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THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE FUGLY OF RACING.



While watching the Justify colt Storm Boy at Randwick and now owned by Coolmore take his next step towards slipping into the Golden Slipper by jogging to the win everyone expected, we noticed more of the same type of messages we have been receiving on our phones. 



In Chinese, these are messages advertising the financial advantages of joining a punters club in Hong Kong that doubles as a karaoke club in a building in Lan Kwai Fong.


Though nothing illegal to any of this, there’s something tacky and a little naive about paying a monthly fee of HK$680 for racing tips in Hong Kong from some “experts”, especially as one has to question the success rate of these “tips”.


More importantly, who knows where this “business model” might lead, especially in this technological world and where nothing appears to be private?


Hong Kong can do without having to deal with another scam in the wall like those cold calls that still cannot be stopped after almost six years despite many being swindled out of millions.


With the news mentioning that those targeted are the “elderly” living in resettlement areas, one has to wonder how these retirees have the millions to pay off those involved in these scams?


Could this have to do with some form of blackmail or, er, the gullible being hired to be washing machines and laundering working overtime?



Meanwhile, getting back to horse racing, in Australia, the Bott-Waterhouse juggernaut rolls on and on and on.


It’s also good to see those two besties- Jye McNeil and Harry Coffey- riding so darn well- consistently well- and listening to the paddock parade evaluations of Maree McEwan, below. 



Smart, and a straight shooting young girl who takes no crap, especially when the Man Called Hoss has his Senior Moments and refers to her as Michelle Payne or Maree Payne, this is a very knowledgeable racing person and not someone from the same old well.


As for The Hoss Man, well, he’s all over the place- quite literally- entertaining to some, boorish to others albeit harmless.



The racing at Randwick and Flemington on Saturday was different gravy to what some of us in Hong Kong have got used to seeing.


Other than the brilliant Storm Boy, there was the scintillating win of the Ciaran Maher trained Another Wil with his other runner Estriella, below, winning the million dollar Inglis Sprint, thanks to another brilliant ride by Blake Shinn.



Nash Rawiller brought out the best in his old friend Think It Over and downed favourite Fan Girl in the process, whereas by taking out the Group 1 Australian Guineas with Southport Tycoon, Ciaran Maher brought up a treble and a double for the unsinkable Jamie Kah.



In Hong Kong at Shatin on Sunday, the overseas flying squad, this time without regular visitor J-Mac, comprised Damian Lane for one ride in the Hong Kong Classic Cup, and the brilliant Blake Shinn who knows Shatin very well plus Mikhael Barzalona and Ryan Moore.


What was the race meeting like?


Well, The Zac Attack rode his usual quota of winners and it was good to see Harry Bentley ride a double.


This included winning on 40-1 pop Prawns Eleven, trained by Mark Newnham and a galloper who raced under the same name in…Kalgoorlie, Western Australia and with Brock Lewthwaite who had a high opinion of the horse.


This was where it had its biggest win when ridden by Natasha Faithfull.



Blake Shinn produced a great ride to win on Sky High for old friend and popular trainer Caspar Fownes, who’s starting to look like a rather dapper Brendan Fraser.


The Classic Cup was taken out by race favourite Helios Express ridden by Hugh Bowman and it was great to hear the Huge One praise though Keagan De Melo and the always brave Changcheng Glory for almost stealing the race.



The presentation ceremony was what we have come to expect- funereal instrumental music, the familiar voice of the emcee piercing the afternoon air and everything sticking to a narrative set in Stonehenge.



Away from all this pomp and circumstance, the Hong Kong riding ranks already having Zac Purton, Karis Teetan, Hugh Bowman, Lyle Hewitson, Luke Ferraris, Harry Bentley, Andrea Atzeni, Alex Badel, Brenton Avdulla and at least four more expatriate jockeys, whispers and questions from certain quarters are getting rather LOUD.


Being asked are whether hard working and good Hong Kong born riders like Jerry Chau, Derek Leung and Matthew Chadwick etc could be missing out on winning rides and being relegated into being second class horse racing citizens?


Also, is this in line with the Hong Kong government’s efforts to try and get the city back on its feet, support Hong Kong athletes and create a strong sense of community and national pride?



Or maybe there are changes around the corner for Hong Kong racing that are going to make some heads spin faster than that of Linda Blair.



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