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RACE 1

Oh good gawd, Kharu is in this race which means many will have to stomach all that posturing from its owner and notorious photo bomber Nat Chan, the bloke who wears a raccoon on his head.

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Let’s pray the horse doesn’t win. The carrying on during the winning photo session will be barf worthy.

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SELECTIONS: 8-7-4-11

RACE 2

Racing legend Brent Tompson aka “The Babe” purchased Planet Choice for the longtime bon amis of Monsieur Mosse which won first up and flopped badly at its next start.

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Over this 1000 metre race, I cannot see it winning, but one thing is certainment: Mosse won’t be riding it as he did Redkirk Warrior on Sunday, which went 14,14,14- BANG- 5th and is now subject to an adjourned enquiry. Enough said on that subject.

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SELECTIONS: 3-2-1-12

RACE 3

This race, the first leg of the Double Trio which, tonight, carries a jackpot of over $1 million is well worth tackling where Secret Agent and Sea Ruby might start favourites. But beware the curse of the first leg of Happy Wednesday Six Ups where, this season, favourites many gone down like ten pins.

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SELECTIONS: 6-1-3-7

RACE 4

The first leg of the Triple Trio and looking at the field assembled, “The Ballad Of John And Yoko” is going through my head, especially the line, “The way things are going, they’re gonna crucify me.”

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This is a bloody tough race with several runners prone to being “tardy” at the start, others being “Happy Valley horses” and taking a class drop with some strange jockey engagement making one sing, “You know it ain’t easy.”

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SELECTIONS: 12-7-9-1-5

RACE 5

Sempiternal must be one of the most improved horses this season and has built up a great rapport with Brett Prebble.

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After a surprise win at huge odds for Jacky Tong, below- the local jockey’s first and only win for the season- and Yin Tong on it at its next start when placed, trainer Chris So called on the services of Brett Prebble. And Prebble has not led his backers down.

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Prebble knows Sempiternal inside out- James McDonald was all at sea on it when running in one of the International Jockey Challenge races at its last start- and will be perfectly suited to the 1800 metres of this race. It’s definite banker material. Also have a small bet on Brett Prebble in the Jockey Challenge. Remembering his battles royale and fierce rivalry with Douglas Whyte 4-5 seasons ago, it’s weird to see Brett Prebble almost being the forgotten man of Hong Kong racing and no longer the Go To rider for trainers Caspar Fownes and David Hall.

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Still, Prebble has been this season’s quiet achiever. He might not be winning the big races, but he’s still riding winners on every horse that has a chance- and Sempiternal is a huge chance.

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Looking at the other runners, Joao Moreira seems to have finally tired of riding the hugely disappointing Redwood Baby. He sticks with Monsieur Mogok with “Donkey” Callan taking the reins on Redwood Baby. Who knows? Perhaps some Irish good luck might rub off on this particular Baby?

SELECTIONS: 9-11-7-5

RACE 6

The Group 3 January Cup with the Happy Valley track sees some good horses for a change- two from the Size yard and three from the Moore stable.The 1800 metre race will be all about tactics and prayers with form and trackwork might not coming into play.

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Harbour Master will start favourite for the Moore-Moreira McHappy Meal combo and has a very good chance, but then so do Helene Super Star and the very appealing Rainbow Chic.

SELECTIONS: 5-12-7-1

RACE 7

After a very lengthy suspension on running and riding charges, Howard Cheng makes a sneaky and low key return to racing with just two rides tonight.

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He rides Excel Oneself here which takes a class rise to tackle this event and has a winning chance though here is a race that can throw up a shocker.

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Having been on No Money No Talk on Sunday when it came fourth at over 70s, I need to follow it with trainer David Hall quickly backing it up and bringing it to Happy Wednesday for the first time- and probably the race it has been set for. Sadly, it won’t start at 70 to 1 here and might even start way under the odds.

SELECTIONS: 2-12-11-3

RACE 8

To me, the best race of the night with a very even field and several riders involved doing all of the trackwork to ensure that what happens during trackwork is translated on race day.

SELECTIONS: 6-2-9-1

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BEST BET: RACE 5 SEMPITERNAL (9)
NEXT BEST: RACE 2 QUINELLA: 2-3
VALUE BET: RACE 8 REGENCY KING (9)

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SIX UP

R3: 6,7
R4: 1,2,5,7,12
R5: 9
R6: 3,7
R7: 2,11,12
R8: 6,9

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TONIGHT AT THE BEER GARDEN, WE RETURN TO THE SIXTIES!

WE RETURN TO THE SIXTIES 1

The Twist, the Beatles, mini skirts and Go Go boots, the Wahtusi, Mods and Rockers, Twiggy and good vibes, man.

WE RETURN TO THE SIXTIES 2

WE RETURN TO THE SIXTIES 3

The sounds, fashion and all the fun of the Sixties are back at the Beer Garden of Happy Valley Racecourse.

WE RETURN TO THE SIXTIES 4

WE RETURN TO THE SIXTIES 5

Be there or be square. And come dressed to twist and shake it up, baby!

WE RETURN TO THE SIXTIES 6

WE RETURN TO THE SIXTIES 7

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THE INSIDE TRACK

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ENTER HORSE RACING’S SERIAL PHOTO BOMBER!

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Natalis Chan was once the lead singer with a local band bestowed with the doomed name of the Loosers, a band named and managed by another of today’s horse owners- Pato Leung, below, back in the day with his loser band when he was an entertainment reporter by day for the China Mail and wannabe Paul Dainty and Robert Stigwood by night.

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As for Natalis Chan, he tried his hand as a trainer in Macau- he failed- he’s made forgettable television and film appearances, whereas, if unfortunate enough to run into him at the races, he’ll insist on giving you “secret tips from the jockey” and will then show you his newspaper and some numbers that have been circled. These are always “winning numbers” as the Chan Man never ever loses.

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He also owns one horse- the very average Kharu which runs tonight- but, as shown on Sunday when Solar Kingdom won, he managed to photo bomb that winning picture and carried on as if he owned the winning horse, winning trainer Peter Ho and winning jockey Ben So.

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Nat Chan has taken photo bombing to such a new level of desperation and regularity that he is known to oversees viewers of Hong Kong racing who often tweet asking who the fool is wearing a dead skunk on his head.

His constantly “evolving” hairstyles, hair of many colours and wardrobe that makes Andy Leung’s jackets looks positively bland, all show how seriously he takes the role of a serial photo bomber.

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Of course, the art and practice of photo bombing has been part and parcel decades. Look at how many winning photos Bennett Pang, who owns no horses, has photo bombed.

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Ironically, Bennett Pang was the guitarist with Nat Chan’s failed band the Loosers before enjoying much greater success when then-manager Pato Leung had a rare brainwave. He renamed the band The Wynners. Wow.

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As for photo bombing, we knew one race-goer whose sole reason for attending a race meeting was to see how many owners he knew- most, very vaguely or not at all- with horses that had winning chances. If and when their horses would win, he’d bolt downstairs and past security to ensure he could be in the winning photo. Did he ever place a bet? No, he just wanted to be known as a horse owner. It was all about “face”- and as it is with Nat Chan.

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TODAY’S WTF MOMENTS

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We were sent this rather surreal piece of communications which appears to be former champion jockey Douglas Whyte endorsing some obtuse product.

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First of all, it’s not a flattering picture of a jockey who has won thirteen successive Hong Kong Jockey Premierships while also proof positive that jockeys need proper and professional management from those with strong roller decks, global connections, experience and are savvy marketers.

Is this possible endorsement going to further Whyte’s career? If a product owned by billionaire horse owner Pan Sutong for whom the jockey rides, it’s a smart political move.

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If a favour for another owner with a decent horse, it’s also, tactically, a good move. But, from a Big Picture point of view, it could be Accapi Nexus or Apocalypse Now and just something awkward.

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Frankly, during the HKJC’s 130 Anniversary Celebrations, local racing heroes like Douglas Whyte and champion sprinter Silent Witness- lest we forget, purchased for owner Archie Da Silva, by our low key friend David Price and his Price Bloodstock, which rang up its 400th winning purchase for Hong Kong on the weekend- deserve far better recognition than being dumped into this badly photoshopped shocker of a dog’s breakfast that is a WTF Moment all of its own.

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PARTING SHOT

PARTING SHOT

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