By Hans Ebert

True. It’s a little off kilter. A tad random. Joanna Lumley hosting a TV Special on 20 Years Of Black Eyed Peas.

Ok, let that sink in for a minute. Take a deep breath. Exhale slowly. Why, right? And why this weird combination? Something that’s come right outta Left Field. Personal thoughts? Absolutely fabulous. Daring to be randomly different.

It’s kinda like those Pop and Rock albums turned to mush by ageing celebrities like Telly Savalas. William Shatner. Pat Boone. Leonard Nimoy. Those recordings all had a certain kitsch value. Joao Moreira returning to Hong Kong to be stable jockey for Champion trainer John Size after leaving to fulfil his lifetime dream to ride in Japan, doesn’t have kitsch value. But it’s certainly caught many off guard.

It’s had some shock value. Only in racing circles. But these things happen. For those who wouldn’t know Joao Moreira from a Taco Bell, the former champion Hong Kong jockey failed his first exam in his bid to gain a full-time license to ride in Japan. It’s not the end of the world.

With his wife and two young son and daughter in Japan, they are his number one priority. And so, as many husbands and fathers have faced when it comes to their careers, there are often tough decisions to make. He made the right one.

Joao Moreira didn’t have to prolong the decision making process. All the pieces somehow came together. They first and foremost worked for the Moreira family. It’s probably the most relevant story to what has developed over the past few weeks. And it’s gone missing? Replaced by trash talking, Batman?

From here, what has transpired has worked for the HKJC. They were and probably still are miffed at the way the brilliant Brazilian rider known as the Magic Man decided to tell the Club of his decision. That eleventh hour decision to leave Hong Kong for Japan.

Joao Moreira had made no secret about eventually wanting to ride in Japan. Many had known about this for almost two years. The problem was in his timing. The timing to tell the HKJC Licensing Committee of his decision. But though it might be difficult to completely forgive and forget, a compromise has been reached. One which doesn’t say that either side blinked first. Both sides stand to win.

Joao Moreira will soon have his family back in familiar territory. Especially when it comes to the schooling of his young son and daughter. The family are not strangers in a strange land. Not in Hong Kong.

For the HKJC, with an internationally acclaimed and marketable name like Joao Moreira back in their jockeys ranks and other marquee value names like Ryan Moore and Silvestre de Sousa submitting applications for short term riding licenses, the current international jockey colony has become even more international. Horse racing’s version of the United Colours Of Benetton. It’s a marketer’s dream scenario. It’s going to benefit everyone.

How it will all pan out when the Magic Man returns as stable jockey for champion trainer John Size only time will tell. But it’s certainly not going to create chaos. Only unnecessary handwringing causes chaos. And online hysteria.

It’s what’s greeted the news of Joanna Lumley and the Black Eyed Peas. Online hysteria. Especially on Twitter where too many seem to have too much time on their hands.

Too many needing to press that “like” button seldom knowing why. And of course horse racing’s serial twitterers ensuring that the feeding frenzy continues.

Why? Possibly because of a warped sense of self importance. Or personal agendas. Or some deep rooted insecurities. Whatever it might be, it’s all looking and sounding goofy. And silly.

Meanwhile, those with the real power to make things happen or disappear get on with creating positive change. Not creating waves.

Douglas Whyte, who’s won the Hong Kong Jockey Premiership for thirteen consecutive years, a record that not even Joao Moreira will break, answered succinctly when asked about his thoughts regarding the return of the prodigal son. He welcomed the move.

He emphasised how it’s good for competition. How it’s always all about competition. Healthy competition. On the racetrack. It was experience talking. And confidence. It was class coming through.

It’s what separates the men from the boys. The chaff from the wheat. And Joanna Lumley from the Black Eyed Peas. We live in weird times.

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