By Hans Ebert

I’m so happy and proud for my friend Karis Teetan who won last night’s Hong Kong International Jockeys Championship.

He’s not the only one to have gone through a rags to riches story, but it’s still been an incredible and almost religious experience for this Mauritian rider.

When he saw me at the After Race Party last night and hugged and half seriously said, “Us brown boys gotta stick together”, I got it.

My parents arrived in Hong Kong from Ceylon penniless. Being the first coloured kid in primary school, I had to prove myself- and continued to prove myself- in advertising, in the music industry and in life.

Think it was easy marrying a Lutheran minister’s white daughter from St Louis at a time when mixed marriages were taboo?

This is why I am happy for the win of Karis. It shows how much the world has changed and continues to change and that old prejudices are being brought down.

This win was more than about horse racing. There was a sense of community about the win.

For a brown boy like me, I truly appreciated Zac Purton, especially, making the time to celebrate this night with us despite being tired, no doubt dehydrated and with the races on Sunday on his mind. It said and meant much.

For those who took a pass and were a no show, well, that also said much. Didn’t say much about them really.

All in all, for someone to whom horse racing is, as the song goes, “a passing fancy that in time will go”, last night at Adrenaline made me think that there’s more to it than “the punt”. That horse racing has a heart and soul and respect. That despite all the competitiveness, there’s still a sense of family.

Thanks, Karis. Your success is a great inspiration for many you will never meet, but who are so proud of what you have achieved.

Amen, brother.