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The Ying Tong Hong Kong Racing Awards and other stuff.



The Award Season is once again upon us, so why not the annual Hong Kong Racing Ying Tong Awards- and other weird horse racing stuffings? 



Like every year since those memorable Racing Bubble Years, 2023 had its fair share of watershed and waterlogged moments- the constant moving of goalposts, various cans of worms being opened, the usual HKJC politics, fireworks on and off the track, Hail Marys, Big Bang Theories, Happy (?) Wednesday becoming Sad Sack Thursday, immovable objects, white elephants and so many elephants in the room that it was a stampede…



The It’s About Nothing Seinfeld Award



The Asian Racing Federation (ARF)



One of many useless horse racing organisations with random odds and sods talking from both sides of their mouths and making obscenely big bucks while swanning around the world without a clue about what they’re doing and zero accountability.



If this organisation is doing anything meaningful other than self promotion, yakking about dress codes, new fools sitting by the whirlpool or dancing around the usual plague that is the unchained laundromat called Citibet in the Philippines, surely ARF should have known that one of its charter members- the Singapore Turf Club- was going to close down operations in October 2024?


This news was made public around a week after the Melbourne junket of the Asian Racing Conference (ARC) and caught those who should have known better asleep at the wheel.


This news was actually something mentioned to some who are still close to government officials in Singapore almost three YEARS earlier.

 

As for the land where the STC stands for the time being taken back by the Singapore government to develop new housing, isn’t this only part of the reason for the closure of the horse racing?

 

Will other governments, sooner rather than later, follow suit as more and more pressing priorities in a down global economy come into play?


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Team Of The Year: The Equinox Team




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The Spangle In The Jungle Award

Winner: Zac Purton 

Karma is a strange beast best served cold and with its own way of making things happen- and not happen.




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The Hyland Magical Mystery Caravan Tour 




Nothing pretentious nor over-the-top, but simply former jockey and now part of the SEN team, Samuel Hyland, and wife Nicole making the time to take their three young kids around Australia in a caravan and taking a break from the world. 




There’s so much fun and Feel Good “content” in their travelogue that ends this week.

It’s something that should be seen by everyone as an adventure reminding us about the priorities in life and everything money cannot buy.

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The Suck-Up Award 



Winner: Mark Wormwood 

We know, we know- Who? Well, Mark Wormwood, one of the racing writers for the SCMP, and remembered by those who still read newspapers for a puff piece on “Her Racing Highness”, departs Hong Kong and is replaced by another racing writer, this time from Western Australia. 



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The HRH Award  



The Her Racing Highness title goes to former pinup apprentice jockey Kei Chiong who hung up her saddle after a couple of reasonably successful seasons and has become a respected Bloodstock agent with quite an impressive client roster in “Hong Kong China”.


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The “What’s Next” Award 



The Institute Of Philanthropy 



After a big bloated press launch a couple of months ago attended by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong and the hierarchy of the HKJC with much expected of this strangely named thingy, things have been so deafeningly quiet that one wonders if this was perhaps much ado about nada?

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No, this isn’t a cameo by trainer Douglas Whyte

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Coming up: “Nearly Fine”.

The warts and all documentary on Hong Kong racing.



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The Top Gun Award 

Jockey Keith Yeung 



This award is for the popular jockey going through just about everything at the races- almost regularly thrown off horses, then getting back on and riding some big priced winners, getting suspended, almost kicked by horses during paddock parades etc etc- and still smiling.


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The Whodunnit Award 


This goes to whoever at the HKJC decided that Australian jockey Hugh Bowman, who wouldn’t know dim sum from then sum, would 

be the perfect person to endorse the cultural hub and Hong Kong heritage building that’s known today as Tai Kwun.


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The Odd Couple Award 

Nic Child and Frankie Lor



Nic: “So, Frankie, frankly speaking, would you, perhaps say that the horse is rather precocious and perhaps even somewhat enigmatic- pragmatically speaking, of course?”

Frankie: “Ha ha ha. You know, this horse very strong. Yah. Ha ha. Improve all the time. Maybe need longer. Maybe even shorter. Ha ha ha”.


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Boutique horse racing, EDM and luxury resorts in Thailand?


While some tap dance around horse racing taking place in the training facilities in Conghua, China around 2026/27 while we quietly smile to ourselves, here’s something that could be nothing, or could be everything and more: an ambitious project that brings together an Ibiza experience interwoven with luxury resorts and villas plus horse racing once a week in Bangkok. 





With investment coming from six young entrepreneur groups in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and Singapore, the way we understand it, the business model is basically a one-stop budget holiday destination combining music, travel and entertainment that includes horse racing.


“We’re not looking to compete with the type of horse racing that’s taking place in the major racing jurisdictions”, explained a spokesperson from one of the investor groups. 


“We see an opportunity to create something with a boutique ‘feel’ that we believe will be welcomed, especially by that 22-38 audience looking for something very different after the lockdown years and interested in discovering very different ports of call and new experiences”.





“Thailand”, she continued, “is one of the friendliest, chilled and most inexpensive countries in the world with the infrastructure already in place for there to be much more of everything than there is now anywhere in the world in the way of entertainment for a new generation of tourists”.



These young entrepreneurs have our vote as thinking outside of the square and leaving the square pegs behind has been on the cards since around 2014.


The world is looking for something new- seedlings for growth in new locations and not more of the same old same old that’s now 20-30 years older 








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