By Hans Ebert

By the time we in Hong Kong started watching Met Day at Kenilworth in South Africa, Justin Snaith had already trained three winners. Yah. In the first race shown here in one of those often surreal simulcasts where different voices ping pong and come at audiences from all over the place without actually seeing who’s saying what and from where, Snaith combined with Richard Fourie to win with the favourite Pinkerton.

Hosting the simulcast from somewhere in Hong Kong were Edward Sadler and Declan Schuster.

If there were any Hong Kong racing fans watching, they would have been reminded what a good, tough rider Fourie is without resorting to the “persuader” following his two stop-start-adios stints in Hong Kong. The talented Fourie simply didn’t enjoy riding here, had good offers from South Africa and was happy to pack his saddle and return home.

As for Justin Snaith, personally speaking, and despite the incredible success in his homeland, seeing him one day ply his trade in Hong Kong wouldn’t at all surprise. He ticks all the boxes. Listening to one of his post race speeches, Snaith is also campaigning very hard for a stronger relationship with Hong Kong racing.

Also ticking all the boxes and surely almost definitely bound for Hong Kong is young Luke Ferraris. Son of trainer David Ferraris and the new flag bearer of the famous racing family’s dynasty, the talented and successful young rider was seen at his best when winning the next race aboard the very impressive first starter Ambiorix for Trainer Vaughan Marshall.

There was a Fiona speaking to a Michelle- Michelle Rix who, with her father Hugh Crawford trains Kommetdieding. The top weight ended up winning the next race for rider- and an emotional- Sihi Cele.

One thinks the great Michael De Kock was also interviewed about this race- but who knows?We thought we heard his voice while making a mushroom salad with cucumber and basil. It was delicious. Yum.

Riding in the race were Fourie, Ferraris and other names well known to Hong Kong racing fans- Anton Marcus, Gavin Lerena, Greg Cheyne, Aldo Domeyer and the very popular and naturally talented Grant van Niekerk, who many of us would love to see welcomed back to Hong Kong.

It was then time for The Met and Ed and Decs joined wherever they were by The Cat- the great Felix Coetzee for his thoughts- and he provided some great insights on The Met, a race he won over forty years ago.

This really should have been heard at the very start of the simulcast. Felix was excellent and, of course, bloody knowledgeable.

Felix? Up at 10.30pm? On a day before the Hong Kong races??? Wow! And if on a Zoom call, was he in his pyjamas?

And The Met? What a brilliant ride by Luke Ferraris on the Eric Sands trained Rainbow Bridge and such a turning point in the upward spiral of the young rider’s career. Father- “Darth” Ferraris- might even be smiling. And crying with joy and pride and everything else at the same time. Why not?

As for these simulcasts and mentioned many times and long before Covid days, it’s baffling how so little thought is put into them. Why bother even showing them if not going to do it right?

There were no titles with at least some rudimentary information about each race. No graphics, let alone pre-recorded videos to introduce the key riders, especially those known in Hong Kong.

How about SOME information about those invisible voices heard from somewhere in South Africa?

Instead, whatever the overseas feed given seems to have just been bunged onto Hong Kong screens and audiences asked to figure things out for themselves. And then, at least on Channel 668 on NOWTV, in the middle of the winning jockeys and trainers being interviewed, or even the local English language hosts talking, on comes those all too familiar and VERY LOUD duelling drums that herald a commercial break and leave audiences having an anxiety attack.

These breaks always remind me of my days in advertising in Hong Kong and when no matter what was happening onscreen, whoever was working the panel, especially the graveyard shift, the television stations would cut to a commercial break. Why? Because the rules said that there HAD to be one of these breaks every twenty minutes. Forget common sense.

Local hosts Edward Sadler and Declan Schuster did the best they could from wherever they were working and with what they had to work.

What they had to work with wasn’t much, so, well done for persevering. Good to hear that Mr Ed is apparently staying put and given up plans to move to Singapore to be a race caller. If true, good move, Edward.

As for the takeaway from this simulcast: No idea. Maybe a few hours of something different to watch on television while doing something else in between most of the races.

There was nothing of interest offered to the casual local fan to have even a small wager.

Instead, it was a few hours of having something going on in the background to keep awake while doing something else instead of switching off to do what most of us do these days: Sleep.

At least, TRY and sleep before waking up a few hours later and wondering what the hell to do at 4am other than watch a football match taking place somewhere.

Perhaps these simulcasts should be renamed Sleepucasts if they continue to be produced by a team that’s appears to be half asleep?

#TheMet #simulcasts #SAracing #whybother #sleepucasts #EdwardSadler #DeclanSchuster #HKJC #justinsnaith #LukeFerraris #RainbowBridge #EricSands