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There are those very rare times when one actually feels sorry for a racing club. Those rare times when one wins, but still believes they have been hard done by. There’s just no pleasing that strange species known as…Punters.

It happened at Sha Tin on Tuesday when the Six Up BONUS paid a meagre $289 for a $10 ticket. Every chicken farmer in Yuen Long and throughout the New Territories must have snared that. And together with the FREE photo frame to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the opening of the racetrack at Sha Tin, it was a bumper day for them.

Not so for those who usually spend $640 on their Six Ups by taking two horses in each of the six races and have no idea what to do with a photo frame in this digital age.

Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing- but this isn’t hindsight talking. Looking at the card, at least four horses stood out. A bright light hovered around all four. Placing a sizeable 4×1 screamed out, “Mama, take these guns offa me!” Even if each paid 2s, the maths would be 2x2x2x2. Not just to the farmers in Yuen Long and those who cram into the many HKJC Off Course Betting Centres, but 16 to 1 is not chicken feed. How many 16 to 1 pops does one get in horse racing? Or even an 8 to 1 winner? Plus a FREE photo frame. Never forget the photo frame.

Just a thought but couldn’t there be kinda different- and collectible- merchandise for racing fans like these below- just for a change of pace?

Also worth remembering is the quintet of winners by the new-look Size-Moreira combination, 3-4 of these being sizzling hot king prawn favourites. Horses don’t know they’re favourites. And both John Size and Joao Moreira want to train and ride winners, respectively.

For them, there’s always the thrill of winning for the owners and themselves plus the prize money that day and what might be in store for some of their winners in the months ahead, especially, the very impressive Conte and Waikuku.

Race caller Woody got so excited about the win of (Kunta) Conte that he screamed out something in that Roger Moore shaken and stirred voice about the galloper having “the engine of a Rolls Royce” and the something of something else. The sincerity of Nancy Pelosi? The smile of Desmond Tutu? The oily charm of actor Richard Conte, below in another unmemorable movie? Who knows?

Also interesting is Waikuku whose ownership is under the name of Jocelyn Siu of the Siu horse racing dynasty. She’s quite a winner herself.

As for Joao Moreira, what can one say that hasn’t been said time and time again: Charismatic, magical, hugely popular despite a somewhat shaky return after the sojourn in Japan and win, lose or draw, a very likeable person. It’s not just me who thinks this either.

A newcomer to Hong Kong from the UK and big racing fan who was at Sha Tin for the first time is completely sold on the Brazilian magic man. She now understands the Samba.

Trent Germain, a young rider in Australia was interviewed this week on RSN in Melbourne and was asked who he admires: Joao Moreira.

Last week, our friend Jordie who performs with the Latino band Carnivale was happily surprised when the rider, pictured with the band below a couple of years ago, on his way to the barriers, made the time to stop, say Hello and that he was back in Portuguese and wish him a Merry Christmas.

Little things. But also big things to those on the receiving end of that Joao Moreira charm offensive. Nothing forced. It’s just how he is. Plus being one of the world’s best riders. Perhaps even the best.

Staying on track, others to follow from the January 1 meeting are The Big Party, another galloper from the Frankie Lor yard which shows enormous potential. It won eased down by Grant van Niekerk.

Also very impressive was the win of Regency Legend with Zac Purton deputising for the suspended Neil Callan.

What’s quite baffling about horse racing is when asked if you fancy something, and you tip them eight winners, but they’re fobbed off as being “too hot”. This is when one realises why many don’t like tipping anything, not even a waiter, as this leads to the nauseating Blame Game.

It’s also proof positive that many don’t follow the herd and have their own betting strategies. This has nothing to do with studying all kinds of stats or watching those tedious television tipping programmes that are not only lacking in anything close to entertaining, but seemingly designed for viewers to lose.

It has to do with playing the odds and doing the maths according to one’s budget. It’s like any other investment. And betting strategies will continue to evolve if and when new players decide to participate instead of being cynical onlookers.

How will this happen? When they believe in their heart of hearts that they won’t lose. No racing app can convince them otherwise.

It’s more than food for thought for racing clubs that they must have those in their employ who know how to break the pattern. Surely enough with the tedious recycling of irrelevance?

As for those who like backing no hopers because they offer value, one might as well back every horse ridden by Eddie Lai. Speaking of whom, Eddie, in the twilight of his career, might just startle some this afternoon by winning on Chung Wah Spirit in Race 5. Stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile, though the Magic Man looks like having a quiet day with just one or two winners, the Zac Attack looks set to strike, Alberto Sanna might have a much deserved Welcome Back winner while the Douglas Whyte juggernaut might take flight. Again.

Apart from going extremely close to winning the third race on Styling City, the Whyte man has good place chances on Happy Happy Star, Le Panache, Endearing and, perhaps, John Moore’s Classic Beauty in the last.

This is an interesting race with Moore also represented by Easy Go Easy Win, a name that makes no sense to us, but a galloper definitely with a big chance here and with Silvestre de Sousa aboard.

John Size has two runners- Time To Celebrate (Moreira), which seems to go around every other week, and the far more interesting Enrichment (Clipperton). Sam Clipperton desperately needs another winner this season. So do a few other jockeys.

Frankie Lor brings out Furore and Heavenly Thought for their second runs this season. Then there’s the highly expensive European import Tigre Du Terre who ran a huge race for connections and the Caspar Fownes yard on his debut last month at 142 to 1.

With his mission being the Hong Kong Derby in March, we think he’ll run a very good race, but if starting favourite, we’d rather have a pomme de terre.

Zac Purton is on Charity Go for Danny Shum which has an outstanding winning chance whereas the Tony Cruz debutant Helene Leadingstar with Karis Teetan aboard could do just that- lead and be a star. Just go with the flow, man. It’s an extremely good betting race. Something to make a song and dance about.

Finally for those in horse racing nattering on about “social media”, these are purely delivery platforms. It’s still about knowing copywriting, producing a relevant and breakthrough creative product and choosing the right medium for the message. It’s not rocket science. It’s just been given the illusion that it is. “Social media” is a ponzie scheme. It’s like love.

When in the current cricket Test match between Australia and India there included some good natured banter aka “sledging” between chirpy young Indian wicketkeeper Panta and Aussie captain Tim Paine who kept being called “temporary captain”, he challenged Panta to help out and be a “temporary babysitter” so he could take wife Bonnie on a date.

Challenge accepted and a photograph that’s gone viral on Instagram- and reported on Twitter. Brilliant stuff that’s introduced cricket to those who wouldn’t otherwise give a toss about searching for any information about the game.

Those running horse racing better get really and finally get with the programme and change with the times instead of drinking from that half empty glass. It’s making horse racing look boring and pedestrian- and not exciting, and FUN.

Cricket? Fun? It is now- at least for a while.

#HKracing #JoaoMoreira #JohnSize #Waikuku #Conte #DouglasWhyte #JohnMoore #FrankieLor #ZacPurton #merchandise #Pant #BonniePaine #cricket