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WHAT IS THE HKJC DOING ABOUT A SUNSET INDUSTRY WITH BANDAIDS



Frankly, we don’t buy into much of what’s written below as it reads like some desperate, and badly managed ping pong match that can go on forever and which is why it was probably buried in the horse racing pages of the SCMP.



Though wondering if it was the smartest corporate strategy to go public with this story, everything said and most of it quoted verbatim is no doubt true as far as the words are concerned.


For those of us who follow the global politics of horse racing with more than a hint of cynicism, it’s always interesting when it comes down to who says what.


Here, the HKJC Director of Racing Andrew Harding, below, almost the resident harbinger of bad news or news that could be worrying to current members, takes the reins and talks about how much the Club has “invested” in lowering the costs of ownership. 



“Invested”? Does this investment door swing both ways?


Sounds like something to do to maybe slightly appease those who already own horses, or who are going to pass the baton to their offspring, but what’s being done, or can be done, to entice new owners to be part of a new version of a very old game?


Not everyone can be a Magnier.


Surely, by now, every racing club must have come to the realisation that they are staring into the abyss of what a longtime horse owner, leading music executive and good friend in Hong Kong, described as a “sunset industry and where the house always wins by hook or by crook”.


After losing HK$10 million on his latest purchase from the Club’s International Sales and who went lame after the galloper’s third start in Hong Kong, he took his ball and went home vowing never to return to horse racing.


This is 2024 and when money’s too tight to mention and those running businesses have greater priorities than the woes and problems that come with owning and racing horses.


The fact is that horse racing is not fun anymore, because life isn’t fun as we’re still in a post pandemic malaise and life priorities have changed completely.


Ageism has set in faster than most wish to believe and there’s a completely different and much younger consumer standing there who doesn’t see horse racing the way some might have when it was summertime and the living was easy, or, don’t even think about it as it holds zero interest to them.


Unlike before when Shirley Bassey was singing “Hey, Big Spender”, there’s no status attached to being a horse owner.


These aren’t the good old days, and unless the rickety horse racing “industry” or “business” takes a darn hard look at its age old business model and changes, its just going to f-f-f-fade away quicker than it is doing today.


Seriously now, how attractive is it being a charter member of “new horse racing” in 2024 to those who just might consider investing in it possibly to be part of a multi dimensional investment portfolio?


Has anyone even thought about rebranding horse racing under a different name to make it even the tiniest bit, er, cool?


How much clout does a racing club have over unscrupulous Bloodstock agents who have very different prices when mediocre equine talent from places like, let’s say, Kalgoorlie or Townsville are sold to Hong Kong and owners taken for million dollar rides?


Think people don’t know how it works and the ways things go back and forth?


What’s been written is neither here nor there. It’s everywhere and nowhere.


Again, it’s horse racing completely missing the point and talking to itself armed with a cheap bandaid. And we’re not the only people who think so. It’s frothy stuff and a turn off.



It might make sense to those born into an industry when it might have been flourishing and is now floundering- an industry with the same old players leading it and looking up at the usual family tree with the same low hanging fruit and nothing much else going for it other than the next inane press release.



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