In what seems a bizarre decision the Jockey Club is not permitting the new Sky racing programmes - beamed through the Star TV network - to be transmitted to the Sha Tin racecourse complex. Unofficial approaches were made to the Racing Department a couple of weeks ago and met with no success. Now it is going to become official. At a Trainers' Association meeting last Saturday, it was agreed that the Jockey Club would be officially requested to permit the service to be transmitted. But the official request is not going to meet with immediate success. Director of racing, Philip Johnston, said yesterday: 'At this stage, we are not going to allow Sky TV to be transmitted to Jockey Club premises.' Some trainers are bemused by the Jockey Club's attitude, particularly as individuals are prepared to pay for the cost of the service which gives subscribers access to top racing from Australia, England and Ireland. 'We are professionals involved and our livelihood is racing. We are meant to be an international racing centre but we cannot watch live overseas racing from three major countries. 'It is not only childish it is also silly. We buy a lot of horses from Europe and Australasia and we could be seeing some of their best racing and their good horses,' said one disgruntled trainer. In the new era of Jockey Club accessibility and transparency, as only yesterday again espoused by chief executive Lawrence Wong in an impromptu post-race press briefing, the reasoning behind this move is opaque. It also smacks of censorship and is not unlike the banning of the World Service of the BBC in some countries, simply because it is impartial - or better. A valid reason for the current decision will be beyond the ken of most of us but probably has its foundation in remarks made in the Jockey Club's annual report. It was stated there that there was increased competition from overseas racing for the Hong Kong betting dollar. Most successful business ventures, of course, like to keep a watchful eye on the opposition. It was a sweltering, unpleasant afternoon at Sha Tin yesterday as Typhoon Sally headed for the territory. Sweaty as it was in the stands, it was downright enervating on the track as French ace Eric Saint-Martin pointed out after the final event. Despite drinking a can of isotonic after every race - he was involved in all nine - Saint-Martin still lost five pounds in body weight. And there wasn't that much there to start with. There may well have been a few nervous flutters but Hong Kong's new racecaller, Terry Spargo, came through yesterday's first day test with flying colours. It's probably like riding a bicycle - you never really forget. But Terry, who hosted the Jockey Club's raceday shows last season, hasn't been race-calling in earnest for quite some time. 'I enjoyed it and I would like to think it will be better once I really get settled in,' he said later. There's a certain upbeat ending to his calls that went down well and Spargo looks set for a good stint. Piere Strydom took the place by storm on his first day last season but failed to ride a winner yesterday. It certainly wasn't for the want of trying and his first won't be long in coming. And he could not have been feeling over the moon after the running of the final event - won by Red Jeans. Strydom was offered the ride on Red Jeans by trainer Wong Tang-ping but turned it down for Cottage View, who finished fourth. It happens.