R7: 1-4
R8: 7
R9: 2-3
R10: 6-8

TOTAL:$800 for a full six up ticket

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SARIKA CHOY’S SIX UP

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R5: 1-3-9-12
R6: 3-5-9
R7: 1-4-7
R8: 7
R9: 2-3
R10: 6-8

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PARTING SHOT

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