By Hans Ebert

It should literally be a real Beauty of a race meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday afternoon where it’s Sasa Ladies Purse Day and one sees “Image Girl” Miss Kelly Cheung atop a horse seemingly interested in her quite wonderfully slim legs promoting the event and asking everyone to “Be Beautiful” and “Be Part Of It”.

If not so beautiful? Just fight the various traffic diversions along the way to Sha Tin that usually come into play on a Sunday these days and, especially at night, when certain members of the Snowflake Generation come out to play in the name of “democracy” and new online hashtags and bring most of the city to a standstill by deploying their troops to create a little “fun” mayhem. But this is a minor blip. The races go on in its own little bubble and with the HKJC taking every precaution to ensure that n’er the twain shall meet.

The popular Sasa brand, a true Hong Kong success story belongs to the horse racing dynasty of husband and wife Simon and Eleanor Kwok. This means that the card is almost overflowing with their Beauty branded horses- except, at least for the time being, their flagship equine star Beauty Generation, which is under the ownership of heir apparent Patrick, below left. The little prince has his own clothing line called The Derby.

There’ll be plenty of Beauty to go around- the four and two legged kind.

Ladies Purse Day really is a huge marketing opportunity for Sasa to promote their product. And, as they have done for many years, expect them to pull out all stops with on-course red carpet fashion shows, this year’s Sasa ambassadress, guest appearances by popular local television personalities and one of those rare chances and events for some ladies in Hong Kong to visit a milliner.

As for the racing, the Group 3 Sa Sa Ladies Purse run over 1800 metres appears to be a two horse race- Exultant, having his first start of the season, and the race fit Southern Legend. The former has regular pilot The Zac Attack aboard whereas the latter has the in-demand and very much in-form Alberto Sanna to guide the Fownes runner around the course.

There just might be a fly in the ointment- the very lightly weighted Ho Ho Khan with Vincent Ho on top.

If having shaken off the after-effects of appearing in a shockingly random and untimely piece of “communications” for Halloween produced by some misguided genius at the HKJC, Ho Ho Khan and Ho- Vincent Ho- could go Ho Ho Ho in the day’s Cup race.

Elsewhere, ten-pound claiming apprentice Alfred Chan- “Alfie” to his mates on the Trackside Team just as Regan Bayliss is now “Reggie”- looks to have some good chances.

Interesting is first starter General’s Delight (1) in the fourth race.

Formerly trained by Toby Edmonds on the Sunshine Coast and, apparently, quite an expensive purchase, the galloper is now under the care of the astute Douglas Whyte. Having had a necessary name change for Hong Kong, General’s Delight is drawn well, and should go close.

Whyte’s Victory Power takes his place in the second race and will have “Alfie” on top, who’s already ridden a winner for the trainer- Big Fortune.


Victory Power is another of his runners that should go close to winning for the Whyte Man. So could Relentless Me (2) in the fifth race, with, again “Alfie” aboard for Dougie.

Dougie and photo bombing thumb

“Reggie” again rides Adonis for Dougie, which was his first winner as a trainer, in race 1 and given a good patient ride by, well, “Reggie”.


This time, however, from barrier 10 and over 1200 metres, the galloper, who’s gone through some positive psychological changes under his new trainer, might have too much to do. But one should never count “Reggie” out who scored last week with another very good ride aboard Mr Wealth, which slipped under the guard of many, but not to those who mattered. There was an army of them to lead in the winner.

Of course, the duopoly of The Zac Attack and the Magic Man have their usual quota of winning chances which doesn’t mean that everyone else gets the crumbs. This is just a feeble excuse. It’s become tedious.

The popular Karis Teetan is hardly hurting for rides. Neither are Vincent Ho and Grant van Niekerk. It’s good to see Chad Schofield, below, gain more and more support and the same can be said about The Man From Sardinia.


Of course, trainers will utilise “Alfie” with his 10-pound weight allowance and Matthew Poon whereas Alexis Badel, who takes up his short riding stint in Hong Kong from today and with Silvestre de Sousa about to make his presence felt, are certain to have their supporters.

Hong Kong racing is far from being a closed shop. It only is for those ninnies who receive the opportunity to ride here and then squander this by thinking everything is going to magically fall into place and that it will be an armchair ride.

Nothing in life is easy- especially in the cutthroat world of horse racing everywhere in the world.

Horse racing is going through very many changes, some obvious, others not so obvious, not even to those on Twitter.

It’s much more than Linda Meech losing a ride that, personally speaking, she never should have, Michelle Payne tweeting in her defence- and being fined for this- now to add to all the gloom and doom of THAT documentary and aired right in the midst of the Melbourne Spring Carnival, a gender war brewing, and, the news yesterday that Stephen Baster was trading in being a jockey to try his hand in the real estate business.

There will be a spate of current jockeys getting off the racing merry-go-round. And trainers, and strappers, and stable hands- ALL those unsung heroes that keep horse racing ticking. Watch.

Speaking of Twitter, social media itself is changing overnight and, with these changes, will be questions as to how and where horse racing can enjoy the popularity it once did- and by whom. These aren’t the Eighties and the Village People now own condos.

It’s a very different world out there. And horse racing is looking old. Forget that “living the dream” prattle. Save that for delusional self-promotion on Facebook.

Bottom line: Horse racing is facing a gaping big generation gap. It’s been left unattended for way too long. Inept hires haven’t helped. Keeping them on despite mistake after mistake shows poor management. Once this becomes de rigeur, those houses of cards crumble and hard questions are asked when the answers are very clear.

Of course, some in horse racing have had a great run and been paid handsomely for what they brought to the game.

Many are well overpaid despite continuing to bring nothing to the table except for more warmed up corporate waffles and that horrible sense of déjà vu. Their theme song is the dreadful “Shallow”.

There’s now a need for many of these senior citizens to pass the baton. But to whom when there are fewer and fewer takers whereas those who CAN bring about change are bailing?

Why are they bailing? They don’t believe that the current corporate horse racing world is for them. And that there are greener indie pastures elsewhere where they have a free rein to create their own destiny. They could be very right.

#HKracing #horseracing #Sasa #LadiesPurseDay #LindaMeech #StephenBaster #leadership #marketing