What the new year will bring
It is one of the staples of newspaper journalism to look back at what has passed and forward to what will come on the occasion of events like the New Year. This column has tended to shy away from that role since racing has an exactly defined season at which point to do this, but round up the usual suspects, as they say, and we'll have a brief stab.
Douglas Whyte to win the jockeys' championship with the first-ever triple-figure tally, despite receiving a solid suspension before June 20.
Tony Cruz to win a raft of the big races but fail by a very narrow margin to remove John Size from the trainers' throne in a last-day finish to rival Size's first win in 2002.
David Hayes to remain consistent to form, defy the rumours for the fourth year running and not return to Australia at season's end. But there will be rumours about the departure of another expat trainer and at least one other will be seeking a license elsewhere in Asia (and not Macau).
The new overseas trainer for the 2004-05 season to come from Australia or New Zealand, we fancy from the latter, with a prior Hong Kong connection.
Turnover down 12 per cent for the season due to the unfortunate success of soccer betting and the resultant cannibalism on racing, but still not down as sharply as many experts had expected.
Oh, and the banker - no English sporting side to win a major international competition. Damn you, Jonny Wilkinson.