Gary enjoys a fleeting moment of rehabilitation

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 September, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 September, 1994, 12:00am

TO err is human, to forgive divine. Briefly late last week it seemed the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club had opened their arms to welcome home their multiple, if errant, former champion jockey, Gary Moore.

Officially sitting out the final months of his disqualification for betting offences, the personable and ever-enthusiastic Gary has popped up of late in a journalistic guise.

His thoughts and selections have graced the pages of a certain local publication and he has been diligent in his new, but almost certainly temporary, profession.

Over at the Sports Road headquarters of the Jockey Club, they have been busily organising the first tipping competition run by that august body. It is open to newspapers and racing writers in the territory and a total of 217 are involved.

In his new role, the name of Gary Moore popped off the fax machines and teleprinters last week as a participant in the tipping competition.

Those versed in the rules of racing were, to say the absolute least, somewhat surprised that a jockey serving a disqualification should be officially sanctioned to take part in a competition organised by the jurisdiction that banned him.

Moore's 're-instatement' did not last long. A fresh list went round a short time later with that famous name no longer to be seen.

Expunged . . . but not before considerable embarrassment had been caused in the corridors of power at Sports Road.

The prize for the competition is a round-trip business class ticket to London plus spending money and accommodation at a leading hotel for four days.

Had Moore been allowed to compete and actually won the tempting prize it might not have been totally embarrassing as at least his disqualification will have ended by the time the competition finishes next June.

Moore will return to the saddle at Taipa in a blaze of publicity next January.

Possibly off to a desk in the back room of the furthest-flung off-course betting centre in the territory is the chappie who let that famous name through in the first place. LEGAL eagle and man-about-town Kevin Egan loves his racing and was somewhat miffed when his colleagues in the Hong Kong Cricket Club syndicate vetoed the name of Kerb Crawler - his Irish Turf Club monicker - for Chater Sovereign last season.

Kerb Crawler is alive and well in New Zealand, the name being given to a colt Egan and partner Jim Chandler have in training with former Hong Kong jockey turned trainer Nigel Tiley.

The dynamic legal duo were in Auckland recently to watch their pride and joy run - and he acquitted himself well. 'He finished third in ground that was up to his hocks,' enthused Egan.

Word has it that the New Zealand Derby is the ultimate objective . . . so the boys are aiming high. Not, mind you, that Egan has ever been one to understate a case. LAWRIE Fownes celebrated his 57th birthday yesterday but he didn't get the present he wanted - a winner.

The popular Fownes had a couple of chances on the programme but the horses involved clearly didn't appreciate how important a day it was for their master.

Lawrie was stroking his impressive white beard reflectively after the final event but the question now must now be asked: how long will it stay on? The former champion trainer of Calcutta has been known to sport whiskers before - but got rid of them when he felt he needed a change of luck.

We can assure you that there is nothing in the least desperate about the situation with the respected mentor just yet and the tip is that the beard will stay intact for some time yet.