YouTube may be the greatest procrastination tool known to man, and responsible for making hyperactive pageant queens and keyboard playing cats famous for their intellectually stimulating antics.
In fact this very blog was nearly derailed after clicking on three consecutive “epic fail compilations” and watching “Kai, the hatchet wielding hitchhiker” for the 58th time. But for the race fan, from hardcore form student to casual observer, the video-sharing website is a Godsend. There’s still gold to be unearthed and uploaded from dusty VHS libraries the world over, but among the billions of clips on YouTube there’s already loads to enjoy for the racing enthusiast. From historical racetrack performances to funny commentary, commercials and shattered Japanese cheer squads, it's all there.Today we proudly present SCMP Racing Post's five inaugural inductees into "YouTube's horse racing Hall of Fame".
SECRETERIAT’S 1973 BELMONT STAKES
YouTube is a treasure trove of race replays, including modern greats Black Caviar and Frankel, plus hours of features races through the years. The best part is taking a trip down memory lane, or in this case, digging up something from before we were born: Secreteriat’s astonishing, Triple Crown-clinching, Belmont Stakes win. The vision says it all, but also listen for CBS broadcaster Chic Anderson’s famous call "Secretariat is widening now! He is moving like a tremendous machine!"
Secreteriat's Kentucky Derby win is also interesting to watch if only for how close the crowd get to the inside rail in the straight. If you'd backed Secreteriat, it's ok to get excited, but a quick tip: if you've backed a two to one on favorite, and he is pulling away for an easy win, don't rush toward the inside running rail at the furlong pole as he runs past, waving your arms like a madman while wearing a bright yellow sweater, it's asking for trouble.
YouTube is not only a place to find great races, but also great calls. On the score of persistence, Jim Jacques wins for his hoarse whisperer call. But the best is Tom Durkin calling fan favorite Arrr at Saratoga Racecourse on July 28, 2008
WE BOUGHT THE WRONG HORSE
Dutch insurance company Centraal Beher is famous for its campaign of TV commercials. Don't know how this ad sells insurance, but it's funny nonetheless and gets major props for productions values and comic timing.
NOT FOR THE SQUIMISH
This fascinating Inside Natures’ Giants episode shows the inner workings of a thoroughbred, literally, so it’s not to be watched while eating dinner – although it is essential viewing for punters wanting to know more about the animal they yell at to try harder each weekend.
HONG KONG’S GREATEST HITS
This clip of Ambitious Dragon’s 2013 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup goes in, not only because of the quality of the performance, but the quality of the picture. The Hong Kong Jockey Club has the best racing website in the world, and replays of all the greats can be seen – Silent Witness winning 17 straight, Sunline versus Fairy King Prawn and Good Ba Ba’s three straight Hong Kong Miles. The only issue is that the older replays can be so pixilated it looks more like a Lego recreation and you need to squint to make out what is happening. The HKJC has a YouTube channel well utlilised as a vehicle for promotional material, and it is updated with the latest races. But wouldn’t it be great to see the all-time efforts in crispy clear quality like this?