Foreign raiders may ring alarm
The more open resolve of Japanese racing authorities in recent years has not been without its tests already, but last Sunday's Japanese Derby fixture must have galvanised a few of the old reflexes.
It is less than 10 years ago that New Zealand's Lisa Cropp and the ex-Hong Kong-based Englishman Alan Munro blazed the trail as the first foreign jockeys to gain contracts in the closed world of Japanese racing. Since then, there has been a steady flow of foreign riders there but usually just one or two at a time.
There are currently three foreigners licensed in Japan and the success of Damien Oliver, Kent Desormeaux and Mirco Demuro in carrying off half the programme - including the Derby - on one of the year's real feature days may ring some alarm bells.
Incidentally, the turnover in Sunday's Japanese Derby alone was around HK$2.5 billion and the trend of betting on big days there could not be more different from the conventional trend in Hong Kong.
While punters here tend to be more hard-nosed and bet in patterns of increase through the card - turnover in Sunday's Champions & Chater was easily passed by the money wagered on the Class Three ninth race - Japanese punters are all about the Big Event.
The dominant feature race on a day will frequently account for as much as 66 per cent of the entire day's betting turnover, regardless of where it falls on the card.