It’s happened before, but it really struck home on Wednesday- another Happy Wednesday night at the HKJC venue adrenaline at Happy Valley Racecourse.

Maybe it happened because of the sudden self-realisation that we’re so often swept up in and amongst so much pomposity and pretentiousness that we tend to veer towards becoming those we often despise. Too deep?

Horse racing might not like to admit it to itself, but there’s a helluva lot of bloated pomposity surrounding it. There’s nothing “technically” wrong in getting dressed to the nines and enjoying tea and scones with Hooray Henry and Henrietta and making damn sure that the online selfie world sees this, but to each their own.

As Lennon sang on “Revolution”, “You can count me out- no, in”. There are those moments when despite our promise to be true to ourselves, we enjoy soaking in pretentious fandom. It’s those fifteen minutes of fame. But they less even less than that.

On this particular Happy Wednesday, a friend of a friend from the land Down Under whom I had never met before came up to adrenaline to meet up. It was the first time he had gone racing in Hong Kong and he was, as McDonald’s would say, Lovin’ It. Every second minute of it.

That he won on the night was the icing on the cake. But the Happy Wednesday cake, particularly this night, came with all the right ingredients. This was not the allegorical cake Jimmy Webb, then a young, struggling tunesmith , wrote about on “MacArthur Park” for Actor Richard Harris and which he turned into almost suicidal heartbreak.

The racing on this Happy Wednesday wasn’t the usual roll call of short priced favourites winning. Non-winners at very good value won their first races of the new Hong Kong racing, and despite the much written and mentioned Summer of Social Unrest in the city, the conversation at adrenaline was about who won what, what the Double and Quartet paid and getting back to music from the resident band.

Canto-pop star Aaron Kwok was downstairs at the track to watch his horse run, which excited the local paparazzi, but he was just a very short interlude before watching the last race of the night and, afterwards, taking in the ‘live’ music until midnight.

As for my new friend from Oz and myself, there was an exchange of happy family snaps, chats about different betting strategies and reminiscing about some of our more successful days at the races plus just what an outstanding atmosphere a Happy Wednesday provides.

This last point was something that resonated with me later that night and into the next day.

Being part of the Happy Wednesday family as opposed to this being a team, there’s an immense sense of pride in making these nights successful- successful by making them enjoyable for everyone there.

It’s a sense of satisfaction along with there being a refreshing and emotional sense of attachment to these nights.

At least for myself, I don’t find this emotional attachment anywhere at Sha Tin. It’s why I don’t bother making the pilgrimage over there. I’m not a horse racing “fan boy” and don’t care about “the beauty” or “the beast”. There’s nothing in it for me. There’s no return of investment on my time in wearing a bow tie and rubbing elbows with the hoi polloi. It might work for others. And that’s fine. It does nada for me.

Happy Wednesday is different. And needed. With Hong Kong ebbing and flowing in a sea of uncertainty, a Happy Wednesday night offers many some much-needed shelter from the storm.

The Beer Garden is the venue for one big international chilled night out. The group of the most international riders in the world adds to this United Colours Of Benetton poster.

Adrenaline simply happens through osmosis and some magic. The resident band is family. We care about each other. It’s more than a gig. The staff do the best that they can. And the band plays on…

We appreciate that the CEO of the HKJC makes the time to come up to adrenaline after the last race, joins us, and takes in the atmosphere. It’s a very important small gesture. A bigger gesture is when he takes off his tie and becomes some German dude who introduces himself as Winfried.

The next day when saying goodbye to a friend leaving town, she mentioned in passing the importance of reminding myself about what makes me happy.

Taking in a Happy Wednesday is a great reminder. Too often, I don’t think we who work and have fun to make these nights happen see this. Or we forget to switch off long enough to look at its “product personality” from the outside looking in.

A Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley Racecourse really is Hong Kong’s happy meeting place. When needing a fix of happiness, it really is the only show in town- and the truest ongoing reality series with a wonderful cast of characters.

It’s horse racing- but it transcends horse racing. It’s life and how life is worth living with those who make you happy around you. The rest? Who cares? Life’s too short to take in the strays.

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