By Hans Ebert

Ten years from now, maybe fifteen, the Brazilian Magic Man and the Australian Zac Attack will probably be chilling out together on some porch outside a villa or a hacienda somewhere in the world and exchanging stories about their time in Hong Kong.

However, in the here and now, and at a time when the world and sporting events around the world are in lockdown mode and reduced to television viewing, horse racing in Hong Kong has a twice weekly reality series starring two of the best riders in the world.

Both give as good as they get, they don’t give an inch either way and ride to win. It’s a wonderful horse opera with both riders having strong fan bases in their corner and cheering them on.

The intense rivalry between the two only heightens the excitement and interest at a time when horse racing needs to keep going and also take a breather and see where it might be heading- and who’s coming along for the ride and what they’re bringing to the party.

It’s not unlike every other industry and every other leisure activity: this virus, or whatever it is, has changed the world forever, and, with it, the ways in which consumers think. It’s understanding not what to sell them, but what they might be willing to buy into. Big difference.

For horse racing, it’s the above and also about attracting new sponsors and business partners to the negotiation table, sealing the deal and facing the fact that money will be too tight to mention for many who have been living la vida loca with a blank cheque book.

There’s also the inevitable to consider- how nothing lasts forever and that unlike what Irena Cara once sang, no one’s going to live forever.

Seeing Joao Moreira and Zac Purton do battle twice a week, and, all the time inspiring the other to raise their game, is a priceless reality show with all Rights belonging to the HKJC.

It offers a glimpse into the future- like how horse racing can keep its captive audience, but take more chances when it comes to fine tuning and packaging their racing product so that it attracts those who see something uniquely different to the pastime.

Let’s remember what they say about not being able to see the forest for the trees. And also barking up the same tree.

Like Butch and Sundance, Batman and Superman, there’s something very special about the rivalry between The Zac Attack and The Magic Man.

It’s something that’s captured the imagination of racing fans around the world. They are seeing it on one level. But it’s the next wave of racing fans standing in the sidelines who will force and inspire change. Like perhaps even simplifying the wagering landscape.

We might not understand it now, but all this self isolation and self distancing and working within lockdown mode might be one of the best things that could happen to help us open our minds and prioritise and welcome the new normal.

As Grace Slick once sang, “Feed your head”. This time around, we won’t need a tab of acid to do this.

#ZacPurton #JoaoMoreira #HKracing #horseracing #hongkong #competitiveness