This Toys story doesn't have happy ending

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 December, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 December, 1999, 12:00am

IT'S probably just as well that Brian Kan Ping-chee was not on course when an objection against King Of Toys was upheld, costing the colourful trainer his 700th winner of the season.

King Of Toys and Jimmy Quinn were first past the post in the nightcap at the Valley, beating the fast-finishing Prancing Horse, who was definitely unlucky in that he lost considerable ground in an incident at the top of the Rock.

Glen Boss, who rode a treble, objected against Quinn and, to the general surprise of the remaining crowd, this was sustained.

Connections of Prancing Horse may not have expected it as he had to be resaddled for the winning photograph. And Kan certainly didn't.

The former champion trainer was at home battling a dose of the flu but answered the phone when I called to congratulate him.

Just as that happened, up popped the Objection sign although Kan was not worried. 'No way, it is all right,' he said.

Had he been on course, the air would, to say the very least, have been blue.

This decision will cause more talk than any yet under the new regime of chief stipendiary steward John Schreck.

While Prancing Horse suffered badly and was unlucky, the presence of Mundahish, angling in before any possible interference from Quinn on King Of Toys, complicated the issue.

CHILDREN'S laughter, happy parents, ice cream cones and shrieks of excitement.

A day at the beach? No, it was Happy Valley yesterday when more than a century of blinkered officialdom went out the window and children - properly accompanied by their parents - were permitted in all enclosures.

But not, it must be emphasised, at the betting windows.

It was a huge success and highly unlikely to have turned any of the happy kids running around and trying to look at the horses into future gambling addicts.

For decades, Jockey Club official programmes carried the message: 'Children under the age of 17 (Western reckoning) will not be admitted.' Unfortunately, the barriers have come down for only two days - yesterday and the special millennium meeting at the city track. Anywhere else in the world, children on racecourses are part and parcel of a meeting because horses are exciting to watch.

Political capital may already have been made out of the sensible decision to use yesterday's rare meeting at the Valley as a test run for the millennium. There were advertisements in certain newspapers deploring the Jockey Club action.

It is really such a ridiculous, head-in-the-sand attitude as to defy logic.

If the kids were staying at home, could they not see live racing on television, accompanied by betting suggestions? On course yesterday there were happy family groups enjoying a special, unusual, day out.

It would be unrealistic to expect permission to be given for children to attend every Hong Kong race meeting. However, just as the Jockey Club has a highly successful Ladies' Day each year, would it not be appropriate to set aside three or four days for children? THERE was no luck for Basil Marcus in the World Super Jockeys' Series in Japan yesterday.

The Golden Spur, first of the three races involving the international riders, went to Japanese rider Yoshio Shibata with the only Hong Kong-known name in the first five being the fifth-placed Gerald Mosse. The final two races of the Series will be held today.

TRAINER Wong Tang-ping has been around Hong Kong racing for over 40 years and is as popular a figure as you will get at trackwork.

In case you may not have seen it, I urge you to take a good look at the Jockey Club's promotional video for the International Races which features the silver-haired mentor talking to the horses in his stable.

He is a complete natural - and it shows.

THE big plunge yesterday came on Crown Regent, whose odds were sliced from 20-1 to 9.9-1, and he got up in the tightest of photo finishes. In fact, there would have been many in the crowd prepared to swear that Diamond King, with Douglas Whyte up, had got it in the last nod.

One man not only bemused by the plunge but also happy enough to laugh at it was Lawrie Fownes.

'It certainly wasn't me. You can have a look at the tickets,' said the long-serving trainer as he produced a $200 win ticket.

'And I only put that on because I had it left after doing a couple of quinellas!' Robin Parke THE FINAL SAY THE FINAL SAY