Thank God for Dennis Yip Chor-hong, he doesn’t do anything in half measures, but his achievements in the area of social media are particularly outstanding.
Media don’t get an official tour of the Jockey Club’s Conghua training centre until the end of October, but thanks to Yip and the power of social media, the followers of the popular trainer got a sneak peak on Tuesday, via the trainers tour.
There is already a drone shot of the 150-hectare (that’s roughly the equivalent of 150 international rugby fields) site near Guangzhou doing the rounds on Twitter, but work is well advanced since then and the facility is due to be open in 2018.
Take a look at the latest construction development of the HKJC's Conghua Training Centre, due to open in July 2018 pic.twitter.com/KdvAqEEl58— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) August 29, 2016
So really we weren’t going to get much more insight than we have already, but what did we get from Yip were selfies, lots of them, of the Yipster and friends dressed in Hong Kong Jockey Club hard hats and wearing so-called “hi-viz” (high visibility) work vests – and it was magnificent.
Just in case you are new to Hong Kong racing, here’s some background on one of our favourite characters in world racing. When Yip caused a huge upset by winning the 2012-13 trainers’ championship, he went to town with celebrations first he designed his own limited edition jeans complete with commemorative “DY Champion” logo. Then in the following preseason, he booked the entire Sha Tin parade ring for the greatest stable celebration party of all time.
How big? How about “guests of honour arriving in a horse-drawn carriage” big.
Tuesday’s tour of the Conghua facility began with most of the trainers piling on to a bus and head of racing Tony Kelly manning the coach microphone like a friendly tour guide and reminding the kids at the back of the bus to behave (undoubtedly Caspar Fownes chief troublemaker among them).
Yip’s social media highlights package didn’t begin until he was back from behind the “Great Firewall of China”, with Instagram and Facebook, of course, blocked on the mainland.
First of all Yip recreates Ellen Degeneres’ Oscar selfie, but instead of heartthrobs like Brad Pitt and Bradley Cooper, we get Me Tsui Yu-sak and Francis Lui Kin-wai – for racing fans this is much better.
The other day somebody remarked, “what would these trainers do if they weren’t horse trainers?”. Well these photos give a wonderful glimpse into a world were they are forced to push wheelbarrows on a construction site. In this post it appears as though everybody is lost and been left to fend for themselves in the wilds of Guangdong.
Then Yip just went completely selfie crazy, but the bonus being that we got our best look yet at the new complex.
So what did we learn? The training centre actually exists, which is a relief, and Dennis Yip’s social media game is on point.