By Hans Ebert

It happens often: keep expectations to a low hum and life does the rest by turning around and surprising you with everything you weren’t expecting- and in a good way. And so it was yesterday when channel surfing between the news on CNN and the horse racing at Shatin.

It had been written earlier in the week that this Jockey Club Day was the “worst” in its history- small fields in the three Group races and all too familiar gallopers going around.

This “worst” Jockey Club Day decided to rewrite the script through just letting action speak louder than words.

The results and post-mortem of each race will be covered by professional racing writers. I simply write. Mainly about music which is a large part of my life and anything and everything to do with creativity. Horse racing is a bit of a side project. A hobby.

Yesterday, this hobby managed to pull me out of the funk of watching a world gone mad. Instead, it filled my head with the dose of positivity needed. There were a number of those moments…

Though an animal lover, I am not a real “horsey” person. I don’t live and breathe horses. I do appreciate their beauty and in racing, their athleticism. It has to do with where I was born, those who are part of my life and the industries I have worked in.

Having said this, listening to Vincent Ho being interviewed after Golden Sixty blew away the chasing pack in the Jockey Club Mile and choked up describing his favourite horse as a “good boy”, what a “smart boy” he is and how, as a jockey, he’s so privileged to be part of the journey with Golden Sixty, well, this made me smile. It reminded me of that special bond between man and horse.

(Photo: Wallace Wan)

While watching the races at Shatin, the other eye was on seeing America coming apart at the seams.

With Thanksgiving weekend approaching and all kinds of warnings being announced about travelling and the dangers of a virus that had captured many and were running lives, I thought what my ex-wife and our daughter- both Americans- might be going through. Hopefully, they can afford a smile.

Vincent Ho’s words gave me something positive to hold onto as Bill Withers sang, “Lean On Me” in the background. We desperately need these moments to give our lives a purpose.

There was also the sheer spontaneous joy from Joao Moreira in riding three winners including two of the three Group races. The Magic Man wears his heart on his sleeve. It’s good to see.

(Photo: Wallace Wan)

Having interviewed Joao twice recently about everything except horse racing, and knowing the importance he places on family and keeping things positive plus, his exuberance was and is infectious. Again, it was something needed.

(Photo: Wallace Wan)

So was seeing the grit and determination of Neil Callan to ride a double and, most likely, book himself a place with Team Hong Kong at the upcoming International Jockeys Championship. They might not have been wins in a Group race, but they could have been.

(Photo: Wallace Wan)

“The worst Jockey Club Day ever”? Don’t think so.

More importantly, we’re all looking for some inspiration in our lives- something from anywhere to allow the light into the darkness around us.

On Sunday, it came from watching a race meeting. This should not be lost on the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

This pandemic has been a great leveller at a time when priorities have changed and everything- everything- is looked at differently. Nothing is what it used to be and needs to see its role in what’s more the new abnormal than the new normal.

#HKracing #JockeyClubDay #GoldenSixty #VincentHo #JoaoMoreira #NeilCallan #horseracing