Andreas Schutz confessed to feeling ill to the point of vomiting when Jockey Club stipendiary steward Kenneth Kwok contacted him in Europe to notify him about the pending transfer of champion Good Ba Ba from his stable.
Champion Good Ba Ba, Hong Kong's highest rated horse, will be moved to the Derek Cruz stable from Andreas Schutz on Aug. 10.
Viva Pataca finally achieved his rightful place alongside the greats of Hong Kong racing when he was named Horse of the Year for 2008-09 at the annual Champions Awards.
Hong Kongers sent horse racing on its annual summer holiday after a spectacular Sha Tin season finale that gave the Jockey Club its biggest betting day in six years.
John Moore made an impassioned case for Viva Pataca to be named Hong Kong's Horse of the Year after the famous stayer clawed his way to a third win in the Citi Champions & Chater Cup (HK-I) May 31.
Luca Cumani, the man who trained the greatest performer in the history of Hong Kong horseracing, is back in town taking aim at the HK$14 million Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup April 26 with Presvis. There's a growing belief that he will do it.
Trainer John Moore was in superb form after Collection, starting a piping hot 1-4 favorite, trounced Classic Mile hero Thumbs Up in the HK$16 million Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby off an inspired Darren Beadman ride.
Collection began the Chai Wan Handicap by attempting to savage the horse next door, followed up by savaging all 12 rivals in the run home, and now those willing jaws have a vice-like grip on the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby in two weeks time.
James Winks was swept to cloud nine on the broad back of 50-1 chance Dim Sum in the group I Chairman's Sprint Prize Feb. 21 and as darkness fell on Sha Tin, there was no sign of his coming down any time soon.
Lucky Quality did his part, winning the Feb. 7 Class One Jebsen Industrial Handicap on the all-weather track at Sha Tin under top weight of 133 pounds, and now the ball is in the court of the Dubai Racing Club to see if the flying 4-year-old becomes Hong Kong's next international runner.
Good Ba Ba emphatically confirmed his status as the world's number one older miler at Sha Tin Jan. 23, but even a $5 million purse in Dubai and a $1 million bonus incentive will not tempt trainer Andreas Schutz and owner John Yuen Se-kit to prove it on the world stage.
It should have happened 12 months earlier, but when opportunity knocked a second time there was only one result Christophe Soumillon would accept in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile with his chance pick-up ride, Thumbs Up.
Gerald Mosse emerged from Sha Tin Jan. 9 with two rides for two easy wins and immediately announced that rumors of his imminent retirement are completely unfounded.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club will have a full debrief with the starting team and stipendiary stewards in the wake of a series of late scratches at the barrier at Sha Tin Jan. 4 that cost the club more than $HK60 million in refunded bets.
A furious Eric Saint-Martin declared Dec. 28 that he is finished in Hong Kong racing after stipendiary stewards slammed him with an improper riding charge and a two-month suspension of his license.
- By Murray Bell
On Dec. 17, tributes poured in for South African master horseman Felix Coetzee, who said goodbye to Hong Kong racing after an "experiment" that lasted 16 years, to be reunited with his family in Cape Town.
Jockey Douglas Whyte claims his third victory in the Cathay Pacific International Jockey Championship at Happy Valley.
- By Murray Bell
Relations between international racing organizations are in a rare state of strain after Racing NSW in Australia chose to set aside the decision of Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards to disqualify jockey Chris Munce until September 2009. Munce, who was recently released after serving 20 months in jail, is now expected to return to race riding in Sydney the week of Dec. 7.
The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International races set a new benchmark Nov. 26 when 38 individual trainers from 10 foreign jurisdictions declared to bring their horses to compete at Sha Tin Dec. 14.
Egyptian Ra took the points but Good Ba Ba's Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) claims remain very much intact after a sensational ride from Felix Coetzee turned the favorite over in the HK$3 million Cathay Pacific International Mile Trial (HK-II).
Ross McDonald, trainer of brilliant Australian galloper Weekend Hussler, has announced a sweeping international agenda for the seven-time group I winner early next year in which he aims to become the first horse to tackle all four legs of the Asian Mile Challenge (AMC).
The revenge mission toward this year's Hong Kong Cup (HK-I) is "full steam ahead" after Viva Pataca won the Nov. 16 HK$3 million Cathay Pacific International Cup Trial (HK-II) in a common canter, leaving the owner, trainer, and jockey all licking their lips in anticipation of a glorious international day in December.
Every jockey and trainer's worst nightmare came true for Dennis Yip and Felix Coetzee in Hong Kong Nov. 15, when their horse weighed in light following the fourth race at Sha Tin and had to be disqualified.
Breeders Cup Mile (gr. IT) runner-up Kip Deville will head a record American raiding party for this year's Cathay Pacific International races in Hong Kong December 14.
The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) has been the long-range target for Green Birdie since early in the year, but a sizzling first-up victory against the sprinters in the Oct. 25 group III Premier Bowl at Sha Tin might have trainer Caspar Fownes reconsidering his position.
Last year's Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (HK-I) still gives John Moore bad dreams, but in the wake of a stunning first-up win by Viva Pataca Oct. 26, it should be the opposition that suffer the nightmares in less than two months time.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club is working hard to recruit the best U.S. runners for the Cathay Pacific International Races on Dec. 14. Curlin is one of several Breeders' Cup World Championship contenders being pursued for the Hong Kong Cup (HK-I).
The new season group races cannot come soon enough for trainer John Moore and jockey Darren Beadman, who believe world-rated stayer Viva Pataca is "better than ever" as he builds up for a revenge tilt at the HK$20 million Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup.
Glen Boss flagged the first shock of the new Hong Kong racing season when he told the Hong Kong Jockey Club July 29 he will not return as a club rider for the 2008-09 racing season.
Prizemoney for the Hong Kong Jockey Club's 2009 group I Champions Mile has been boosted by 50% next year to HK$12 million, giving it a badly-needed shot in the arm that should cement its significance as the third leg of the Asian Mile Challenge.
Peter Ho Leung secured the first group I of his training career when Packing Winner finally turned the shadow into substance, fighting off odds-on favourite Viva Pataca to mark a memorable graduation to Hong Kong racing's elite level.
The nightmare is over for jockey Olivier Doleuze, who emerged from a May 21 inquiry by Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards into a drug "irregularity" without a case to answer.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club has some serious thinking to do during the summer in a bid to ensure the latest jockey drug-related embarrassment is never repeated, according to executive director of racing Bill Nader.
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