By Hans Ebert

Douglas Whyte will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the last race meeting of the season on Sunday. That’s nice. Not to be repetitive, but after everything I have written about this very special athlete over the decades, why the hell not?

Legend is a term not used lightly. Douglas Whyte is a legend. The respect he commands was easy to see at this week’s Happy Wednesday After Race Party. He didn’t have to steal the show. The show needed him. And, as always, he chose who to be with. Having known him for what seems like forever, action speak louder than words and Douglas Whyte has the unique knack of being able to is manipulate being manipulated. This takes skill and seeing through the, well, bullshit.

When Douglas Whyte won his tenth consecutive Hong Kong Jockeys Championship, I wrote and “petitioned” that this very special rider should be in the Guinness Book Of World Records. How he’s eligible. And how to ensure this happens was just about reading the fine print. But either no one was listening, or wanted to bother.

There’s a Chinese version of the Guinness Book Of World Records, and taking the time out to meet the person who owned the “rights”, this was an easy “fix”. But, Nah.

This wasn’t how Douglas Whyte should be remembered in the Big Book Of World Records. It should be because of everything he had accomplished as far back as 2010.

To say that the HKJC dropped the ball on that one would be an understatement. The thud is heard today.

Douglas Whyte being in the Guinness Book Of World Records would have been a marketing dream, something which might even have more relevance today- and when he starts the latest chapter of his career in horse racing next season as a trainer.

Awards are fine. But like winning a Grammy or an Emmy or an Oscar or an Espy or a Clio, and a Cannes Gold Lion for advertising, or even the anti Hollywood award called the Razzie for Worst Performance in a movie, awards are forgettable.

They’re nice to win, good to own and great to show the grandkids. And on Sunday, Douglas Whyte will receive his All Time Achievement Award. Nice.

As one has seen before- and pretty recently- there’ll be a nice video of his greatest achievements as a jockey and lots of champagne being sprayed in his direction. Nice.

Sure, it’s more than Zac Purton being hurriedly presented a nice blue cloth cap for riding his thousandth winner in Hong Kong, but there’s this gnawing feeling that, like that awfully ponderous song screams out, there’s something Shallow about all this industry backslapping.

Especially in this pretty weird socially driven world, there’s a strange mix out there of shallowness, pretentiousness, goofiness and laziness of simply missing the point.

Token gestures are just that. Empty. It’s why Marlon Brando sent a Native American Indian princess to pick up his Oscar. It was him him giving Hollywood and black tie pomposity the two finger salute.

Where’s the beef? Where’s the relevance? How can these awards be more than what they are today, which is one more corporate and soulless brick in the wall?

In Hong Kong, there’s still no Racing Hall Of Fame. Surely, there should be one?

Why not a red carpet event where new inductees are introduced every year- and this is key- made to be something really special? Made to be more than what expects? More than another shallow exercise in elitism?

Bring in marquee value names from other sports industries to join in what should be a celebration of everything these winners have achieved. Bring in artists like Sia or Pink or, okay, Bruno Mars.

It’s coming up to 2020 and the rattling of teacups and jewellery continues to the soundtrack of Muzak and become forgettable Instagram moments.

There’s so much more that can be done. But it seems that Okay is good enough. It never is.

#DouglasWhyte #HKracing #awards