by Hans Ebert

Most of the day happened according to script, especially the expected wins by Naboo Attack and Nervous Witness from the David Hayes stable.

From Price Bloodstock, the racing world might have witnessed something extra special in Nervous Witness.

For his owners who had the legendary Silent Witness- also purchased from Price Bloodstock- they have every right in the world to be excited with their latest Witness.

There were also some other pleasant surprises- a fabulous treble and a great big day out for the Mauritian Magician Karis Teetan including taking out the HKSAR Chief Executive Cup.

Being a big supporter of him since his days as an apprentice, it was good seeing Hong Kong-born talent Derek Leung ride a double- a long-priced double including winning the first race of the day.

Of course this was the first day of the new Hong Kong racing season with every trainer and jockey trying to work to the goals and agendas no doubt set months ago.

For David Hayes, it was showing racing fans, plus current and potential owners that his stable is the home of the future equine stars.

It was also underlining that variety is the spice of life.

Each of Haysey’s three winners- Naboo Attack, the brilliant first starter ridden by the Zac Attack in Nervous Witness and Lucky Maryknoll-were ridden by different jockeys- Zac Purton, Karis Teetan and Ruan Maia- the popular Brazilian’s only ride for the day.

It’s all about branding and marketing his product to those who put their money into horse racing, and how he can give them a return on their investments.

Hong Kong owners don’t purchase and race horses for fun and brotherly love.

These are often very successful businessmen with a portfolio of other acquisitions.

They play to win and those with whom they invest their millions know that it’s always about deliverables and how one is only as good as their last win.

David Hayes knows this very well. He’s trained out here back in the day alongside names like Ivan Allen, Tony Cruz, John Moore and David Oughton.

Depending on many variables, riding in Hong Kong during those days were top jockeys like Basil Marcus, Eric Saint Martin, Gerald Mosse, Damien Oliver, Eric Legrix, Felix Coetzee, Douglas Whyte and many others. David Hayes worked with many of them.

Apart from being a very good trainer, he’s also a savvy PR man and his own communications director. Add to that astute businessman with a powerful roller deck.

Whatever industry one might be in, especially in Hong Kong, all of the above are needed to close the deal and open new business opportunities.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Horse racing in Hong Kong might have grown to be the most successful racing jurisdiction in the world with record breaking turnover figures and a role call of the most international group of riders.

What will never change in horse racing here is the importance placed on that very Chinese quirk known as “face”- and ensuring this never loses its way.

This is far worse than ending up with egg on your face. Egg can always be wiped away.

Losing “face” is a very different beast that could impact the status of one’s family name and position in the business community. It’s about always being seen to be a winner.

No one said life would be easy. It’s also why being in Hong Kong racing is no stroll in the park. The stakes are extremely high and go beyond money.

Having “face” is priceless. So is the competition that goes into having more “face” than any rival families. I know, I know…

It’s also a uniquely Hong Kong Chinese version of “Crazy Rich Asians” and a movie waiting to be happen. It will.

#HKracing #DerekLeung #DavidHayes #NervousWitness #NabooAttack #face #crazyrichasians #karisteetan #RuanMaia