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Of course, the highlight of today’s races is the return of Joao Moreira after sitting out a two day suspension. The question is whether the Magic Man will unleash an entire bag of new tricks right from the get go, or whether, he’ll slowly ease himself into the game, and wait until the lead up to HKIR week before turning the current mantra of there being a “level playing field” within the riding ranks on its head by being the completely dominant force in Hong Kong racing that he’s been for the past few seasons.

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Joao Moreira is a fascinating character- a case study in someone being in the right place at the right time, who has seized everything that has come his way with both hands, rewritten the Hong Kong racing history records, which only he can probably rewrite again, and always looking at the present and future as far as his career is concerned – everything from those highly successful raids in the land down under, and Japan to looking ahead and sending out signals that he is more than available if offered a ride in the Melbourne Cup that has a real winning chance. And let’s not think that the thought of riding in the Arc- and winning it on a Japanese horse- hasn’t crossed his mind. If you were him, wouldn’t you aim this high? Wouldn’t you be looking at making the Big Picture even Bigger? Wouldn’t you want to be the Ronaldo of horse racing- the first truly globally marketable rider?

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There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of this. When one has achieved everything that he has on the world stage, the bar needs to be constantly raised so that greater goals are achieved. It’s what motivates every great athlete: Bettering oneself. This isn’t being selfish. It’s being realistic. It’s challenging one’s self to be better and better and create history along the way.

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Being the complete professional that he is, and being ultra competitive, he’ll probably ride a double or treble and reclaim his vise-like grip on the Jockey Challenge. During his absence, and when that “level playing field” was in play, the Jockey Challenge was suddenly given a new lease of life. It became unpredictable. Who would have predicted Nash Rawiller riding a magnificent four winners as he did on Wednesday? But he did. And unlike that oddity called the Composite bet, which seems to have been created for, well, who knows, the Jockey Challenge has become an interesting betting proposition again. And if Moreira doesn’t Usain Bolt with it today, things might be changing, and there really might be a level playing field that will go the distance.

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Today’s card looks easy enough on the surface, but this is when it becomes the most trappy. Watching the new Racing To Win team for a while, where Brett Davis and Paul Lally were joined by new boy Andrew Le Jeune, the new Three Amigos seemed bullish about their tips. But when are they not?

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Like Lady GaiGai Waterhouse, a tipster must have the courage of their convictions and put on a brave front. Whereas the dear lady trainer takes things a bridge too far by giving every one of her horses a winning chance- does she give a hoot whether they actually win when she’s rolling in the deep without a care in the world?- professional tipsters everywhere- and even those who pretend to be tipsters when it’s only Trump-like false bluster- the Three Amigos have a job to do, and do the best they can to guide their followers to the winning counter. If not, what’s the point of the programme other than hearing blasts of what sounds like “Band On The Run”? What’s the relevance of tipsters? All I will say is that if the Lally Man’s value bet of the day- Hard Ball Get- runs in the first four, a steak with all the trimmings at one of his- and mine- favourite restaurants- Pampas down Elgin Street in Soho- is on me and served to him by the señor in charge of the establishment, pictured below, who looks like he belongs in The Sopranos. What’s in it for me? The satisfaction of being right though having the utmost respect for Paul Lally.

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But seriously, these tipping programmes have not changed their formats since dinosaurs roamed the earth, and really need someone to start things up again and get that motor running.

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Making them more interactive and where racing novices take on the experienced professional tipsters is one obvious tweak. It’s entertaining. It can evolve into something bigger and better. But just plodding along aimlessly with some tired sounding interviews sandwiched between 3-4 talking heads, because that’s how it’s always been, is hardly going to boost ratings. It’s as dated as Thunderbirds Are Go and expensive filler fodder outta sync with these times where everything is technology driven and in the hands of the consumer.

Getting back to the races today, what else? The earlier races might offer some value in the Quartets before favourites rule the middle of the card. Race 9 looks extremely competitive with there being some personal interest in the last race, if only to see how billionaire Pan Sutong- is he still a billionaire when his company recently took an almost $25 billion beating in the stock market?- fares with his hugely expensive purchase Consort.

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There’s quite a back story about Consort, which had a brief honeymoon period with the stable of John Moore before being quickly moved to trainer Richard Gibson when the Pan Handler apparently insisted on who should ride the horse. Money talks. But, to his credit, John Moore walked. But there’s more to this purchase…

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Still with expensive purchases, the former Gai Waterhouse-trained Divine Calling, who made such an impressive debut in Hong Kong before the wheels quickly came off, has been sold to connections in Perth.

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Being no Three Amigos, and definitely no Deane Lester, here’s a racing fan with some suggestions for today’s races below- a hobbyist who believes he’s still better than whoever those tipsters are on Melbourne’s racing and sports radio station RSN, who, week after week, prove they couldn’t even tip a waiter with their predictions for the races, particularly the meetings in Sydney and Adelaide. The Tin Man could do better. And he couldn’t even find his brain. Enough said.

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RACE 1
5-7-6-10

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RACE 2
8-6-3-1

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RACE 3
14-7-9-3

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RACE 4
8-7-10-12

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RACE 5
9-7-11-10

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RACE 6
5-14-1-2

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RACE 7
11-8-3-5

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RACE 8
12-2-7-8

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RACE 9
8-14-1-4

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RACE 10
13-5-14-1

25sep 22

BEST BET
Race 5: I’m The Won For You (9)

25sep 23

NEXT BEST
Race 6: House Of Fun (5)

25sep 24

BEST LONGSHOT
Race 9: Kiram (14)

25sep 25

SIX UP
R5: 1-6-7-9-10-11
R6: 5
R7: 5-11
R8: 12
R9: 1-2-4-8-14
R10: 5-13

PARTING SHOT

25sep 26