JING JING WIN 1

It’s tough to return to Ground Zero after the breathtaking performance of Winx at Moonee Valley yesterday, but we must. As the John Cougar Mellencamp song says, “Oh, yeah, life goes on”, and which leads us to Shatin, or to be politically correct, Sha Tin. If not, those unfamiliar with Hong Kong racing could say that a horse shat in. And we can’t have that, can we?

After jumping the gun, and having produced all those McHappy Meal-inspired plush toys for reluctant “cult” galloper and still very much a work in progress- Pakistan Star- stored for another day, kudos to all those at the HKJC who fought the Black Storm Warning, won the battle, and ensured that racing on Wednesday went ahead at Happy Valley- a remarkable achievement when one thinks about the rain that almost drowned Hong Kong that night. But the show went on and those who braved the torrential downpour were singing and dancing in the rain.

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ex 1

If the Wednesday race meeting was held anywhere in Australia, it would have been called off the day before. Maybe even two days earlier. But, despite the deluge of rain and Typhoon Haima hurtling towards the city and ready to strike on Friday- and which it did for a few hours, but was never the monster mash many new to this freak of nature were wringing their hands about on social media- the track conditions at Happy Valley went from good to yielding to good before the running of the last race. Incredible when some thought the meeting was in jeopardy. After a half-hour delay, the first race was run with the meeting including doubles by Douglas Whyte, pictured below, and Chad Schofield, and, as is the norm since his return from suspension, another Jockey Challenge victory to Joao Moreira.

ex 2

How will the track ride today? It should be on the good side, whereas bolstering the riding ranks has been the somewhat low key arrival of that other popular Brazilian- Sylvestre de Sousa. De Sousa, below at Adrenaline with Mr Moore, has seven rides today, but with five of these drawn barriers 10 and wider. Bummer. But, we’re talking here about a world class jockey who’s not going to let barrier draws get in the way of riding winners while reacquainting himself with racing in Hong Kong for the three months he will be here, and, without surprising anyone, perhaps deciding to make the city his home base on a long-term basis.

ex 3

Meanwhile, let’s hope those whispers that young Mauritian whizz kid Nooresh Juglall, currently riding in Singapore, and another graduate of the South African Riding Academy, will be riding in Hong Kong this season are true.

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It’s great to have someone like de Sousa riding here, and soon, Umberto Rispoli, but with the future of local rider Howard Cheng hanging in the balance and other local riders like Eddie Lai and Ben So sidelined with injuries, the riding ranks need to be bolstered, and even upholstered.

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On the subject of the riding ranks, one can’t help but wonder which two jockeys will, with Joao Moreira, represent Hong Kong in December’s Longines Hong Kong International Jockeys’ Championship. The odds say that it will certainly be The Zac Attack, but that third slot to complete the mahjong set looks pretty open right now with Douglas Whyte, Nash Rawiller, Brett Prebble, Derek Leung, below, Chad Schofield and Neil Callan, all definitely in the mix.

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Having said this, let’s not forget Silvestre de Sousa if he gets off to a flyer. Already, some pretty serious friendly bets have been made as to who will be Hong Kong’s Three Amigos at the Longines HKIJC.

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As for today’s card, both Moreira and Purton have their usual strong books of rides, but, for us- sorry, but we need to get a grip on ourselves- the highlight is seeing Douglas Whyte back riding a horse for trainer Caspar Fownes. You might have missed it. Called Invisible, Whyte rides it at 117 pounds in race four, the first time the jockey and trainer have combined since they won the 2010 Mercedes Benz Hong Kong Derby with Ranjhan Mahtani’s Super Satin.

ex 6

We have no idea what happened for the partnership to go down the gurgler soon after the highs of that day, but all hatchets seem to have been buried, and, in their place, lovely posies have blossomed and dancers writhe to the rhythms of Santana as if they have travelled back to Woodstock and the days of peace and love. But for how long will Santana perform Soul Sacrifice? Is this a one-off ride by Whyte for the stable? Let’s hope not.

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ex 8

Hopefully, Invisible will lead to a more visible partnership between trainer and rider and normal transmission will resume and flourish like those days before The Night Of The Long Knives arrived and a very dark shadow fell over the land, Mordred.

JING JING WIN 2

Elsewhere in the card, though disappointed if Karis Teetan has permanently lost the ride on Blizzard, the in-form Chad Schofield could be on a very good galloper, who, if over a slight setback, could give race seven- the Group 2 Premier Bowl- a mighty big shake. Brrrrrr.

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What’s interesting to follow is The Chadster’s career path in Hong Kong. Take Joao Moreira and Zac Purton out of the equation, and this is the jockey that many stables are turning to more and more- a rider mature beyond his years, smart enough to not get entangled in silly politics, and with that youthful exuberance to keep improving, and soon be a Ready For Prime Time riding talent.

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RACE 1
1-2-7-8

JING JING WIN 3

A Class 5 race on the dirt? Who knows? Keep calm and attack the nearest buffet table, a favourite Hong Kong pastime. Grab all the sushi, sashimi and lobster claws.

JING JING WIN 4

RACE 2
10-5-11-4

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Karis Teetan doesn’t ride many for Caspar Fownes, but he’s on a good one here for the trainer in Clever Spirit (10), which is well in at the weights and is looking like a win is around the corner. But these Class 4 races are trappy affairs and we tend to stay away from betting on the first two races. Watching briefs are advised.

JING JING WIN 5

RACE 3
7-5-8-12

JING JING WIN 6

RACE 4
6-2-1-5-13

JING JING WIN 7

Well, we just have to include the Caspar Fownes-trained and Douglas Whyte ridden Invisible (13) in tierces and quartets.

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RACE 5
4-3-2-6

The first leg of the Six Up and with everything pointing to the result going something like this…

JING JING WIN 8

RACE 6
13-3-10-11

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After its breathtaking win at its debut, and as long as we refrain from an attack of the dreaded Hype Syndrome, and don’t use the word “viral”, this should be a stroll in the park for David Hall’s Jing Jing Win (13), the high-priced Hong Kong International Sales purchase and winner at his debut.

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Despite a 12-point hike in the ratings and racing against stronger opposition, the galloper looks to be headed higher along with another runner in the race- Love Shock (3) which is drawn barrier 13 and needs longer to produce its best. Being the last leg of the Triple Trio, these two can be taken as double bankers. And if Jing Jing Win somehow gets jingle jangled and becomes a clanger, expect the Six Up Bonus to pay as much as it did last weekend -$570,000- when many took “internet sensation” Pakistan Star one out in the last.

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RACE 7
9-3-2-12

In The Wizard From Oz We Trust: John Size.

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RACE 8
6-5-4-8

JING JING WIN 9

RACE 9
3-10-9-5

JING JING WIN 10

RACE 10
5-9-6-7-2

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BEST BET
Race 6: Jing Jing Win (13)

NEXT BEST
Race 9: Joyful Trinity (10)

VALUE BET
Race 4: Royal Elegance (2)

ex 9

SIX UP

JING JING WIN 11

R5: 7
R6: 13
R7: 1-2-3-9-10-12
R8: 4-5-6
R9; 3-10
R10: 2-3-5-7

ex 10

QUADDIE
R7: 1-2-3-9-10-12
R8: 4-5-6
R9: 3-9-10
R10: 2-3-5-6-9

ex 11

PARTING SHOT

ex 12