by Hans Ebert

The tide might have turned, but the big question is in what way, especially as the new Hong Kong racing season hits its stride. It’s a season that promises to be quite an entertaining horse opera with various ebbs and flows and more twists and turns than “Usual Suspects”.

On Wednesday night at Happy Valley, the Zac Attack served up a solid winning double for trainer Danny Shum before the Brazilian Magic Man returned serve with a treble.

This included an ace right down the middle to win on Jazz Steed for trainer Caspar Fownes.

There was also the wonderful arrogance of the Brazilian on Resolute nudging out Heart Conquered with Tony Piccone aboard on what looked like a decidedly tight finish. It wasn’t.

While the Frenchman was all arms and elbows and threw everything bar the kitchen sink at his mount, Jolting Joao had him covered all the way. He might have even been giggling to himself.


Photo by Wallace Wan

Karis Teetan kept up his strike rate with another winner- crikey, a winner for the stable of Peter Ho. God is good.

There was the first of what could be many winners for Alexis Badel, and with, very possibly, the most telling winner of the night- Harry Bentley winning for Douglas Whyte on recent stable transfer- the fourth stable transfer- Turin Redstar.

Though surprising to some as to why Whyte would even bother taking this galloper, let alone offering the ride to Harry Bentley, like the man upstairs and George Burns, Douglas Whyte works in mysterious ways. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

Firstly, he’s the trainer and it’s his stable. He rides his own track work and knows what’s going on with every one of his gallopers. He can’t ride them on race day, though I am sure he wishes he could.

When he believes they’re ready to win, he’ll look past the obvious riders and look towards left field.

He’s done it with Lyle Hewitson, the quick disappearing act that was Alberto Sanna, and with Regan Bayliss when all three riders desperately needed their first winners in Hong Kong.

On Wednesday night, Harry Bentley was the lucky recipient of being given the opportunity to ride his first winner of this new season.

Let’s not forget that the Whyte Bentley had scored on the city track last season when combining to win on the very average Vincy.

Hats off to Harry. He gave Turin Redstar a confident ride and won the Class Three Community Chest Cup Handicap at odds of 10-1.

If ridden by The Duelling Banjos- and if they even accepted the ride- the win odds would have been a quarter of what was paid out.

As a casual punter, what’s better? Winning a few cents on Nervous Witness and doubling your money backing Naboo Star or having a couple hundred on Turin Redstar?

It’s fine to watch good horses win, but if one has no vested financial interest in them, who cares?

Leaving one to ponder that for a nanu second, it again underlined the fact that as a trainer, none of the fire, determination and focus that made Douglas Whyte the thirteen time champion jockey of Hong Kong has gone walkies.

It would be very silly to think that Douglas Whyte will ever settle for being second best. The man feeds off competition. I have had enough dinners with him over the years. I believe that Sade even sang about him on her hit “Smooth Operator”.

Was it a good meeting? It was workmanlike with a goofy “Partnering Winners for a Winning Partnership” moment thrown in. Some thought this was perhaps promoting a new win-win online dating site. But…

The highlight? The winning ride by Joao Moreira and the brilliant photograph below taken by my friend Wallace Wan of the post race celebrations.

This is quality content in a content driven world and where every business and industry are fighting to stand out from the clutter of being another irrelevant serving of waffles.

No product can afford to settle for being “Okay La”. It cheapens the image. It’s a turn off.

Especially in this social media driven world, consumers have their own measuring sticks. Things that come up short will be pulled up.

If one doesn’t strive for excellence in everything one does, what’s the point- other than, of course, staying in and dipping in and out of Okay La La Land.

#hkracing #joaomoreira #zacpurton #wallacewan #douglaswhyte #harrybentley #qualitycontrol #partneringwinners