By Hans Ebert



The simulcast of seven races shown from Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town on Sun Met Day brought in a cool HK$149 million in co-mingling turnover for the HKJC.

Why? How? And when this simultaneous broadcast was shown on a Saturday evening?

With Edward Sadler and jockey Callan Murray doing a good job of holding down the fort in the studio in Hong Kong, it showed the historically strong ties between the two racing jurisdictions- and perhaps even the stronger ties that lie ahead.

Apprentice Luke Ferraris one day riding in Hong Kong? Yes. More and more South African bred horses purchased by Hong Kong Chinese owners? Yes.

Trainer Tony Millard, below with in-demand South African rider Grant van Niekerk, is on a mission to make this happen.

As for the races last night, Hong Kong time, Anton Marcus rode a treble including taking out The Grade 1 Met on the Eric Sands trained Rainbow Bridge.

Marcus is brother of legendary former champion Hong Kong jockey Basil Marcus who rode with enormous success in the city for trainers Ivan Allan and David Hayes until his retirement and the start of the Whyte Years.

Anton Marcus is also known for beating local favourite Able Friend and winning the 2014 Hong Kong Champions Mile with arrogant ease aboard the great Mike de Kock trained South African galloper Variety Club.

Anton Marcus got the ball rolling by winning on 2 to 1 favourite Cirillo in the first race shown in Hong Kong.

Other names in South Africa familiar to the knowledgeable and professional Hong Kong racing enthusiasts would have been the popular Richard Fourie, who rode a double, Pierre Strydom, S’manga Khumalo, Greg Cheyne, Gavin Lerena, Mark Khan and Bernard Fayd’Herbe, most of whom have ridden in Hong Kong. Trainers also known to quite a few in Hong Kong? Justin Snaith and Brett Crawford.

Think of the strong South African influence on Hong Kong racing that exists in the city today- trainers David Ferraris and Tony Millard plus riders Douglas Whyte, Karis Teetan, Chad Schofield, Callan Murray and Grant van Niekerk, below.

Think of all the South African riders who have ridden in Hong Kong other than Whyte and Basil Marcus- Felix Coetzee, Robbie Fradd, Jeff Lloyd, Glyn Schofield and Anthony Delpech who was associated with the David Ferraris trained Champion Hong Kong galloper Vengeance Of Rain, below.

The South African invasion started with champion Hong Kong trainer Brian Kan recruiting the great Bart Leisher as his stable jockey, a move which broke the stranglehold Australian riders had on Hong Kong racing.

So, turnover of HK$149 million? Makes sense. Made In South Africa for Hong Kong racing fans works. It always has. It’s a rush.

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