By Hans Ebert

While Hong Kong was painted in a Sunday sea of black by those protesting the contentious extradition bill- and, no doubt much more than this- plus demanding the Days Of Future Passed of befuddled Chief Executive Carrie Lam trying all she can to survive by making U-turns, pressing the “pause” button and now desperately trying to be seen as the “Mother Earth Of Hong Kong”, there were a few rays of sunshine and Feel Good moments at Sha Tin.

Gawd knows, Hong Kong needs these to survive the bleakness of it all. There must be some signs of a brighter future. And there’s no time like the present for this.

With horse racing playing such a vital role in understanding the mood of this unique city and thousands needing their four hours to enjoy their favourite pastime with no interruptions and no commercial breaks, there was something to finally cheer after almost a week of non-stop battle lines being drawn with Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” playing in one’s head.

There was a treble from Joao Moreira which brought up his 800th win in Hong Kong and something done in double-quick time.

Has anyone else achieved this magic number this quickly- and despite a stop-start riding career in Hong Kong? Doubt it.

Numbers aside, it signalled that the Brazilian magic man is back and finding his stride (and working on his business strategy) for next season when he returns as a Club jockey and free agent.

Winning aboard the very impressive Winning Method for trainer Danny Shum showed that though Size- John Size matters when it comes to a support system- there’s still a need to throw that net out as wide as possible.

His 800th winner in Hong Kong was in the fourth race aboard the aptly named Such A Happiness for Benno Yung.

To show just how good a choreographer he is, Joao Moreira added to this number in the very next race by winning on the John Size trained Beauty Applause for the powerful SaSa racing dynasty ruled by the Kwok family.

That’s the thing about Joao Moreira: his timing. As a rider and a marketer, he knows when and how to win over the media and racing fans. And owners. There’s that glint in his eyes and something special in even he gives that thumbs up sign. He knows how to work it. And why not?

Whereas things somehow have a way of falling into place for the magic man, there are those other riders who need to constantly keep proving themselves to build up even semi permanent support systems.

Alberto Sanna, who’s battled some serious injuries this season to return with even greater positivity to race riding, returned from the wilderness by bringing home the 35-1 winner Great Treasure for trainer Me Tsui.

It was a win that said, “Look at me! I’m fit and I am ready to ride more winners!” And with a habit of riding long-priced winners on horses that have often not clicked with other riders, there’s now a new iron man in Hong Kong racing.

Alberto Sanna is winning over those horse owners who want to see their horses win- and at good odds. It doesn’t matter if these horses are in the lower grades. A winner is a winner is a winner.

It’s been a hard and tough road back for the iron man from Sardinia. But with this win, he’s now back and with the motivation and inspiration that was needed.

Another injury-plagued rider this season- Keith Yeung- rode a much-needed double as did the Poon Train aka Matthew Poon whereas what could not be ignored was the significance of the winner ridden by relative new boy to the Hong Kong riding ranks in Aldo Domeyer, below.

Watching the terrific ride to come through on the inside to win on Good Beauty said much. It said that there just might be someone special on the scene.

How, along with good friend and countryman Grant van Niekerk, here’s another South African rider who just might be the latest in a long list of names from that country to find their mojo- and future- in the international world of Hong Kong racing.

Other than the ride- a very very good ride- what’s significant about this win was that it was Aldo Domeyer’s first ride for the powerful John Moore stable and, yes, another winner for Family SaSa, who races all those “Beauty” horses including that very special galloper called Beauty Generation.

As for Hong Kong today, despite all the passion and the desperate calls for change and great shows of strength and solidarity, where’s it all going to end?

How is this great divide that exists going to be fixed?With Chief Executive Carrie Lam stepping down? And then what? And replaced by…?

More protests about something new? And then what? New umbrellas? The usual handwringing on social media by overnight political pundits?

What’s the exit plan? And will this lead to a better tomorrow?

Time will tell. But answers can’t be put on Pause for much longer. And questions asked need clarity.

#hongkong #HKracing #JoaoMoreira #AlbertoSanna #AldoDomeyer #CarrieLam #ExtraditionBill #protests