It’s not that he doesn’t have any competition, but more to do with simply being extremely good at what he does by using all his skills to succeed in ways that are better than most others.
One might say that Zac Purton was “putting on a clinic” or giving a “Masterclass” at Shatin racetrack yesterday afternoon. Maybe he was.
Let’s also not overlook those three winners at Shatin from Harry Bentley. His winning ride in the last race was world class.
Like Luke Ferraris and Lyle Hewitson, Harry Bentley is also commercially marketable.
They along with Hollie Doyle, Tom Marquand, David Egan, William Buick etc is horse racing’s changing of the guard, but without this becoming more than a vapid saying with, in the end, there being no bananas of change except for some tweets and twittering and corporate huffing and puffing that goes nowhere.
While at home and watching one of those Indiana Jones movies on television and switching channels to watch the races, Zac Purton was Indy and who could be an animated sporting superhero.
A Dance Remix of Bernstein’s Theme from The Magnificent Seven was playing in my head.
As mentioned to my girlfriend, for something like horse racing to gallop into the future with different business streams, and the ownership of all Rights, there has to be a completely new business structure in place- and animation.
This business must have teams able to speak, and negotiate deals and partnerships with, for instance, companies about creating its own line of racing superheroes- animated superheroes- and understanding merchandising and Rights issues.
There are no racing clubs anywhere geared up with such a multi headed beast in-house, and which is why a new and independent one-stop global sports marketing company with offices in at least three locations- one definitely in Dubai- will emerge sooner rather than later.
This creatively led multi media company could lead to this and that that’s timeless and magical and so much more than what’s available in the sports arena right now- especially when it comes to something like horse racing.
Of course every sport will continue being what its core business is, but there’s always the need for things to be enhanced.
There’s no reason that this enhancement can’t be something of a magical multi media mystery tour in an animated yellow submarine that takes audiences to where it’s never been before and brings a sport like horse racing to new an Octopuses Garden.
Being in marketing almost all my life, this is left brain, right brain stuff and from someone immersed in all forms of creativity and looking beyond the obvious.
A few years ago, I was speaking to a group of animators from Korea about turning cricketer Virat Kohli into a superhero. We just couldn’t agree on what superpowers he should have. Maybe it’s time to revisit the idea.
This same thought came up watching someone I had dubbed “The Zac Attack” ride his seven winners at the racetrack in Shatin.
I have got to know Zac pretty well over the years and even wrote a jingle for him around five years ago.
This was when turning what was something called “Sassy Wednesday” into the Happy Wednesday brand for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Zac hosted many of our videos promoting various themed nights led by ‘live’ music and darn beautiful looking young people.
That, however, was a different time and space in a different Hong Kong, and when I was inspired enough to make the pastime known as horse racing look younger, cooler and somewhat hip and having sponsorship opportunities.
The thinking is different today as staying put or going backwards and pressing the Repeat button isn’t for me.
What’s magic is that there’s a certain place only an individual owns. It’s a place called Imagination, and it’s from here that ideas happen and grow.
Not everyone knows how to reach or journey to this place. Those who do, live here. Those who cannot suffer from the crippling Not Invented Here Syndrome and terminal shrinkage.
This will always happen, because to those who enjoy being creative, it’s never a job per se.
It’s not about the money and being a nouveau riche and shallow designer purse being seen in the paddock with very rich people. That’s just shee shee bollocks.
It’s something more than it is and far more real and unreal and exhilarating without the constraints and constipation of corporate boundaries.
It’s about making creative business ideas come true and always about pushing that creative envelope and giving people entertainment- surprising and different forms of constantly evolving sports entertainment.
Having worked with everyone from David Bowie and Robbie Williams on taking chances with Bollywood Remixes and bringing Chinese New Year Remixes to Gorillaz, and now writing a musical suite for Hong Kong built around another of this city’s sporting heroes with original Made In Hong Kong characters magically dropping in and out of storylines, it’s about having an idea and turning this into a business.
If still with EMI Music, I would probably call on any of our artists somewhere in the world who might like to join me on this adventure and see what might happen.
What’s there to lose when there’s everything to gain?
What, for instance, might designer Jamie Hewlett come up with for The Zac Attack? And what might the music sound like?
The problem right now, especially in Hong Kong, and knowing the creative landscape here pretty well, is the lack of teamwork, or finding those in that same space in time.
Perhaps I am looking in the wrong places, or very few understand what I am trying to do- which is to take what’s in my mind’s eye and turn it into reality.
For horse racing, I would love to create The Adventures Of The Zac Man, and through him introduce audiences to animated characters like Prince Lyle, Lord Bentley, The Ferraris Of Luke, and perhaps even the mysterious Lally Man. And maybe my friends and I will.
Ahhhhh, the endless possibilities of animation... and working with the right animation houses.
It’s also about having fun again by making new things happen through a new and creative business model.
It’s about being excited about something, and through this, create a chain reaction of crackling inspiration and creativity that makes Hong Kong- and everywhere else- feel alive, come alive, and as Lennon sang, Come Together.
Nothing needs to be one-dimensional and just plod along until there’s no one there except Babs singing about the way we were and a world lost somewhere in time.
This might be fine for some. Not here though.
There’s the need for a new calling card as post pandemic opportunities are knocking.