By Hans Ebert

While Zac Purton chills out somewhere serving out the rest of his enforced holiday aka three day suspension, Silvestre de Sousa and Karis Teetan are apparently bobbing up and down to keep their rides on Dark Dream and Perfect Match, respectively.

Both riders were deputising for Purton at Sha Tin on Sunday, both won and both gallopers, especially the Frankie Lor trained Dark Dream, look like going to the uppermost of the toppermost, Johnny.

Of course it’s up to the owners to make that final decision as to who will ride their purchases, but one can’t exactly see the Zac Attack having any sleepless nights. He probably used all his persuasive skills to keep the rides before heading off for some chillin’ with Dylan. And Nicole and the rest of the family.

Dark Dream, the former Queensland Derby winner, looks something extra special and one cannot help but also feel that the success and popularity of Frankie Lor, below, signals a changing of the guard.

Just how deep this change goes through Hong Kong racing with many on and off the track facing retirement age will be interesting to see. Right now, it makes for an absorbing picture.

The same can be said about sporting clubs across the board. It’s about bringing in the new. But how much really good new executive talent is out there?

These aren’t the Eighties anymore and every business is looking for those game changers who can bring about Change- not chump change- that perhaps gives us the new Steve Jobs. Or is this wishful Pollyanna type thinking? The creative wheel seems to have fallen off in the past decade.

As for Frankie Lor, once an average local jockey before eventually becoming assistant trainer to John Size and gaining invaluable experience working with the master horseman, this season has seen the next episode of The Sorcerer and The Apprentice.

While John Size keeps training his share of regular doubles and trebles with Joao Moreira back as Tonto and his stable rider, and does things according to his timetable, Frankie Lor has come into his own. Faster than Usain Bolt. It’s probably something that’s been very much overlooked.

Having the once highly touted Bott-Waterhouse Thinkin’ Big bought at a price owners Peter and June Vance couldn’t refuse by Hong Kong connections and now part of the Lor portfolio speaks volumes.

There’s something ironic about gaining Thinkin’ Big. Everything surrounding Frankie Lor this season seems to be built around the theme of Think Big- big spending owners, bigger and better horses, big wins and with a champion trainer’s title a shot away. It has to happen.

Though Dennis Yip was the last champion local trainer, there’s not been a champion Made In Hong Kong trainer the calibre of Tony Cruz. There just might be now: Frankie Lor.

As written here recently, all those very much over-inflated prices being paid for new purchases from overseas might look like silly buys to foreign eyes. But not when they come when especially the Australian dollar is at quite a low and with “face” attached. This “face” is worth millions. It buys one into high society, helps business dealings, could lead to marriages of convenience, success on the stock market and every other single aspect of business at home and abroad. As Bob Dylan sang, Don’t criticise what you don’t understand. Or at least first understand it.

It’s been a long time since the Cantonese term “gweilo” (white devil) has been used so often. And not in exactly a friendly way. I’m a “sai yan”- foreigner. This is a different kettle of halibut. The term “gweilo”, which harks back to those bad old colonial days of the taipan and the not so Noble House, has made a comeback in Hong Kong.

It’s mentioned often. Yes, even in racing. About how many of the “gweilos” don’t understand how “we” think and see just how quickly everything is changing- the bilingual and trilingual media landscape, and new ways of looking at business and organisation charts. Horse racing in very much part of this cultural change in Hong Kong. Horse racing is almost the glue that holds it all together.

Of course there are “gweilos” and gweilos with some being irreplaceable and holding the right cards. It’s about when they play them.

To put it bluntly, right now, and it’s certainly not only Hong Kong, everyone is using each other with no one side knowing what the end game is and who’s going to win. Throwing people under the bus is seen every day, especially in Trumpland.

In Hong Kong, there’s change. But in its always inscrutable way, these changes take place without too many seeing that Exit sign until it hits them between the eyes. It’s high stakes poker.

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