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Is Hong Kong stupidly ignoring its only Golden girl?

She’s Hong Kong born with a Chinese mother and Irish father and is very probably the best role model Hong Kong has had in a very long time, especially for young girls.

She’s breaking swimming record after swimming record and is a highly marketable world champion athlete who represents Hong Kong.

With the Olympics in Paris around the corner, where is the pride in Hong Kong having Siobhan Haughey?

The promotion and marketing behind her many successes has been so “silent running” that it’s almost not here- nor there.

Why isn’t Hong Kong celebrating her triumphs instead of this news always always always hidden somewhere on the Sports pages?

It makes one wonder if the Hong Kong government understand sports marketing or has those who do?

Meanwhile, the so-called marketing of Hong Kong continues in random ways and goofball promotions with the blind leading the blind over the precipice and a once vibrant city looking lost and confused to an international audience.


The “Let’s Move The Goalposts Again, Andrew!” Award 

Winner: The Hong Kong Jockey Club 

The thinking: Whatever the rules are, it doesn’t matter. Rules are meant to be broken where losers can be winners, licenses can be issued, taken away or renewed, new stories can be concocted, Seventy can be the new Forty and scoring an own goal doesn’t count.



The Tobin Brothers radio ads

Surely, having some rather dreary and sanctimonious sounding voice over artists read out how “they” would celebrate “their” lives before being laid to rest is surely not what Melbourne’s supposedly financial beleaguered racing and sports radio station RSN should be playing before unleashing its daily thick porridge of tips and tipsters and more tips and tipsters for horse racing, trots and the greyhounds- and everything else around?

In a down economy and where money is too tight to mention, does any of this make sense, or is it all just creepy to that large mainstream audience to whom the word “punt” might be misheard to rhyme with something else?


Really really very very odd, at least to these ears, to hear RSN’s Hoss nattering away about something or another while the Bangles’ kinda hard rock version of Paul Simon’s “Hazy Shade Of Winter” plays in the background.



At Eagle Farm on Saturday NZ colt Geriatrix, ridden by Michael Dee, who had a brief, but unspectacular stint in Hong Kong before returning to Oz, won the Hong Kong Handicap. 

Happily back home, Dee is well amongst the winners along with Luke Currie who wasted his time going around on no-hopers and is also back in Oz and amongst the winners as is another former Hong Kong based Aussie jockey in the brilliant Blake Shinn.

In a game of catch-me-if you-can on a porridge track last week at Eagle Farm with Craig Williams adopting a Pride Of Jennie type of riding tactic that’s almost trending these days, Shinn overtook “Willo” and won the Group 1 Queensland Derby by about ten lengths aboard Warmonger.

As for the Geriatrix race, rather ironically, the runner up was Oughton, the surname of a former leading trainer in Hong Kong named David Oughton and uncle of latest name to the training ranks in the city in David Eustace.


Meanwhile, Why Worry, who raced in Hong Kong under a different name for trainer Douglas Whyte and the gelding’s last run being at Happy Valley, is now with the stable of Liam Howley.


The gelding won at Caulfield on Saturday when ridden by Ethan Brown.



Horse racing syndicates 

Sure, it’s a sign of the times and proof positive that horse racing needs horses and horse owners even if one person might own a quarter percent of one- or maybe two.

At least in Hong Kong where there’s much pride known as “face” involved in a family or individual owning a champion equine athlete, seeing hordes swarming for that winning photo of especially a low class event looks a tad cheap and desperate. 

It’s not unlike a McDonald’s McHappy promotion and where the only interest is in television fashion police commenting on what some of the ladies in the various syndicates are wearing and the attractiveness of those appearing onstage.


Of course, these syndicates usually end up with differing opinions and arguments arise about which jockeys to use etc, and, as was with the Blazing Speed ownership saga in Hong Kong some years ago, a court case.

Already, we know that some of these ownership syndicates are falling apart, where in Hong Kong, everything almost always means some wanting “odds” and demanding that certain “unfashionable” jockeys ride their horses for better returns on their investments.

But what if the jockey is so not up to par and the best laid plans go up in flames?

This is when the Blame Game starts up again and the exodus from stables begin along with conspiracy theories that everything is “controlled” by some Mr Big or even a former trainer still very much in the game. 



Winner: Don’t Trust Judas.

A four year old gelding by Playing God, and trained by Grant and Alana Williams, he’s not very good and not to be trusted.

Reminds us of a certain racing executive known for his puffery, tight shirts and dangerously revealing bro hugs.



Racecaller Mark McNamara and that very odd radio spot being played in Oz showcasing the excitement of Hong Kong racing with a hyperventilating and Minnie Mouse screamer by Mark of Golden Sixty winning a race.

Question: The future of Golden Sixty’s racing career?



Sam Agars 

SCMP racing writer Sam Agars must either be making too much money, or still learning his maths.

His Opinion piece last week about the missed opportunities for Hong Kong owners to purchase stayers who can run out a strong 2800 metres race in pursuit of the humongous prize money on offer was full of contradictions and what seemed like a lack of business smarts.

We’re happy to introduce Sam to a number of owners in Hong Kong who have recently left the game as they found no return on their million dollar investments.

Maybe their fung shui wasn’t very good? Maybe they saw more potential in opening a rattan business in Cambodia? Or opening a chain of curry houses in Minsk?

Watching the money for jam win of Rebel’s Romance in the so called Champions and Chater Cup as the “competition” cobbled together ran for the place money was rather embarrassing- especially for those owners who might have been thinking of beating the Charlie Appleby trained international superstar.

Dream on…

It’s not always ONLY about horse racing for everyone, Sam.

There’s a whole other world out there in 2024 and the horse racing business bubble has pretty much burst despite the ‘feel good’ and prehistoric “Riding High Together” ads produced by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. 

Romantic Warrior winning the Yasuda Kinen didn’t even make pages 3,4 or 5, let alone the front page in the newspaper you write for because it’s irrelevant to most readers- plus not many people read these days.

They do the scroll.

It’s high time people still trapped inside the horse racing bubble face some home truths like no money, no honey- and make bail out plans.

Either this or realise that just how the Independents overthrew the Majors in the far bigger music industry through everything from Napster and streaming to A1, traditional horse racing just might be looking rather Neanderthal to young entrepreneurs who know their audience and what works best today- and especially tomorrow.



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