By Hans Ebert

Before returning to Sydney for family reasons, Tye Angland was seen by many as being a future champion Hong Kong jockey.

A surprise choice to many in Australia to receive a license to ride here- the doubters thought he was too young, an unknown, and wasn’t ready to cope with the goldfish bowl world of Hong Kong racing and the sharks and tadpoles swimming around the seaweed- the real surprise was how quickly the tall former rodeo rider adapted to everything going around him.

Hong Kong racing and the speed in which the city moves, like it’s done to many in every industry who have moved to Hong Kong over the decades, force people to grow up. Leave the innocence of country life behind and become more “international”. It’s kinda like being a Gloria Gaynor song. Change and learn to play the game or be prepared to be thrown under the bus.

By the time he had to leave to be with his family in Sydney, Tye Angland was seen as being just as good and deadly a competitor as Zac Purton. He was another iron man. Of course, this was before the arrival of Joao Moreira, who turned Hong Kong racing on its head by raising the bar.

After quickly becoming one of the leading and most consistent riders in Sydney along with Tim Clark who rode with him in Hong Kong until he, too, left when his family preferred the lifestyle back home, Tye Angland is back riding here this afternoon. It’s his first time back since 2014 following a quiet day riding some no-hopers at Rosehill yesterday- a call up for just the one meeting following a shortage of jockeys due to another round of suspensions and injuries.

These need some contingent plan. Though it’s good to have flying visits by some very good riders, there have been natterings from owners and trainers that the lack of consistency plays havoc with the best laid plans. And for which they pay the rent.

This afternoon, Angland receives most of his support from John Size. He’s also been booked by the champion trainer for the ride on Ivictory in the Group One Hong Kong Sprint next month. After two disappointing runs, regular rider Zac Purton has opted to ride the David Hall trained Little Giant which takes its place in the same race. Huh?

When did this Little Giant become a sprinter? Has he raced in any of the lead up races to the Hong Kong Sprint? Must have missed these.

The Zac Attack’s decision might also have something to do with the still somewhat fuzzy picture of Joao Moreira returning to Hong Kong on December 9 to be stable jockey for Size- but with the Brazilian magic man not shy to admit that he’s certainly not giving up on his dream of riding in Japan on a full time basis. Let that sink in.

Joao Moreira is a determined human being in every way. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with looking after número uno and knowing his worth. Sticks and stones etc. Here’s hoping everything works out. Hong Kong racing needs Joao Moreira and, right here and now, Joao Moreira and his family need the Hong Kong lifestyle.

As for this afternoon’s racing, it’s okay without being spectacular. Zac Purton and Karis Teetan look to have strong books of rides. But looks can be trappy affairs. None of these rides offer value.

There’ll be nothing better than for favourites to be rolled and for this to lead to some mouth watering jackpots built up and available during HKIR week.

Let’s not forget that there’s already a Six Up Bonus jackpot available next Wednesday. The odds of this again not being won? High.

The late barrister, great friend and local racing fan Kevin Egan would always remind those within earshot that to have a fighting chance to snare any of these jackpots, run away from watching any of those vacuous tipping programmes. “They know what the weather will be tomorrow and how the track will ride?” he would thunder. “They can’t even agree about speed maps!” He would then roar with laughter. We miss those no bullshit chats.

Other Eganisms were to ignore newspaper and online tipsters, those purposely misleading overnight odds and to never trust a jockey’s tips nor those tips emailed by trainers to owners and then forwarded and forwarded to hundreds of other people. Big Kev was on the money. There’s so much crap and clutter out there. And some incredibly boring people.

Where’s the possible value at Sha Tin today? Maybe the first race over the 1000m straight where the favourite might win. But one or two being kept on ice for another day, could break free like the Hulk and make their owners go home early to sign stable transfer papers. You’ve gotta laugh.

Sports Master might win Race 2, but who else for could fill the Quartet places whereas the fourth, eighth and ninth races have warning signs attached to them.

A Big Question Mark hangs over the silence of lambs surrounding runners from the Ricky Yiu stable? Did he leave Hong Kong with Michael Freedman? Remember Michael Freedman?

Other than Zac Purton riding first starter Excel Delight for King Size The Sprinter in the first- Karis Teetan had trialled the horse, but sticks with Multimillions- the interesting runner today is Harmony Hero who raced in Melbourne for two winning runs as the Tony Vasil trained Lina’s Hero.

The galloper was sold to Hong Kong connections at a Dolce and Gabanna price, but has still to deliver anything approaching a return on investment. Some in Australia have all kinds of conspiracy theories about its runs here, but they’re the usual load of codswallop.

With now trainer Richard Gibson, Harmony Hero is inconsistent. One jockey who knows the horse better than most says it’s simply not a betting proposition. That’s good enough for us.

Today, after coming ninth at its last run, it races down a class, is drawn barrier 11 over a suitable 1600 metres, and with another new jockey aboard: Alexis Badel. If nothing else, it will be fun watching the run.

In the meantime, congrats to all those involved in what was a very successful Railway Stakes Day and a brilliant four timer by the rider they call The Wizard- William Pike.

After an extremely strange ride at York earlier this week where he nearly came off favourite Smart Fox which never looked like even running a place, the wand was working again yesterday at Ascot. Pike rode four winners including taking out the big race aboard the Bob Peters owned Galaxy Star.

Simply put, Pike, who rode in Hong Kong some years ago and given limited opportunities, is many lengths better than any other rider in the state.

Should he get the call up when there’s another jockey shortage over here- and if Mr Bob releases him? Why not? We still cannot believe that the excellent Brenton Avdulla has never ridden in Hong Kong. Not even once. Weird. But Danny Nikolic did. For years.

As for William Pike, perhaps have him participate in a Hong Kong International Jockey’s Championship representing Australia? Or that still unknown racing territory to many Eastsiders called Perth? Why not? There’ve been far stranger invites over the years.

As for Bob Peters, he practically owns horse racing in Western Australia. He has the best horses, he gives the riding instructions and is a soft spoken gentleman who’s a tad creepy looking.

He also doesn’t seem to mind the Bob Goldbraith sounding Gareth Hall from Tabtouch Radio, not the most subtle nor suave of interviewers in horse racing, screaming into his face after a race while laughing at his own jokes. It’s all very bizarre.

Even stranger is when Hall aka The G Man gets together with co-host Steve Butler, become Beavis and Butthead and guffaw at their own jokes. Well, at least it takes the pomposity and unnecessary arrogance and pretentiousness out of horse racing. It’s like looking under Sheikh Mo’s robes and maybe finding Ricky Yiu.

#HKracing #TyeAngland #KarisTeetan #ZacPurton #JoaoMoreira #WilliamPike #BobPeters #BrentonAvdulla #HansEbert #RailwayStakes #GalaxyStar #RWWA #TABtouch