Jamie Richards says, Hellooooo, Hong Kong. Or something like that.
While Hong Kong is trying to find its mojo and attract tourists, the young Trainer has almost been holding auditions.
Maybe he has been holding auditions, and now Jamie Richards, age 33, and who rewrote the racing history books back home in New Zealand, seems to understand how the Hong Kong racing landscape works and what one must do to gently ease themselves into the game and succeed.
As those of us who have been here for any length of time should know by now, Hong Kong is a funny place to survive no matter what business one is in.
It’s petty and full of jealousies brought on by insecurities.
There’s a transparent divide and conquer corporate culture at work, especially in horse racing, and which often means not many having trust issues.
It’s how Hong Kong spring rolls with dim sum and then some.
Having said this, the low taxes aside, and forgetting the various egos one learns to tolerate and which are all too often way outta whack, Hong Kong is what you make out of it for yourself if you know where to look, what you bring to the table and how to stand your ground.
In Hong Kong horse racing, trainer Jamie Richards is the 33-year old new kid on the block.
He’s also well educated with a diploma in Marketing and comes from a respected horse racing family.
He’s not a flunky, nor, from what one knows about him, someone who will bend with the wind and roll over easily.
When first having landed here for the start of the 2022/23 horse racing season and didn’t hit the ground running, there was the usual game of Chinese Whispers where one is dismissed as being a “mistake” and “not ready for prime time”.
Tongues were wagging with some trotting out that old pork dumpling to do with bad feng shui because of the trainer supposedly sporting a moustache and beard.
Now apparently clean shaven, Jamie Richards has become one of the most exciting and interesting additions to the ranks of Hong Kong racing.
The person who trained one of my favourite horses in the great New Zealand galloper Melody Belle is taking his time to build up his own stable as opposed to inheriting some old hacks.
After getting off the mark at his seventh race meeting in Hong Kong with the low class Handsome Rebel and ridden by battling jockey Victor Wong, pictured below, Jamie Richards is adopting a horses- and jockeys- for courses strategy and it’s working.
His success rate has gone up noticeably and this has made him somewhat of a threat to others in his chosen field and also competing for winners.
When Hot Chocolate sang how “Everyone loves a winner, baby”, one really doubts that they had Hong Kong racing in mind.
At a time when ageism has caught up with many, one-time big names in this game of chance are firing blanks and the Hong Kong racing rumour mill is spinning so fast that it’s become more unhinged than the stock market, with his team, Jamie Richards is quietly picking his way through the oodles of noodles and picking his battles.
He seems to know that he has the talent and confidence and is doing everything according to his own body clock and timetable.
It’s good to see.
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