Friday, 28 December 2012

SCMP Goes Interplanetary

For the last race meeting of 2012, the Hong Kong Jockey Club has chosen a planetary theme, which, I suppose, is just another way of saying that they couldn’t get anyone to sponsor the evening.

In his introduction to The Honourable Schoolboy, John Le CarrĂ© pays tribute to the support provided him by the erstwhile boss of the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club, as it was then, Major-General Someone or Other, with whom the author had shared a few snifters as he pumped him for information which would become ‘authentic’ background to his story.

There’s something particularly British about an eight-race programme that has opted to solve the conundrum posed by Pluto’s demotion from planetary status by featuring all seven of the current  extraterrestrial crop with the one we all love to hear pronounced so that it rhymes with ‘your anus’ given double billing, so that Race 3, the Uranus Handicap Section 1, is followed immediately by the Uranus Handicap Section 2. If Brett Davis is calling the card tonight, this should lead to some interesting repartee in the commentary box, with Darren Flindell sure to be stoking the fires and Cohen-eggs-berging his fellow Aussie on.

The hacks over at the South China Morning Post are no strangers to the world of astronomy. There must be more space cadets per column inch on this newspaper than on any rag in the region. What else could possess the owners of the thing to offer an online version for the princely sum of HK$400 when proper papers such as the Telegraph, Guardian and New York Times offer their superior ware for nothing?

The one thing you can always rely on the SCMP for are errors. If Charles Williams was right when he said that inaccuracy is hell, then the subs at the Post, and their bosses, who are meant to read the stuff before it goes to press, must inhabit the ninth circle of Hell along with Cain, Judas, Brutus and Satan himself.

Today’s Racing Post  proudly gives the draw stats for the last year on page 2, so that punters can see just how disadvantageous a wide draw really is on the C+3 course. The stats are given in percentage terms, only the Post boys and girls have yet to learn that percent actually means ‘expressed in terms of a hundred’. Either that, or a few UEOs (unidentified equine objects) have been joining the Dragon Stars and Lucky Dragons as they navigate the city track. How else can one explain the fact that the total number of horses taking on the 1,000, 1,200 and 1,650 metres this year amounts to 102%, 102% and 101%  respectively?    

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