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Take a bow, Brenton Avdulla!


It’s tough when you’ve planned your Sunday weeks in advance, so that it includes lunch with friends, then watching a few races from Hong Kong before taking in the final match of the quite amazing ODI World Cup cricket series from India featuring the great Virat Kohli only to have Travis Head come to the crease and spoil the Bollywood party with a brilliant G’day, mates, ton.

But this is the world today- the new abnormal where nothing is what it was with so much of everything looking like a Far Side cartoon and nothing that should be taken too seriously…

The racing reporters will go through who won the three G2 races at Shatin and whatever hard luck stories there might have been, but at least for me, if there was a highlight, it was watching Brenton Avdulla ride four winners and bag his first Hong Kong Jockey Challenge, something, by the way, that like many other things, is left to go through some metamorphosis on its own.

Getting back to the Brenton Avdulla quartet…





These wins might not have included any of the Cup races, but it didn’t matter: Brenton Avdulla introduced himself to Hong Kong racing as “the new gun in town” in the best Big Bang Theory way he could and his successes made me feel good. Simple as that.

When it was announced that Avdulla, 32, was granted a half season licence to ride in Hong Kong, a name not known to most followers of local racing, and accepted with lukewarm interest, for myself, being pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.

Having mutual friends, and knowing Brenton fairly well through them and the good old days of Twitter, I had mentioned him to a few in the HKJC hierarchy as someone who would be a good addition to the riding ranks in Hong Kong.

For whatever reasons, the Club preferred to look elsewhere like going to the same old well whereas the Australian rider kept proving himself as one of the best in Sydney- inventive, strong, popular and always entertaining.

Hong Kong racing fans are now finally getting to see all the attributes that made Brenton Avdulla the very good jockey that he still is.

Watching him ride his four-timer at Shatin on Sunday after all he has had to endure- a couple of lean trots and a horrific race fall that left him with a fractured neck and sidelined for over six months with a young family at his side- the city might be exactly what the rider needs at this juncture in his life.


With his children and wife Taylor in Hong Kong with him, someone I knew as a kid when her father Neil Paine was riding a few horses of mine in Macau, Brenton Avdulla probably has pretty much everything he needs right now.


He can look forward to enjoying a fairly chilled lifestyle with racing twice a week at two conveniently located racetracks, riding for good prize money and other perks including paying very low taxes and competing regularly against a “core community” of international riders.

Trainers and owners in Hong Kong are also quickly getting to know that here’s someone who’s a quick learner and can deliver.

Champion trainer John Size would have known the up and coming young Brenton Avdulla from his days in Australia when he was riding for Gai Waterhouse in Sydney. It’s no doubt why he’s been a much needed support system in Hong Kong for the jockey.
On Sunday, he rode two winners for the Hall Of Famer on a day when Size mattered and he trained his 1500th winner in Hong Kong and was presented with a rather weird looking woodblock with a type of Stone Age lettering. Well, it was better than being given a cap.

As for the race meeting, it gave those looking towards HKIR week a peek behind the curtain into the chances of some of the possible candidates for the Turf Championships on the second Sunday in December.

Though no expert on horse racing and not going to pretend to be, it was hard for me to be impressed with the win of a somewhat tired looking Lucky Sweynese whereas the wins of Beauty Eternal and Straight Arron in the two other Group 2 races seemed to be reasonably good pipe openers for December.

Personally, I was more happy to see local jockey Derek Leung back riding one of their “Beauty” horses for the Kwok family.

Though losing his whip in the tight finish and coming second on Beauty Cheer to the better credentialed stablemate Beauty Eternal, what should never be forgotten is that here’s the jockey who rode the mighty Beauty Generation to three consecutive victories and went up the grades before Zac Purton took over the reins.




Something else that took my eye was the excellent debut of The Heir- trained by
Caspar Fownes and ridden by Vincent CY Ho, and a galloper who came second on one of the races on the undercard and is definitely worth following.

Also worth following is Brenton Avdulla.

He’s found himself a new stage, he’s matured, he’s coloured his hair blondish and which might be good feng shui.

Also, the last time I looked, the world has changed forever and whatever each of us do in whatever field we’re in and while on the journey we’re on, what’s important is make things count and make a difference.

All talk and no action and silly bursts of nervous giggling only signal being around wankers and airheads.
Life might not exactly be a bowl of cherries these days with wars going on and all of us somehow caught up in a crossfire hurricane, so stay away from turkeys and navigate your own way towards that elusive place called happiness.

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