It was a Wednesday when the stars aligned and the usually great Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley hit a new high- and on a global scale.
After all, the night before at Royal Ascot, Hong Kong’s Little Bridge at 14′s ran away with the Kings Stand Stakes.
Who would have thought this would have happened but that’s what racing is all about: Expect the unexpected.
Yes, while everyone in Oz racing were pontificating about how easily Ortensia would win the race, the Danny Shum-trained and Zac Purton-ridden Little Bridge had the race won a long way out.
Sadly for the connections for Ortensia, the horse was a nervous wreck and also spare a thought for Hong Kong’s Joy and Fun- one of our favourite horses- which had its race and run ruined before even it had a chance to compete.
Some of the mistakes and problems it had to endure even before getting to the barriers must have had trainer Derek Cruz pulling out the remaining hairs he has left on his noggin.
For a trainer like Shum who learnt his trade under the legendary Ivan Allen and not exactly a “Group 1 winning” trainer, this was his career highlight.
We loved one of his post-race interviews and when asked about his future plans for Little Bridge, Shum gave the interviewer a complete rundown of his own summer holiday plans.
And why not? He was caught up in the moment.
And what can we say about “The Zac Attack” and what this win will do for his career and how he can build on things from here.
It’s his springboard to greater things and how many jockeys would give up all their winners to win at Royal Ascot- and on a horse completely ignored by most except for a few of us and the CEO of the HKJC- Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges.
For “E.B” it was a “nice collect” in more ways than one: The racing and the HKJC is a “brand leader”- by lengths.
What had been missing was a Hong Kong horse wining a Group 1 race for quite some time.
Then came along Little Bridge and its win on the opening day of Royal Ascot.
If “E.B” was any more chuffed, the buttons on his shirt and jacket would have busted and his smile would have cracked his face.
He was more than “nearly fine, nearly fine.”
So, at Happy Wednesday, the next day and while all the regulars were doing whatever they do at Happy Valley’s Beer Garden, the real celebrations were taking place at the recently-opened Adrenaline, one of the HKJC two new venues- the other being The Gallery.
To give these celebrations the class it needed, the stars again aligned, and at the races that night were Gai and Robbie Waterhouse as hosts of “E.B”
Theirs is a mutual admiration society.
Lady Gai is the greatest “brand ambassador” for racing in Oz, she is wonderful with the media, she is plain and simple wonderful and she was in fine form.
One can rave and talk about Black Caviar and Peter Moody and Luke Nolen- and we should- but we must never forget the legacy our favourite Lady will leave the racing world in Oz.
Her conversation with us about how much trust she places on her team- Mark Newnham, Neil Paine, Nash “The Gnasher” Rawiller, Tommy Berry and those glamours working at her office- and how it’s like captaining a great cricket team, said it all. Plus never underrate the incredible support husband Robbie gives her.
Say what you will about Robbie Waterhouse- and we all have our knockers and we are also drawn to those with huge knockers- we like him. Very much.
When Lady and Lord Waterhouse arrived at Adrenaline with “E.B”, it was like Royalty arriving.
In many ways, it was- and what a damn good sport, Lady Gai is.
She posed with anyone and everyone.
She was so impressed with the IBU board and she couldn’t believe just what makes Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley, truly a Happy Wednesday.
When she talked, she did so with great intelligence and passion.
She totally get it.
We watched Robbie as he stood in the background, took it all in and it would be safe to say that he was mighty impressed with what he saw.
Yes, it was a Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley and to add some music to our ears was Tess Collins- a singer we has heard in passing before- and who, together with The Good Life, made Adrenaline come alive and was the icing on the cake.
We reckon this girl from Maine will go far.