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Hong Kong does it right

Recently, I was added to the media mailing list of the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC). With their four big international races coming up this weekend, my mailbox is being filled up each day. Keep them coming!

What is striking about their media missives is the quantity and quality of what they are disseminating. There is the usual human-interest stories that most major racetracks send out before stakes races but then they provide detail that very few do.

Last Thursday, a barrier trial was held and two horses were in it that needed to prove that their behavioral problems have been fixed or they would not be allowed to run.

A crucial barrier trial at Sha Tin Racecourse this morning, Friday, 30 November, appeared to signal all is well with Pakistan Star and Time Warp ahead of the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races a week on Sunday.

The Tony Cruz-trained stars were required to pass a trial to the satisfaction of the racing stewards before being allowed to contest their upcoming Group 1 assignments – the biggest of the year in Hong Kong. That requirement was handed down after their fade-out, tail-end finishes in the Jockey Club Cup (G2) 12 days ago.

In simple terms, each horse had to finish within 10 lengths of the first past the post in the day’s 1200-meter dirt trial, with no shenanigans. Both horses complied.

“They proved to me just now that they’re fit and well,” Cruz said after Pakistan Star crossed the line in front, Time Warp having led and then boxed on 2 1/2-lengths behind in fifth.

Here is a nugget that arrived on Tuesday:

It has been previously reported that, LATROBE, trained by Mr J P O’Brien, reared and momentarily sat down prior to undertaking track work on 30 November 2018.  The Stewards have been advised that subsequent veterinary examinations of LATROBE have found that horse to be trotting acceptably.

LATROBE will be examined on the morning of Saturday, 8 December 2018 in accordance with normal practice.  A further release will be issued if necessary.”

We are suspect when horses are announced as “New Geldings” since horses that ship in from different jurisdictions may have different reporting requirements.

Not in Hong Kong. They tell you the day that the gelding took place:

Gelding Report – C152

Please be informed that the following horse was gelded:

Brand No. Horse Name Date
C152 DECISIVE ACTION 27/11/2018

Each day, a full color-coordinated workout report comes on the international horses which not only tells you which horses are going to work later that day, but which course they are training over and if they are being schooled in the parade ring. Later, a workout report comes that describes how fast they worked, if they galloped or if they trotted, cantered or walked.

There will be an enormous amount of money bet on the four Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) as well as the rest of the card. The amount of information that the Hong Kong Jockey Club provides to its bettors is enormous and it is no wonder how successful they are. I know they only race two days a week, so they have plenty of time to gather the data, but it is all on their web site. They inform their bettors as well as protect them.

Even with the fantastic handle figures, don’t think that the takeout is low. About half the bets have a takeout rate of 17.5 percent and the other half have a takeout rate of 25 percent.

Nobody seems to mind.

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