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While having dinner with architect and feng shui master Michael Chiang over the Lunar New Year holidays, it was interesting to hear him explain that Hong Kong has not only entered the Year of the Monkey, but this is a fire monkey- and a fire monkey doesn’t augur well as it suppresses all metal- meaning money.

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On top of this, with Hong Kong’s embattled Chief Executive CY Leung having been born in the Year of the Horse- but him being a wooden horse, which one supposes is better than a Trojan horse being wheeled in- expect clashes between the fire Monkey and the wooden horse. Fallen asleep yet? According to Mr Chiang’s feng shui chart, he believes that the problems facing Hong Kong has everything to do with the airport having been moved to Chep Lap Kok, and from where an ill Westerly wind blows. Well, that not only sucks wind, that’s now ancient history with no turning back.

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For those born in the Years of the Tiger and the Pig, this fire Monkey year is not seen as being a very good one. Mr Chiang’s advice to them: Travel. Where to? Just travel. Run away from yourself. Go buy Greece and be a fisherman for the next year. For the rest of us, what should ward off bad spirits and open windows of opportunity will, apparently, be having a yellow or gold carpet in our homes leading from the front door to the bedroom. For better luck, hide two coins under this carpet.

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What has any of this to do with today’s races today? No idea other than going shopping for a golden carpet, happy not having been born in a Tiger or Pig year, staying put, and making sure to move furniture around so nothing faces a North Easterly direction- another No No this year, where Mr Chiang’s chart forecasts Hong Kong experiencing an unusually hot summer, heavy rain and a strong typhoon. So, today at Shatin, gather your rosebuds as ye may, and may The Horse be with you.

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With leading jockeys Zac Purton and Neil Callan sidelined through suspensions along with in-form local rider Derek Leung, and Richard Fourie out with a back problem, the HKJC has called in for re-enforcements from the Singapore Turf Club- familiar faces Corey Brown and Michael Rodd, both good jockeys with exceptional CVs, but, let’s face it, here to only make up the numbers.

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Chad Schofield is back after ruling himself out of the last two race meetings with a nagging back injury of his own, but the hundreds of thousands of racing fans will be hoping to get this new year off to a flyer by burning good joss to welcome back Joao Moreira on a winning note.

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After surviving a horror fall at Happy Valley last week, and despite having world class jockeys the calibre of Ryan Moore and Silvestre de Sousa riding here- and both with excellent strike rates- to local racing fans no one can take the place of the Brazilian Magic Man. No one. It’s a one note samba.

How will he do today? Born in the Year of the Rat- and this Lunar New Year of the Monkey should hold no fears for him- the Magic Man is the $1.35 favourite to win the Jockey Challenge- ridiculously short odds when looking at a book of rides that might see him ride a treble- at best.

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For any other jockey, riding three winners will be reason for dancing in the streets of even Mongkok in Kowloon with those serial protesters, most not knowing what the hell they’re even protesting about. But Joao Moreira has put on such brilliant displays in the saddle that even a treble would be considered a “disappointing effort”. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, JoJo, and only a quintet or sextet of winners will appease those racing- and even non-racing- fans who take this auspicious day in the Lunar calendar extremely seriously- and where a day at the races MUST be a winning one.

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Will the Magic Man be up against the powers of the fire Monkey, or will he tame the mischievous beast? Time and good feng shui will tell, but, personally speaking, blindly playing catch-up by following Joao if he hasn’t ridden a winner by race 5 could see many having their fingers burnt.

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Some Monkey business could be on the cards today with upsets predicted in the first race, along with race 10 and, especially, race 11. And don’t forget about that yellow carpet for the home. It might just lead you up the Yellow Brick Road, and a prosperous journey this year with the Monkey King.

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THE GOOD FENG SHUI YEAR OF THE MONKEY TIPS FOR SHATIN

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Race 1
5-10-3-6

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Race 2
12-7-1-11

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Race 3
3-1-13-11

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Race 4
3-2-7-5

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Race 5
8-12-11-10

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Race 6
2-7-4-12

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Race 7
4-3-6-11

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Race 8
7-2-1-10

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Race 9
2-4-5-7

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Race 10
4-6-9-12

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Race 11
12-8-2-13

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BEST BET
RACE 9 – SOLAR HEI HEI (2)

NEXT BEST
RACE 10 – JOLLY JOLLY (5)

OUTSIDER
RACE 11 – ALLCASH (8)

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SIX UP

R6: 2-7
R7: 3-4-6-11
R8: 7
R9: 2
R10: 1-2-4-6-9-12
R11: 2-8-12-13

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PARTING SHOT

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