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Of course it can’t be helped and it can’t be stopped. It’s where gullibility meets greed. Somehow, a bloodstock agent with no proven track record, and not much of anything, finds a mark in Hong Kong through someone who knows of one. Let’s call him Keyser.

Keyser knows someone not only with a permit for a new horse, but an ego that needs to be constantly massaged.

After decades of talk about owning horses all around the world, success on the turf still eludes him. More than anything else, there’s an enormous longing to belong to Hong Kong’s Big Horse Owners Club- at all costs.

Together with his friend Keyser on the inside, the bloodstock agent work on the mark.

The unknown and unproven agent is casually talked up by Keyser. It’s not long before the mark pays all travel and accommodation and the agent is in Hong Kong for night outs at expensive karaoke lounges with more expensive escorts.

The bloodstock agent with absolutely no proven track record mentions a horse he’s spotted who would be “perfect” for Hong Kong. It’s not. It’s another overpriced slow one. A horse completely unsuitable to racing in Hong Kong. Like a stayer needing at least 2000 metres and a Heavy track. How many 2000 metre races are there in Hong Kong in a season? Still, this horse is apparently a future champion. He’s been kept under the wraps.

The mark is sold. But how can he see his million dollar baby- the horse? Well, coincidentally, it happens to be trialling the week after. He’s invited to come down and watch the trial.

Not knowing Taree from Mudgee or Newmarket from Haymarket and a Heavy 8 from Heavy Metal, the owner flies down with his crew. They’re his eyes and ears and enablers with Keyser in the midst. Keyser plays both sides of the fence.

The horse absolutely bolts in. Wins eased down. Against three other runners, all hard held. The mark is over the moon. He believes he has the next Frankel. The trial was so impressive that the cost is now few hundred thousand dollars higher. There’s a big new bid in.

The new offer is met. There are a series of expensive dinners and nights to celebrate clinching the deal. The mark pays for these and leaves. The Sting has been sprung.

Of course, one can put this down to how there’s a new sucker born every day. But these stings continue to go on- extremely average conveyances sold for 4-5 times more than they’re worth to gullible Hong Kong owners with stars in their eyes and dreams of buying that very Chinese thing called “face” by winning the HK Derby. It’s always the Derby.

What happens? The expensive purchase arrives. A trainer is recommended. The trainers who know all about the owner and his lust for power and control wear a necklace made of garlic whenever he’s around.

Their stables are always too full for anything he might have. These are trainers who also only have those bloodstock agents who have delivered and continue to deliver. Who’s left for the owner? A trainer who is “compliant”. He desperately needs new owners.

Trackwork starts after around six weeks. The owner has his set plans. And timetable based on when he will be in town.

Everything looks good. The first start is planned. But this is usually only a pipe opener over a distance regarded as being too short. 2-3 more starts over unsuitable distances and the galloper is ready. He finally tackles the “perfect” distance.

The bloodstock agent is flown over. All expenses paid. The owner and his entourage are there. The money is on including a couple of grand for the agent. The celebratory dinner big enough to feed the forty thousand is planned. It’s going to be a big night. It’s like a song by Black Eye Peas about having a big big night. Win, lose or draw, the bloodstock agent just cannot lose.

Gates fly open. The galloper starts well. And then, starts to go backwards. In fact, it tails off. The owner is shattered. So is “face”.

The jockey is blamed. He didn’t follow orders. Whose orders? The owner’s. What about the trainer? He agrees with the owner. Of course. And so this goes on and on until the horse moves stables for better fung shui, drops a class, the jockey-go-round has run out of takers and nothing works.

The bloodstock agent then returns, blames the trainers (s) and, being the good guy that he is, offers to take over racing the horse back in Australia. He’ll cover all training costs. Just sign all the necessary papers and fly the horse over.

By the way, the owner has a Replacement Permit. He needs another horse. And guess what? The bloodstock agent has the “perfect” replacement. The Circle Game starts up again…

#horseracing #bloodstockagents #horses #suckered #HKracing #KeyserSoze