I might do the polite thing and listen to what people have to say, but this doesn’t mean that I trust nor believe them.
One only believes in and follows that god-given sixth sense. It’s very rarely let me down.
I was having a conversation about this subject early this morning with Caspar Fownes, a long time friend and one of the very few people in horse racing who I will always gladly make myself available to meet for lunch at 1 Harbour Road.
These lunches cover much terrain and with nothing being out of bounds. There’s an honesty between us that’s almost impossible to find these days.
Cas likes to have a bet, I like to have a bet, but our freewheeling conversations don’t start and end with horse racing. Far from it.
Today, we chatted over the phone about our mutual love for having condensed milk with toast, something he got used to while growing up in Calcutta and which I found habit forming as a kid in Colombo.
As always, family was mentioned as family always comes first even when some relationships on my side might have broken down.
We had a good laugh about the Hong Kong rumour mill, remembered some of the more weird moments when lunching with others, and hung up promising to get together soon for another lunch.
Looking at the racing pages a few minutes later, what was there read like the Casibah Bugle.
There was news about the win the day before of his Senor Toba and how Joao Moreira would partner the horse in Qatar.
Despite a very good winning ride by Hugh Bowman, Senor Toba was always going to be ridden by the Brazilian magic man in Qatar.
There was also news that Blake Shinn would be flying into Hong Kong to partner his galloper Galaxy Witness in the Hong Kong Classic Cup.
Reading everything Cas had to say about his plans for both gallopers, I was reminded of just how much thought the champion trainer puts into the schedule and planning for his charges.
Sure, there are the chances of them winning and also the prize money that could be earned by running into a place.
It’s business and how Cas runs his business is something personal- and very successful.
If people wish to talk about this and that and the price and use of brinjal, so be it.
This is, after all, Hong Kong where many live vicariously and, especially in the racing game, few have anything good to say about anyone else.
What’s always something that I respect about Cas is how much he supports horse racing’s battlers- those needing some help to prove themselves.
Off the top of my head, I know how much he has helped jockeys like Keith Yeung and Alfred Chan to get amongst the winners and the continued support he offers his former apprentice Vincent Ho.
He’s also realistic enough to know that nothing lasts forever and how there’s a need to change with the times or go back to the future with Marty McFly and Doc and stay there.
At a time when I don’t see the leadership skills in many in Hong Kong that match the fancy titles, it’s good to see a horse trainer listening to his heart and smart enough to play the game and come out swinging by winning in life.