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To those who really follow- and enjoy a serious punt on Hong Kong racing, the debut- and eye-popping win over 1200 metres of the Tony Cruz-trained Pakistan Star is still being discussed. And why not? It was breathtaking stuff with Hong Kong possibly having a future equine star on its hands, and race caller Brett Davis having something very much of his own to hang his hat on. With the video of the win having gone viral, this means that Brett has also gone viral! Soon, Amigo Brett might even be a YouTube sensation!

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Where to next for this exciting German-bred HK$6 million purchase at the HKJC International Sales? That’s up to all the experience and guile of the legend that is Tony Cruz, and owner Kerm Din. Though trying to keep any great expectations in check unlike leading Sydney-based jockey Brenton Avdulla, who’s campaigning hard- very hard- for Kendall Jenner to be Australia’s next Prime Minister, it’s difficult not to get excited about a horse that could be anything when racing over 1600 metres and longer.

This is not to say that Kendall Jenner is some shrinking violet who should be ignored. It’s just that I would rather look at things closer to gnome and home.

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Of course, there’s no place like gnome, and thousands will make the pilgrimage to Happy Valley racecourse for the last Happy Wednesday night of the season, and, especially, the After Race Party at Adrenaline. This is where many are expecting birthday boy Neil Callan, below, to get up onstage and perform the entire Joshua Tree album, the finest work by his Irish countrymen- U2- before Bono became a sanctimonious bore.

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Bringing an element of quelle supris of to the evening will be the presence of former jockey, raconteur and erstwhile singer Neil Paine, who’s pictured below about to launch into his haunting and tormented version of Bony Maroney. This is what working for Lady GaiGai does to you.

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Accompanying Knackers, and in Hong Kong for the first time will be jockeys Paul “The Duck” King and Ryan Wiggins, both set to ride at another of the China Horse Club’s surreal exhibition race meetings somewhere in Mongolia. Let’s just hope “The Duck”, a tough little rider, and seen below, has a darn good shower before showing up at Adrenaline.

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“Telling me I need to shower just rolls off like water over this Duck’s back”.

Of course, there is a world of difference between Happy Valley Racecourse and Inner or Outer Mongolia, and back at gnome base, there’ll be plenty of interest as to whether female apprentice Kei Chiong leaves the meeting knowing that she has the inaugural Tony Cruz Award in her handbag.

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A very good, and, some say, a pretty much overdue initiative- but, then again, did Hong Kong really have a group of local jockeys worthy of this award in past years?- this is an award given out to the season’s most successful local jockey. As Kendall- and Gigi- will tell you, the only other rider with a chance to win this is Derek Leung, who is riding as well as any senior rider here.

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“Who’s he, Geeg, and what’s he nattering on about?” “Ignore him, Kay Kay. He’ll go away”

Derek, my favourite local jockey, trails A-O-Kei by two winners, but could cut into that lead as he has a pretty decent book of rides tonight. He could be the Venus Flytrap in the ointment to rewrite the script so there’s no fairy tale ending that local racing fans would love to see happen.

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On the subject of Venus Flytrap, I would like to see something else happen, but that’s got nothing to do with the races.

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Getting away from Kendall and back to Kei, she’s breathing down the neck of Joao Moreira as votes pour in to name Hong Kong’s Most Popular Jockey, and many would be forgiven for thinking that this Tony Cruz Award was introduced quite late in the season, and when it looked certain that this was a one-horse race, which could result in a very nice positive story with some good photo opps. It still might be a one-horse race, but the sudden emergence from the pack by Derek Leung has added a new twist to the ending and a sting to the tale.

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Speaking about twisted endings and stings to tails, The Gnasher aka Nash Rawiller, is going through somewhat of a renaissance period with a tremendously successful ending to the season where he’s been banging in winner after winner and winning last Friday’s Reunification Cup aboard the aptly named Renaissance Art. The Club really should have played that old Peaches and Herb classic during the presentation ceremony after those now familiar words were gushed out by the always enthusiastic female emcee: “Let’s now all pose for a group winning photo!” Wheeeee!

For my money, The Gnasher is the jockey to follow tonight, though perhaps not as vigorously as Brenton Avdulla follows Kendall Jenner on Twitter. He’s relentless.

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Kendall gives Brenton a secret message

What’s interesting to note is that The Gnasher seems to have curbed the tendency to have those once trademark flailing wok-stirring arm movements flapping away these days. In place is a more sleek riding style. It’s the Gnashmobile.

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What about Joao Moreira? Zac Purton? Kei Chiong? Of course, it would be foolish to leave them out, but, as usual, their rides will be well under the odds, and it might be better to go walkies elsewhere for value. But first take a walk through the Beer Garden as there are always a number of winners from the Happy Wednesday Style Squad around.

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And in remembrance of Prince, Let’s Go Crazy before and after the last Happy Wednesday race for the season- The Let’s Fight Handicap.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIXtuMQAK0E


RACE 1

Call it superstition or just a lack of interest, but the first two races are best left alone. It’s the best time to visit the Beer Garden, attack the buffet table at Adrenaline, or see if there’s any track bias. Plus, the weather looks decidedly dodgy- a weird mix of rain, sunshine and thunder.

4-1-3-12

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RACE 2
11-12-7-2

Mama???

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RACE 3
2-3-7-9

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RACE 4
9-10-7-3

Could be really exciting if favourite Savvy Nature gets rolled. And very often at Happy Valley, there’s an upset in this race- the first leg of the Six Up. Below, Frankie Goes To The Gents with an Italian roll-on suitcase. He must have got excited.

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RACE 5

The first leg of the Triple Trio with a HK$1.5m jackpot.

7-4-9-10

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RACE 6
2-12-6-10

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RACE 7
4-7-2-3

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RACE 8
4-1-9-6

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RACE 9
2-3-8-6

Below, Brenton Avdulla dedicates riding a winner to- who else?- Kendall Jenner. Of course, she not only watched the race, she thinks Brenton Avdulla is the Harry Styles of horse racing.

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BEST BET
Race 8 Quinella: Born In China (1) Lucky Year (4)

NEXT BEST
Race 6: Sky Man (2)

LONGSHOT
Race 5: Wonderful Fighter (9)

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SIX UP

R4: 3-4-6-7-9-10
R5: 7-9
R6: 2-10-12
R7: 4-7
R8: 1-4
R9: 2-8

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PARTING SHOT

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