Other than the three extremely interesting Group 1 races, which will really rely on tactics and the ability to switch plans midstream if things don’t go according to script, most eyes will be on the enthralling battle for the Jockey Premiership between the Magic Man and the Zac Attack with the former looking to have the stronger book of rides. Joao Moreira winning all three G1 races would not surprise.

We’ll be at Sha Tin this afternoon for all of the above but mainly for the latest chapter of the Pakistan Star horse opera. But more on this fascinating battle of the minds between riders and one very special horse later..

With both Joao Moreira and Zac Purton looking to have very good book of rides and certain to be amongst the winners, Sam Clipperton, below with Tommy Berry, is another jockey to follow in a couple of the earlier races.

As for Tommy, it would be good to see him add to his tally especially on this important day in the local racing calendar with an eye towards receiving a Club jockey license for next season. There’s quite a conga line forming of riders completely new to Hong Kong and wishing to have a slice of the G1 lifestyle enjoyed here including the 15 percent on personal taxes.

On the other side, there are a few nervous junior racing executives who wouldn’t want to be dumped off the Hong Kong gravy train as there’s nothing much for them out there. But if limited at best and bringing nothing to the party other than hot air and flatulence, the gig’s up. The open door policy might have just slammed shut on them.

Also interesting to watch will be how the very last minute substitutes for Kerrin McEvoy, down with an ear infection, fare with their last minute rides, especially with now William Buick, below, flown in to be the latest rider for Pakistan Star.

Of course all of the above is very nice, but the real reason for following horse racing and doing all the homework and creating programmes, studying the readouts, chatting to waiters and bartenders who usually have the best mail in town etc etc is for all this toil and trouble to actually pay dividends and looking out for número uno.

The owners, jockeys, trainers and the HKJC have all the money they need. And more. Many others don’t. They, too, want that villa in Bali, bungalow in Sri Lanka and properties in Malta, Portugal, Greece and Italy. They, too, want more of everything and to retire with a cult comprising Lithuanian beauties feeding them coconuts on some deserted beach in Galle. One must have life goals like these.

After Wednesday night’s races where short priced favourites won six of the eight races and many at the races won… but lost because their outlay was far more than what the winnings paid out, they will- duh- be looking for a better result.

This will be especially true of the individual who, expecting a HUGE treble payout, took the entire fields in the first and last legs and three runners in the middle leg. With one horse withdrawn at the barriers in race six, the bet for a $10 ticket cost over $3,200. The payout? Around $202.

The bet was just as stupid as following some of those “knowledgeable” tipsters in the land down under and their selections for a “flexi” Quaddie which quite often includes 6-7 horses in two legs- and where one still loses.

Anyway, moving along…


RACE 1
SELECTIONS

Great Joy (2)
Garlic Yeah (6)
Play It (7)
Smart Charade (5)

RACE 2
Don’t be surprised if this Class 3 race for horses rated between 60-80 serves up a strange result as there’s really nothing that catches the eye if one forgets about Volitation. Drawn out wide, he might have had his win for the season and could perhaps run into a minor placing.

Both of Moreira’s and Purton’s rides are certain to be in the money due to the jockey bookings, but Marzouk (1) and Go Beauty Go (5) are yet to show anything to really make one go “Waaaaah!

SELECTIONS

Royal Mojito (12)
Multi Facets (7)
Intrepic (13)
Starship (14)

RACE 3
SELECTIONS
Famous Warrior (5)
Land Grant (12)
Shamport (3)
Amazing Agility (11)

RACE 4
SELECTIONS
What Else But You (10)
Jolly Banner (4)
Winner’s Way (1)
Star Majestic (11)

RACE 5
What’s happened to Jing Jing Win and all that talk about the galloper’s future looking so bright one would have to wear shades following some memorable wins when first stepping out in Hong Kong? And then? The winning stopped as he stormed up the ratings, raced up a class to bring the weight down and now races down a class against pretty average horsepower other than the untapped potential of Solar Patch who made a huge impression when recently winning on his debut in Hong Kong. How will he do here? Absolutely no idea.

SELECTIONS
Solar Patch (5)
Mission Tycoon (6)
Brave Legend (9)
Sparkling Dragon (13)

RACE 6
SELECTIONS
Seasons Bloom (3)
Pingwu Spark (8)
Beauty Generation (1)
Southern Legend (7)

RACE 7
SELECTIONS
Beat The Clock (2)
iVictory (9)
Fine Needle (7)
Mr Stunning (1)

RACE 8
Wait: First we heard Silvestre de Sousa was coming out to ride the Dr Strangelove of Hong Kong racing- Pakistan Star. But when he couldn’t make it, Kerrin McEvoy was meant to be aboard until the news yesterday that an ear infection will keep him home. The ride has now gone to William Buick- the fourth rider for this very intelligent animal with seemingly a wonderful sense of black humour. He must be laughing his arse off at all these different jockey engagements knowing only too well that he and only he calls the shots.

Buick will be the fifth rider to try and tame the beast within if one includes Tommy Berry who recently trialled him- unconvincing to these eyes despite some of the comments giving the impression that Pakistan Star was better than ever and we were witnessing something close to the Second Coming. Dear gawd, how many times have we heard that crock of shit- from jockeys, from racing scribes and the always bullish trainer Tony Cruz?

It was a TRIAL, people, not a race in front of thousands with the bovine local peanut gallery happy to chant the famous Cantonese DIIIIIIIUUUUUU song.

All this diiiiiiiuuuuuuing does is make Pakistan Star dig his heels in and put on an impromptu floor show. No amount of flogging is going to make him go any faster or where he doesn’t wish to go.

How will he do this afternoon? How long is a ball of string? From Tony Cruz being quoted as saying that despite easily leading at his latest trial before thinking, “What am I DOING out here?” and then slowing down to enjoy the view, he would be ridden off the pace, the latest news from the trainer is for the jockey to take the lead from whatever Pakistan Star decides to do. Confused? Imagine if Pakistan Star, drawn barrier one, feels claustrophobic and decides that he doesn’t feel like running, or at least running out the whole 2000 metres of the race?

Our other question is why oh why the connections haven’t by now simply had Hong Kong based Matthew Chadwick ride his old friend- the first rider Pakistan Star had on his back in Hong Kong and who unfairly lost the ride when some thought after his first unexpected loss that a change of rider might bring about a change of luck.

Well, that’s hardly happened, has it, Einstein? If anything, the horse has decided to run his own race and damn the consequences. Gotta love this horse. And the power of karma.

Frankly, Pakistan Star could have had enough of Hong Kong and might be looking for a change of scenery. Sending him back home to Europe might make a world of difference to his disposition and where this world might suddenly become his Blue Oyster Cult.

SELECTIONS
Ping Hai Star (5)
Time Warp (1)
Pakistan Star (3)
Al Ain (2)

RACE 9
It would be too easy to have Hot King Prawn on the top line, but apart from offering zero value, the John Size trained galloper with a picket fence beside his name might find it tough to sizzle from barrier 8, carrying top weight and with quite a few speedsters on his inside.

Even with the fine motor skills of the Zac Attack on his back, the galloper could get stuck out wide while facing around five other runners looking not so much at winning the race, but just not wishing to see Hot King Prawn sizzle again. So, this race, races 2,3 and perhaps the last COULD be where there just might be upsets and some whopping Quartet payouts.

SELECTIONS
Wishful Thinker (14)
Summer Passage (6)
Hot King Prawn (1)
Always Win (11)

RACE 10
SELECTIONS
Dr Geoff (5)
Patriot Hero (13)
Keen Venture (6)
Easy Go Easy Win (2)

Best Bet
Race 5
Solar Patch (5)

Next Best
Race 8
Quinella: Time Warp (1) and Ping Hai Star (8)

Longshot
Race 2
Multi Facet (7)

Parting Shot