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A few things about the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Hong Kong racing that will never change are the rumours, politics, innuendos, more talk about legalised racing in China, the new internal nepotism, terminal fear, the survivalists, the loyalists, drip feeding the racing media with set narratives, and the merry-go-round of everything that’s never what it is no matter what anyone at the “evil empire” might say.

We’ll save untangling the different webs of intrigue for another day and instead highlight just how quickly Italian-born jockey from Sardinia and the son of a farmer- Andrea Atzeni, 32- has made a name for himself in Hong Kong, a racing jurisdiction where many other expatriate riders have stumbled at the first hurdle.

While Hong Kong born Jerry Chau has almost miraculously and against all odds suddenly become very possibly the best rider in the city, Andrea Atzeni is all about consistency, experience and talent.

He’s out there showing trainers and owners his repertoire that puts him right up there with la crème de la crème of world class jockeys.

He might not, as yet, have first call on rides like Zac Purton, Hugh Bowman and Karis Teetan do, or frequent flyer and “Swifty” fan James McDonald, but those who know how riders and trainers fall in and out of favour in the city are predicting the future going to be good for the quietly spoken Atzeni.

Like the Hong Kong government and its ongoing efforts to find the heartbeat to the city’s mojo again through trial and error and more errors, and the natives getting restless at the lack of answers, the HKJC must surely realise its in the same sampan?

Other than trying to up the ante on the standards of marketing, advertising, and the quality of the overall racing product and on course experience, there’s a need to rework the overall business strategy.

It’s about taking a leaf from the book of what Michelle Obama said about how when “they go low, we go high”- meaning don’t join the same circus of bumbling clowns and bring everything down to a crashing new low.

For the once mighty HKJC, it’s about looking into the mirror and facing up to some home truths: if the city isn’t working, how can horse racing?

Or, could horse racing in Hong Kong that’s suddenly looking like a cracked product appealing to a tiny and insignificant audience, show the government a thing or two about being that elusive butterfly that can help change things around?

Does the HKJC know how to how to get on the right foot like the Godfather of Soul? Ugh!

Just for starters, why not stop the embarrassment that goes bump in the night at Happy Valley racecourse on Wednesdays and mix things up a bit?

Perhaps look at bringing into the riding ranks, on a shorter than short term basis, a very good rider new to Hong Kong racing fans like Celine Goudray?

Trotting out the same old same old in every aspect of the racing game twice a week has become so boring that those jungle drums coming from different directions in the upper echelons of Hong Kong are getting louder and louder and rather ominous.


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