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Of course, the highlight last Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley was seeing Nash Rawiller aka Fried Rice aka Chow Fan aka The Gnasher ride four winners. In other words, half the card.

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To keep with the Chow Fan theme, it was a stirring performance, and the former leading Sydney jockey might have taken two seasons to hit his straps in Hong Kong, but is now not only on fire, he’s cooking with gas with two more wins on Sunday to add to his tally thus far, though with this double came a two day suspension for careless riding. Sometimes that fried rice can get burnt to a crisp.

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Apart from his own hard work- and it’s harder when a heavyweight jockey like The Gnasher who has to constantly struggle to keep his weight down- the jockey gives credit for his current renaissance to the support of his wife Sarah, and eldest son Campbell. It’s 15-year old Cam, without a doubt a future jockey in the making, who’s been showing up early in the morning for trackwork, clocking all the performances, working out his own algorithms, and singling out to his Dad which rides to try and get on, and how to go one or two better with some of his regular rides still seeking that elusive win. Clever boy. This is movie script material, but, let’s face it, nothing beats confidence, and these days Nash Rawiller is riding with the same confidence that comes so naturally for Joao Moreira and Zac Purton.

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The Gnasher aside, after Sunday’s race meeting at Sha Tin, call it a paradigm shift, or something in the water, but almost every jockey has raised their game this season. Those still to get off the mark could be marking time on very thin ice, especially with the arrival next month of another popular Brazilian in Silvestre de Sousa.

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Maybe the complete dominance of Joao Moreira, who returned to race riding on Sunday with a well-executed treble after sitting out a two day suspension mostly with his family at the beach, has forced them to better themselves in order to compete and continue to stay in the game? But whatever it is, it’s great for Hong Kong racing. And it’s not only the jockeys who’ve upped their game, it’s also the local trainers. Chris So trained four winners on Sunday, whereas Danny Shum, both pictured below, and Me Tsui are right at the top of the tree on the trainers Premiership table.

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Of course, these are early days and it’s only a matter of time before John Size and John Moore bring out their big guns and show everyone who’s the boss. But right here and now, for Hong Kong racing fans, the sport has become more entertaining and interesting than it’s been in a very long time. Except for jockey Howard Cheng and his mobile phone, things are certainly flying along.

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Of course while all this is going on in Hong Kong, there are those peering over the wall from the land down under, and clutching at straws to have some morsel of “ownership” of Hong Kong racing with groupie-like fawning over jockeys, and often engaging in imbecilic tweets. It’s great to be fans of Hong Kong racing. Two thumbs up for that. But let’s not suffer from the Tall Poppy Syndrome. And ignorance.

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Yes, Aussie Zac Purton is an excellent jockey and countryman Nash Rawiller has hit a purple patch. But let’s not forget a brilliant Brazilian named Joao Moreira who rules racing here, and the fact that South African jockeys led by Basil Marcus and the great Douglas Whyte, who “only” won thirteen consecutive Hong Kong Jockey Premierships, owned this title for twenty one consecutive years.

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Please don’t make jackasses of yourselves. Stop to think why so many Aussie jockeys wish to ride- and live- in Hong Kong. Speak to Zac. And Nash. And Chad Schofield, Brett Prebble, and Sammy Clipperton. And trainers John Size, David Hall and John Moore. Take a break from those Twitter accounts, get out more often, and actually come over to Hong Kong, understand how and why it all works, and stop to smell the dim sum.

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Tonight, the racing pundits are howling from the rooftops that trainer Caspar Fownes will continue to stamp his authority on the races at Happy Valley. Maybe. But the overnight odds for almost all his horses and those ridden by Joao Moreira offer absolutely no value. They could all win, but without this punter’s money.

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I’ll be looking for value- value from horses with actual winning chances- and then going over to the Beer Garden before race 6 to watch a special performance by the Jennifer Palor Band while the venue’s regular band Carnivale play one set at Adrenaline. Having this latter venue open after the races for an hour and free entry after 10pm is proving to be extremely popular- and excellent value for money.

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RACE 1
8-4-3-5

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RACE 2
1-7-4-2

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RACE 3
12-3-8-9

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RACE 4
8-1-10-11

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RACE 5
7-3-8-2

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RACE 6
8-4-6-1

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RACE 7
2-12-1-9

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RACE 8
8-6-11-5

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BEST BET
Race 3: Speedy Wally (12)

NEXT BEST
Race 7: Hang’s Decision (2)

LONGSHOT
Race 6: Happy Spirit (8)

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SIX UP

R3: 12
R4: 3-8-10-11
R5: 5-7
R6: 1-6-8
R7: 1-2-12
R8: 5-6-8

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PARTING SHOT

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