The Racing Post has gone digital with the launch of paperless bookies in Dublin and Galway.
The Advertising Standards Authority has accused the bookie of “linking gambling with sexual success”.
The ban placed on all racing across the United Kingdom was lifted today after the BHA announced that it had successfully managed to contain the outbreak of an equine influenza strain that caused panic in the industry last week.
There is enormous trouble brewing in the UK racing industry that could have far-reaching implications throughout Europe. Thoroughbred racing was cancelled indefinitely today after a racing stable returned not one, but three confirmed equine influenza positives from horses that were vaccinated.
Racebook.com and Sportsbetting.com will target gamblers in Europe and Latin America.
Douglas Whyte is an iconic figure in Hong Kong racing, a competitor of supreme focus whose abilities and mastery of the circuit yielded 13 consecutive champion jockey titles up to 2013.
The South African’s successes down the years make him the all-time top earner in the jockeys’ room, his mounts having banked an ice-cool HK$1.5 billion in stakes money. Already far and away the Hong Kong jockey with the most career wins to his name, on Sunday (28 October) at Happy Valley Whyte will aim to pass another milestone.
This past Wednesday at the city track, the man they call “The Durban Demon” crouched low over the David Ferraris-trained Electric Lightning and drove through the line to take his Hong Kong win tally to 1,799. Rounding up is the goal this weekend.
“I’ve got some awkward draws, and I’ll need a bit of luck to go my way, but let’s hope I can do it on Sunday,” Whyte said at Sha Tin on Friday morning.
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The 46-year-old has come through some lean spells in recent seasons, and retirement rumours intermittently do the rounds, but he currently sits fifth in the premiership with eight wins on the board. And with his all-time tally more than 900 clear of nearest pursuer Zac Purton, he admitted that this latest landmark had not blinked on his radar until recently.
“Up until a couple of weeks ago, when someone said I only had four or five to go, I thought I was still quite a way off,” he said. “Going into races I’m not conscious of it, really – of course, I’m aware of it because everyone talks about it and it’s a lovely figure to get to but it’s not something I’m focussing all of my attention on.
“It certainly will be a good goal to achieve.”
Whyte has a book of seven rides on the 10-race card. One of those is the John Moore-trained Storm Signal in the Class 3 Ma Wan Handicap (1000m), a last start winner at the course and distance for the former champion.
“It’s difficult because he’s gone up (eight points) in the handicap and the draw (11) has done us no favours, but the horse himself seems to be in similar order and he won with a bit of authority last time,” he said.
“A lot will depend on luck and how he breaks. He’s carrying 133lb now so if I had to ride him in a similar fashion as last time – on the lead – it might tell in the end. Hopefully the speed is on so I can get in and get a good cart into the race and then I think he can give a good account of himself.”
Teetan hot on the heels of Purton
Karis Teetan was in charismatic form when landing a double at the Valley on Wednesday, saluting the cameras as he approached the line on the Class 5 winner Trendiful.
The Mauritian is three wins behind Purton at this early stage of the title race and will look to make inroads with the champion one of five riders on the suspended list. He partners the game Gunnison (128lb) in the last, the Class 2 Chai Wan Kok Handicap (1200m).
John Size’s diminutive chestnut, a G2 winner in Australia as a juvenile, ran on to fourth place over 1000m at the track two and a half weeks ago. That was the four-year-old’s first start this term.
“I think it was a good run – the 1000 metres was a little bit short for him. He came out of a good draw and couldn’t keep a better position so he flew home pretty late,” Teetan said.
And the jockey believes the step up to 1200m is favourable.
“He’s done better over that distance before and I think he’s going the right way,” he said.
“He gives you a good feel when you ride him – he’s very small but he’s got a beautiful action on him. I think he’s the type of horse that took a little bit of time to adapt but this season he’s stronger and mentally he’s got better and I’m really looking forward to riding him.”
Gunnison will face 12 rivals including the Danny Shum-trained Super Hoppy (123lb), winner of his last three starts and the mount of 5lb apprentice Dylan Mo.
In the afternoon’s other Class 2, the Kap Shui Mun Handicap (1650m), Umberto Rispoli is set to take the reins on Circuit Glory, a welcome ride for the powerful Tony Cruz stable.
“It helps when I can ride for a trainer like Tony – every race meeting he’s having two or three winners and I really appreciate this chance he’s giving me,” said Rispoli, who has just two wins so far this campaign.
“Circuit Glory has deserved a good draw and he has it (gate 2),” the Italian said. “His last win was quite good and once he hit the front it looked like he stopped a little bit so he might still have something in the tank. The priority is this horse needs a good pace on.”
Sunday’s fixture is the only Happy Valley day meeting this season and the action starts at 12.45pm with the Class 5 Yau Kom Tau Handicap (2200m).
UK gambling giant William Hill could end an involvement with UK racecourse betting that has spanned more than 80 years. We look at the bookie’s sale of its on-course pitches.
Vincent Ho stole the show at Sha Tin (Saturday, 13 October) with a thrilling four timer while champion jockey Zac Purton had to settle for just one winner and a string of strongly fancied chances who failed to come up to scratch.
The ultra-consistent Victory Boys ensured Purton didn’t go home winless with a stylish reappearance success in the Class 2 Tsuen Fu Handicap, but local talent Ho outshone him with four dynamic wins which took him to eleven winners for the season and cemented his position as clear third in the jockeys’ table.
Ho set the ball rolling with a dramatic last-to-first surge aboard Francis Lui’s Glittering Armour in Race 3 and doubled up for the same handler in Race 5 when Fortunate Runner forged clear in the Chinese General Chamber Of Commerce Cup.
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The popular 28-year-old gave Me Tsui’s Go Public a superb ride to bring up his treble in the Class 3 Yan Chai Trophy Handicap, gradually building momentum with a combination of force and finesse to lead in the final strides, while even better was to follow when stablemate Ugly Warrior took his career record to five wins from six AWT runs with a commanding success in the Tsuen Lok Handicap.
Tsui described the winning rider as “on fire” as he sealed the first fourfold of his career, while Ho feels a combination of hard work and a summer trip to the UK based with leading Yorkshire trainer Mark Johnston are yielding their rewards this term.
“I try to work hard in every aspect of my job 24 hours a day in relation to diet, training, recovery and physio and I’m so pleased that the support and results have come my way so far this season,” he said.
“Ryan Moore gave me good advice about riding in the UK and Mr Johnston always stressed that it is important for jockeys to use their instinct to judge what pace suits a horse.
He added: “I’m sure that I’ve come back to Hong Kong with more confidence this season and I now have to keep the hard work going to make the most of this great start.”
Ho has long held Ugly Warrior in high regard and mentioned him as one who could even graduate to dirt races at the Dubai Carnival last season.
Tsui says he “will let the horse tell us whether he is ready for that” but paid tribute to the way Ho checked inside to avoid a punishing battle for the lead and is eyeing a similar AWT contest for Ugly Warrior in early December next.
Ho would have gone very close to making it five wins from just six rides but for traffic problems aboard fourth-placed Noble Steed in Race 10.
Invincible Fresh took full advantage of the trouble in behind and survived a lengthy inquiry and an objection from connections of runner-up Lady First to give Karis Teetan a treble which leaves him just one behind Purton at the top of the jockeys’ table.
O’Sullivan breaks his duck and looks to Conghua for future success
Paul O’Sullivan was all smiles after becoming the last of Hong Kong’s 22 trainers to get off the mark for the season when Willie Way landed Race 2 to give Teetan his second winner of the day and promptly hinted at a change in policy designed to leave the blocks more quickly in future.
We retired a lot of horses last season, including good servants like Archippus, and I knew we’d start slowly this year,” he said.
“But having Conghua to prepare horses is going to be absolutely outstanding,” he added. “A facility like that gives you the opportunity to finish a horse in May then trial him in the summer and come down here ready to roll when the season starts.”
Tony Millard continued his flying start to the season and notched his tenth success from just 52 starters in Race 1 when Strathallan (121lb) saluted at the fourth attempt, showing speed throughout and battling on well for Teetan to beat promising newcomer Hainan Star (120lb) by a neck.
Millard felt Strathallan’s previous experience proved crucial and, with Nassa, Singapore Sling and South African G1 winner Northern Superstar (formerly Edict Of Nantes) waiting in the wings, he kept things short and sweet when asked about his wealth of emerging talent.
“Strathallan is a nice horse who can improve over 1200m,’ he said. “And this is the best string of young horses I’ve ever had.”
Recent Sha Tin scorer Super Star is one of those horses and Happy Tour – another son of Snitzel sourced at the HKIS in March – looked promising when making all for Danny Shum and Chad Schofield in Race 6.
Shum said: “His first run was good and he’s improved so we will stick to 1200m at Sha Tin for now.”
The Hong Kong season continues on Thursday, 18 October with an eight-race card at Happy Valley.
Karis Teetan topped the win count at Sha Tin Racecourse this afternoon, Sunday, 7 October, with a fine five-timer that included not only Pakistan Friend’s short-priced score in the Chinese Recreation Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1600m) but also a victory snagged in the stewards’ room.
The Cup success was achieved with new ally Tony Cruz but two of the Mauritian’s tally – including the stewards’ intervention – came in tandem with long-time supporter Tony Millard, who continued his fine start to the campaign with a treble.
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“These days don’t always happen but I had a good book of rides today,” Teetan said after the Frankie Lor-trained Morethanlucky sealed the quintet in the afternoon’s final race, the Class 2 Yew Handicap (1400m).
Teetan ended the day with 11 wins for the term, three behind champion Australian jockey Zac Purton, but played down talk of a title challenge.
“It’s still very early in the season; Zac is pretty good and it’s difficult to go past him,” he said. “I don’t want to say too much and get a big head but Joao (Moreira) is not here now so there are a few opportunities out there. I’m not going to think that big at this stage.”
This Pakistan’s no star yet
Teetan delivered an upbeat report about Pakistan Friend’s development after the four-year-old landed the Class 4 trophy race by three-quarters of length – the Australian-bred gelding’s second success from only four starts.
“The first time I rode him he gave me a really good feel,” Teetan said. “I knew that he could only improve mentally and he was a different horse today – he was still not focused 100 percent but he should take another step forward again. He feels like a really genuine horse.
“I believe he’ll be decent, maybe a long-distance horse. The feeling he gave me, I think he can still improve and if he can do that he can go a bit higher.”
Cruz, meanwhile, is taking the view that Pakistan Friend will likely stall on his progression some way shy of the elite grades.
The gelding might sport the Kerm Din silks made famous by the exploits of his illustrious stablemate Pakistan Star, but a star he is not – according to his handler. That assessment was delivered despite the gelding having drawn too obvious comparisons with the G1 winner after he rushed to a deep-closing win on debut late last term.
“He might make it up to Class 2 and he should go over farther in time, but for now I’ll keep him to this course and distance and see what he can do,” Cruz said after the Hong Kong International Sale graduate had stopped the clock at 1m 34.55s.
“It was a smaller field (11 runners), he got a good position behind the leader and I was always sure he would kick home against this opposition,” he said, adding, “He’s improving though, everything he does coming out of the gate is better and he’ll come on for this.”
The handler enjoyed a double when King Genki nicked race nine – his third win over 1650m on the all-weather track – under 10lb claimer Victor Wong.
Teetan kicked off his winning run in race four, eking just enough from the Caspar Fownes-trained Chaparral Star (131lb) to hold off the late run of Sports Master (130lb).
A brace followed for the Teetan/Millard alliance. The latter success took the form of a centre-track drive atop the newcomer Super Star, another local sale graduate; the first was claimed in the stewards’ room after High Five (128lb) was promoted to the top spot upon the demotion of the Derek Leung-ridden Endearing (119lb) for interference caused in the closing stages.
Freedman denied a double
Endearing’s demotion denied trainer Michael Freedman a double on the day and was the second such turnaround. Diamond Friends was awarded race two in the steward’s room after suffering interference caused by first-past-the-post Let Us Win – Umberto Rispoli and trainer Jimmy Ting were the beneficiaries that time.
Freedman, meanwhile, had already enjoyed the high of My Beginner’s Luck’s triumph in race three. Matthew Poon steered the stable’s third winner of the campaign.
“Matthew’s five-pound claim is a big advantage, especially on the on-pace horses,” Freedman said. “It was a similar scenario to when he won on Sparkling Dragon for me at Happy Valley last month. This horse gets a bit worked up beforehand and I was a bit concerned watching him go out but he has got natural speed and we were hoping he could get out and get an uncontested lead like that.”
Murray hits the mark
Callan Murray was rewarded for a patient outlook as he took the opener and snared a first win for the campaign. The young South African’s relief was expressed with a loud whoop as he passed the winning post aboard Top Ace, his 24th mount this season and the first leg of the Millard treble.
“It’s just a relief. Every winner is nice but my last winner was actually in June, since before my hip surgery, so it’s been frustrating and this will give me the confidence I needed,” Murray said.
This afternoon’s success on the Millard-trained galloper was the rider’s first in Hong Kong since he returned to his homeland in July 2017 following a late-season four-win stint.
Murray, 20, landed back in Hong Kong in August with a view to securing a long-term contract in Hong Kong. But his early season hopes took a knock when he picked up a two-meeting suspension in September.
“The suspension was the most frustrating but these things happen, I was patient enough and I think it’s made me a better person,” he said.
Premiership leader Purton took race five on the Lor-trained Witness Hunter.
Hong Kong racing will continue at Happy Valley on Wednesday, 10 October.
Hong Kong racing is five fixtures into the post-Joao Moreira era and any notion that the circuit’s jockeys might be having an easier time of things is proving to be a fallacy. The dynamics have changed but the competition is still intense.
“A lot of people were thinking that it was going to be easier with Joao leaving but I didn’t think so,” Karis Teetan said during a pause from his Monday (24 September) morning routine at Sha Tin.
One look at the jockeys’ premiership table ahead of Wednesday (26 September) night’s eight-race Happy Valley card bears testament to that. Champion Zac Purton sits on five wins, a tally matched by South African newcomer Grant Van Niekerk. On that pair’s heels, with four wins apiece, are Teetan, Derek Leung, Vincent Ho, Victor Wong and Matthew Chadwick.
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“It’s so open and all of the jockeys are working hard to get as many rides as they can, so it’s pretty hard to get lots of good rides,” Teetan observed.
Moreira left Hong Kong at the end of last season, having set records for most wins (145, 168, 170) in three consecutive title-winning seasons before running second to Purton in 2017/18.
Naturally, one thing the Brazilian’s departure has already led to is a broader spread of those “good rides.” Teetan, for one, is seeing the benefit of that outcome, notably through his developing association with Tony Cruz, the handler having stated his intention to leg-up the Mauritian lightweight on dual G1 winner Pakistan Star.
“I’m pretty happy with the way things are going, I’m trying hard to get those good rides. I’m getting some nice chances from good yards and I just need to make sure the ball keeps on rolling,” the rider said.
Teetan rolls into the midweek downtown fixture with five rides ˗ no jockey has a full book. In the finale, the Class 3 Wong Chuk Hang Handicap (1200m), he will side with Alcari (124lb), a horse he has ridden six times ˗ snaring two wins ˗ for longtime ally Ricky Yiu.
“Alcari could be my best; he’s going well. He’s a nice horse and he progessed well last season,” he said.
Teetan partnered Alcari in a 1200m dirt track barrier trial at Sha Tin five days ago. The five-year-old showed enthusiasm for the task as he galloped past the post ahead of the rest in a time of 1m 10.72s – the session’s fastest.
“His trial was very good last week,” Teetan said. “He feels fit and ready, very fresh. I’ve ridden him at the Valley before and things didn’t work out but I think the horse has improved a lot physically and mentally since then. If he can get some luck in the run he’s going to be very competitive, I think.”
Alcari ˗ drawn in gate three ˗ faces 11 rivals, including bottom-weight King Opie (114lb), a winner last start at odds of 1.8 and climbing out of Class 4 for the first time. Trainer Frankie Lor’s four-year-old succeeded in breaking his maiden at his fourth outing when scoring at Sha Tin on opening day.
“He’s up to Class 3 and it is 1200 metres again, but I think later on he will need a little bit further,” Lor said this morning.
“This time, he has the light weight and usually the races at Happy Valley are a little bit weaker than Sha Tin; he’s in good form, so that’s why we have gone for this race. His last run showed me that he had improved.”
Purton was in the plate for King Opie’s breakthrough win, but with that gelding racing off a weight well below his minimum Chad Schofield will take the reins. The Australian ace will instead be aboard the Dennis Yip-trained Starlight (127lb).
“Starlight goes well fresh so the fact that it’s his first run this season is not a problem,” Purton said. “He had one nice trial at the Valley and he’s done a fair bit of work. If he can settle midfield, he’s on a rating again now where he’s well-placed but being drawn 11 isn’t ideal.”
Starlight is rated 74, a mark off which the six-year-old wrapped up a hat-trick over the course and distance last October.
“He could win off 80, I reckon, he just needs the right gate and the right kind of run off that mark; he needs the right tempo – he’s not really a go-forward horse, so he relies on a little bit of pressure early in the race so he can get home,” Purton said.
“He’s a very consistent horse, he always gives his best and he feels like he’s in good enough shape.”
The night’s trophy race is the Class 3 Hong Kong Country Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1650m). Teetan will ride Amazing Satchmo (115lb), one of three trained by David Ferraris.
“His trial at Happy Valley was okay, the only thing is he’s quite a big horse so maybe the track could be a little bit tricky for him, but with the light weight I think he can finish off strongly,” Teetan said.
The contest also features Red Warrior (124lb), the mount of Purton, and the Schofield-ridden My Ally (133lb), both of which ran on eye-catchingly in a 1200m Class 3 at the track three weeks ago.
The evening’s action starts at 7.15pm with the Class 5 Heung Yip Handicap (1000m) in which Teetan is booked for the Cruz-trained Multimax: “He’s down all the way from Class 3 and he should be competitive in that grade,” he said.