By Hans Ebert

RACING SHOULD BE 1b

Looking back on everything that unfolded at Shatin on Sunday, it would have made one helluva movie- a quirky combination of “Let It Ride” and new age Disney mixed with touches of Tarantino at his weirdest and a cameo from Tony Cruz as the character Joe Pesci played in “Goodfellas”. This was when the objection fired in by him and the connections of Peniaphobia was overturned. Sometimes even legends- and longtime amigos- get it wrong.

RACING SHOULD BE 2

The bottom line is that it was a great day of horse racing- and underlined everything positive that the sport is and should be about. There were the fairy tale comebacks- Aerovelocity winning the Centenary Sprint Cup, and Luger coming agonisingly close to taking out the Stewards Cup, which was won by the Richard Gibson-trained and Christophe Soumillon-ridden Giant Treasure.

RACING SHOULD BE 3

There were the world class performances in the saddle by Zac Purton, Joao Moreira, Silvestre de Sousa, Christophe Soumillon, and Ryan Moore. Add to all this, the training efforts of, especially, Paul O’Sullivan and John Size to bring Aerovelocity and Luger back from heart irregularities to performances from both gallopers that were all heart. And lest one forgets, huge props to owner Daniel Yeung.

RACING SHOULD BE 4

Hong Kong owners are often known to suffer from a combination of Brain Freeze and an attack of megalomania where they become both trainer and jockey. Because they own the horses and pay the bills, they know best. Or think they do. Not Daniel Yeung. He placed his faith on the advice of his trainer. He showed remarkable patience, and waited until the team of trainer, jockey and himself- the owner- believed that Aerovelocity was ready for his comeback. And what a comeback it was by this awesome galloper that is every bit as good as Able Friend was at his most awesome best. And this time, that overused word “awesome” was and is deserved.

RACING SHOULD BE 5

When Zac Purton mentions that Aerovelocity is sometimes underrated, he’s right. Aerovelocity has always been in the huge shadow of champion Hong Kong miler Able Friend, where he’s played second fiddle. But watching him on Sunday- a galloper very much with a mind of his own and a real character- Hong Kong racing has something very special, possibly even more special than before, to keep the city’s flag flying overseas. We should all be so lucky to have heart irregularities like those that slowed down Aerovelocity and Luger.

On the subject of sometimes being underrated, let’s not ever take the efforts of Zac Purton for granted. He has now ridden six winners at two consecutive race meetings, and has proven he can mix it with the best in the world- De Sousa, Ryan Moore, Christophe Soumillon, Hugh Bowman and, of course, Joao Moreira. He thrives on competition. He hardly fades into the background and becomes a shrinking violet.

RACING SHOULD BE 6b

After the boys from Brazil- Moreira and de Sousa- had won the first five races and even ran the Quinella in two of these races, we saw the lethal Zac Attack- sans the Zacalava- come into his own with a mighty big roar.

RACING SHOULD BE 7

Zac Purton has grown up over the past few years. Fatherhood does that to many. But for this brilliant jockey, it’s also had much to do with learning from mistakes, watching, absorbing, and even making his battles to fight off illnesses and injuries work for him. They’ve made him more determined to succeed and a very good ambassador for Hong Kong racing. If older, he would be Rocky Balboa.

RACING SHOULD BE 8

All these lights, camera and action on this one Sunday, and a turnover of over HK$1.46 billion, certainly makes a big difference to reading about cheating trainers, other types of cheats in racing- and every other sport- and a money laundering list of integrity issues.

RACING SHOULD BE 9

A day at the races, like the one we were privileged to witness on Sunday, restores one’s faith and interest and enthusiasm in a sport that, too often, has been watched with the glass half empty and been allowed to have its image tarnished and dragged through the mud by those who, supposedly are the main attractions of horse racing. That’s not in the script, and an immediate rewrite is in order.

RACING SHOULD BE 10