THERE is a lot more to policing a race meeting than bringing an errant jockey to book for riding carelessly - or noting down for public consumption various incidents that have taken place in races run at Sha Tin and Happy Valley. Given the vast sums of money wagered on local races, it should be deemed important to note betting trends - and pose questions in advance of races. In stringently policed jurisdictions, trainers and jockeys can be queried as to riding instructions and actually informed as to how stewards expect to see horses ridden and perform - given the inherent chance aspect attached to any horse race. Here are two cases in point: Former Macau-based Irish trainer Kevin Connolly brought off an excellent coup in Sydney recently with a horse that had run a reasonable sixth at its previous start. It opened at 125-1 and was backed down to 50-1, largely through a major bet put on by the horse's owner who had been informed by the trainer that he thought there was an excellent chance of winning. Bookmakers were fleeced - an unusual but not unwelcome sight - and Connolly was promptly called to a stewards' inquiry. Every aspect of its previous run was gone into but the horse had, in fact, been gelded in the interim and the Randwick race was on good ground rather than a dead track. Connolly was asked how much he had wagered on the horse - a question I personally find contentious as, to my knowledge, there is no Rule of Racing which says a trainer must have a bet. The point being made, however, is that the stewards were concerned about a major coup which might have been connected, retrospectively, with a doubtful previous run. In fact, it merely transpired that, for once, a successful betting coup had been brought off - and it does not happen too often. At Sha Tin on Sunday, last-start winner Super Power scarcely moved off a 5-1 quote throughout betting and started at that price despite what most observers considered an excellent course and distance win previously. Opening at 7-1, a mere two points longer, was stablemate King's Honor who had started at more than 100-1 at two of its three previous outings and 89-1 on the other occasion. Again, in other racing jurisdictions, concern for punters' interests is so great that runners from the same stable starting in a race are bracketed on the tote and run as one. That is a very obvious safeguard for punters, but would not be workable in Hong Kong with its limited fields and stables. Why did King's Honor, with no real form to its name, open so short and Super Power, with an excellent course and distance win immediately behind it, go off at such attractive odds? King's Honor had worked demonstrably better leading up to this race and was definitely seen in several quarters as an improving type who could give an account of himself in Sunday's modest Class Four event. Conversely, Super Power had gone up, quite obviously, in weight and may have had his detractors on that account. It was, however, a prime case where stable information and knowledge had to be a totally vital factor in the betting market. Allowing for the factors outlined above - improvement on the track as opposed to a weight hike - the essentially moderate differences in the respective starting prices was startling. It is not suggested here that there was anything untoward in the running of the horses in this event and, at the end of it all, King's Honor ran as his form indicated. He showed up for quite some way and faded while Super Power finished second to Champion Mascot, although we have certainly seen much better rides from Gerald Mosse who had Super Power back and wide for much of the trip. The point again stressed is that the protection of punters is of paramount importance in Hong Kong racing given the money involved. The second race on Sunday showed up one area where vigilance is required: betting trends involving runners from the same stable. Stipendiary stewards have quite formidable powers in any racing jurisdiction. Full use of them should be made here. DUAL Derby-winning rider Alan Munro was jocked off Electric Flash almost literally minutes before declarations for the Classic Trial last Friday. Up until 5.15 am he still believed he was riding the horse on which he had won the San Miguel Silver Tankard. It is an owner's prerogative to put on the jockey of his choice, but courtesy and loyalty should also come into it. So, too, should common sense. American Gary Stevens is a top jockey, but had never ridden at Sha Tin before and did not know Electric Flash. Had Munro actually ridden Electric Flash in the Trial, I do not doubt that it would have won. The instructions given to Stevens were to keep the horse wide and they were certainly followed to the letter and beyond - at the cost of almost certainly winning the race. Stevens, of course, is totally blameless in the situation as it relates to Munro. Trainer Gary Ng Ting-keung is not. He had confirmed Munro for the ride and had still not told him by late on declarations morning that he was off the horse in both the Trial and the Derby. In the goldfish bowl that is Hong Kong racing, Munro had little option but to take it on the chin. A complaint to the Jockey Club would almost certainly have been counter-productive - he is due to ride here until the end of the season and needs a steady supply of good mounts. Rocking the boat, however justified, was not the long-term answer. The cavalier treatment of Munro was offensive, but does tend to show up the character of those chiefly involved: owner and trainer. Suffice to say that Gary Ng Ting-keung, in particular, is not someone you would want in the trenches with you.