When Landed didn’t even run a place at Hawkesbury in the afternoon yesterday and later at Newmarket, Al Kazeem with James Doyle up and Quest For Peace ridden by Kieren Fallon beat Dunaden ridden by Lemaire and Maxime Guyon on raging favourite Meandre in an eight hose field – and with Jimmy Fortune having taken out the previous race on 14 to 1 pop Tullius, we bit our lower lips until they bled. Racing never ever goes according to script. Fairy tales become pixie dust and all those hours of studying sires and mares and Grandpas and speed maps and handicaps and barrier draws, all become bad memories and a bad blur of the past.
With all this in mind, do we give out our weekly Fast Track Awards for the races at Shatin on Sunday.
THE “BIG MAC AND GREAT ESCAPE” AWARD.
WINNER: JAMES MCDONALD, JOHN MOORE AND XTENSION PLUS HONG KONG.
It was the forgotten horse of the race, but the John Moore-trained 18 to 1 shot Xtension, perfectly ridden by young James McDonald found an opening when kept in a pocket by Brett Prebble on Lucky Nine in some good competitive riding and ran away with the BMW Champions Mile. With McDonald sure to come out to Hong Kong for a short stint next season, Hong Kong racing fans have found themselves a new racing idol. It was a terrific ride from the 20-year-old rider taking Oz by storm these days and him doing more (Moore?) riding for Moore is a forgone inclusion. This kid is very VERY good and will next partner Xtension in Singapore for its connections.
Let’s not also forget the other horses which filled all the placings- a terrific ride by Felix Coetzee on Glorious Days which really looked the winner near home, Lucky Nine hanging on for third and Ambitious Dragon fourth. As for the hot pot in the race in the “unbeatable’ Cityscape, he really was one of the first horses beaten and with jockey James Doyle looking a little lost on a horse which after missing the start, buckled and never ever looked like the horse that won so easily in Dubai. Horses for courses, indeed.
For Hong Kong, this was a great day. Too bad about the playing of the National Anthem which sounded like a Toyota back-firing.
THE “MARS ATTACKS SWANSONG” AWARD
WINNER: JEFF LLOYD “STEPTOE” LLOYD
He’s a real gentleman, he’s experienced, he’s as tough as any kid riding out there, he is a very good jockey and John Moore was very fortunate that Jeff Lloyd delayed his exit from Hong Kong racing to stay on for a month and help out after the injury which has sidelined Darren Beadman. Lloyd rose to the occasion and proved why he was one of the most successful jockeys in Oz before coming out to Hongkers. Today was his last day racing in Hong Kong before leaving to settle down for Brisbane. We’ll miss the old bugger. He’s been a huge asset to the jockey ranks out here and we’re tipping he’ll stop the “Monkey” Munce winners bandwagon which is currently banging away in Brisbane . More to the point, who else can we now take the piss out of?
THE “PLEASE, SIR, MAY I HAVE MORE? AWARD
WINNER: BILL NADER
The Director of Racing of the HKJC had all the pressure on his manly American shoulders and we hear he worked out and then scrapped them and worked out his four tips for the Kentucky Derby. We backed Mr. Bill’s fourth choice- I’ll Have Another- which romped in at 18s and ridden by Mario Guiterrez- and remember this name. If memory serves us well, Mr. Bill’s first choice was Dullahan- and which came third at good odds.
Now, this less-is-more approach to tipping is what we need more of. We don’t need the telephone directory and some knob screaming, “I tipped the winner!” Maybe, but how many did you lose before that? And which is why we have no time for all these tipping phone lines, tipping sheets and tipping newspapers where the law of averages say that if you use around ten different “tipsters” with ten different choices, SOMEONE is sure to win. It’s a con. Right, Bill? Bill? Bill? Guess he didn’t back the winner.
THE DUO WAH DIDDY DIDDY AWARD
WINNER/LOSER: DUO GLORY TRAINED BY MANFRED MAN
This newcomer was plunged harder than angry sex but made a mess of he start and that was that. The race was taken out- undoubtedly- by another newcomer in Undoubtedly Mine which is trained by Caspar Fownes and ridden by Little Timmy Clark aka The Hobbit who is banging home those winners home like, well, an angry hobbit having angry sex.
THE “TONY MONTANA MARCHNG POWDER” AWARD
WINNER: JENNY CHAPMAN FOR HER LINE,
“HE HAD A FEW SNORTS BEFORE HE CAME INTO THE PADDOCK.”
Jenny From The Paddock was talking about the John Moore-trained Dominant, an expensive purchase, hot favourite and pick of the paddock and which FINALLY won.
Was it a dominant win? If not for its class and Douglas Whyte picking up the horse off the floor after a severe check and all kinds of booby traps along the way, Dominant would have gone back to being a pussy.
It certainly was a helluva mess of a race and which had some of the most bizarre riding “tactics”. Guess we need more of these distance races so some jockeys know how the hell to ride in them. We were not impressed with anything in this race other than the farcical and comical “tactics” and the strangest running of the Queen Mother Memorial Cup we have ever seen.
Yeah, thought so.
THE BIG PLUNGER AWARD
WINNER: THE CONNECTIONS OF DRAGON VICTORY, ALMOND LEE AND KEITH YEUNG
After the combination of trainer Almond Lee and Keith Yeung won Race 5 on 20 to 1 shot, the money rolled onto the same combination taking out the next race.
The horse is a bleeder, it’s had heart problems and it had unplaced in three starts this season. Today? It was allowed to lead all the way despite blowing out to 10 to 1 in yet another farcically run race. Get Bill Nader on a horse! He’ll show these jockeys how it’s done.
Funny thing, this racing caper.
THE NOT-SO-SIMPLE AWARD
LOSERS: DOUGLAS WHYTE AND SIMPLE (AND PARIS HILTON)
With the very loooooooooooooooong time taken with the farrier work being done on the red hot favourite in Race 8- Simple- it was no surprise to see the horse get agitated, the jockey get agitated and Simple had boiled over before it entered the stalls and was never ever going to win. Meanwhile, the value on Keen Marie which we liked was halved- and, of course, it won, thanks to a good ride by “Not-So-Wayward” Weichong Marwing who ended up riding a double.
THE “WHERE’S DAVID? AWARD
WINNER: JENNY CHAPMAN FOR ADMITTING THAT “MY BATTERIES HAVE DRIED UP!”
Brett Davies was to later come in and add, “I think Jenny has been re-charged.”
Again, we ask, “Where’s David?”
“JUNGLE JOHN” MOORE LOOKING TO LEG UP HUGH BOWMAN?
So says our mail from Oz and with many Down Under trying very hard to persuade the jockey not to take up the offer.
What? Why, you ask? The late Noel Barker- and what a solid bloke he was- gave us many reasons every time we saw him.
As for Hugh Bowman, we really don’t know what he should do. Or do we?
One thing which needs to be cleared is that John More is a damn fine trainer, he has some very loyal owners, he has won every thing there is to win and is the son of George Moore who
Truly succeeded whereas Brother Gary had the world at his feet and then botched it all up and is now relegated to training in Macau.
We might joke about “Jungle John”, but know that though he might turn into Groucho at times, the man is no fool. A fool doesn’t train a treble on BMW Champion Mile Day.
As for Hugh Bowman, he is not a “lightweight” jockey and seems to enjoy traveling and experiencing different racing worlds.
Oz might seem a tad too parochial for him, especially after his stint in the UK and a partnership between a Bowman and a “Jungle John” might just be a marriage made in heaven. Or somewhere between heaven and hell. Money cures all ills.
Having said, this, after his excellent ride on very easy 26 to 1 winner Freewheeling at Hawksbury over the weekend, perhaps he might decide to stay put and where he is right up there when it comes to riders with the possible exception of “The Gnasher” Rawiller. Despite the flops of Fast Clip and then, more importantly, Landing, “The Gnasher” rode his usual strawberry-flavoured quota of winners while Lady Gai continued along with her incredible streak of winners by training another treble on a very slippery track in more ways than one.
One horse which impressed us at Flemington was Paddy Payne’s Hot Lover and it was good to see Michelle Payne back to her very best and without memories of Kathy O’Hara holding her back.
Don’t be surprised if one sees Hot Lover in Hong Kong- if the price is right.
Also, hats off to former jockey Sammy Hyland and now a “racing guru” for some damn good tipping at Flemington- especially his 16 to 1 tip in Race 2 at Flemington- Dame Claire and ridden by the very underrated Peter Mertens
And what a brilliant treble by Jimmy “The Pumper” Cassidy on the Gold Coast where his weapon of mass destruction must have been working over-time and the great ride by “Ollie” on the very raw product that is Zabeelionnaire, below, to take out the Group 1 South Australian Derby- a race which was just Okay to us and where we’re not too sure how far any these top three horses will go.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Good to see young Maija Vance getting some support in Oz. The girl has all the makings of a very good jockey as she comes from some very good racing pedigree. Dad was Bobby Vance, best known for his association with McGinty whereas Mum- the former Jenny Moeller- was also a very good jockey and an absolute glamour when she arrived in Macau and had many jockeys riding there fighting for her Swedish affections. From what we know, Geoff Allendorf was at the head of the line. In the end, Vance beat out the others and married the very pretty young jockey.
NEVER BLANK ANYONE, MATE!
Who is the very well-known and very popular- in our books, he is- Aussie trainer who has a beef with another Aussie trainer? This latter one is based in Hong Kong and has made a number of enemies by “blanking” them- meaning looking past people who know him- and all about him when he was training in Oz. Word has it that he “blanked” our popular trainer mate when he was visiting Hong Kong- a wrong move if true as he still wields quite a big club in Hongkers and where he knows a number of powerful owners. We have to wonder if this is why the OTHER trainer is struggling this season with horses leaving his yard whistling Dixie and humming The Theme From Exodus and no new owners with any real dosh coming to him to train their horses? Personally, he has always been a bit of a big knob.