HE is most usually described as colourful or controversial and trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee certainly does not duck an issue. Whether there is an issue is another matter. The 'Strange Affair of Guy Watkins' saw the redoubtable Kan at the top of his form. The current chief executive of the Jockey Club, Lawrence Wong, bore the brunt of Kan's outspoken remarks in a major Chinese-language daily last week. It is time to recap. Watkins, supremo for a decade at Sports Road, was invited to address the annual dinner of the Hong Kong Racehorse Owners' Association in November. The association, very much bit players on the local racing stage, subsequently withdrew the invitation, which caused something of a stir. Why it was ever issued in the first place is open to question. Had Watkins succeeded in his bid to become chairman of the British Tote Board then he would certainly have been worth hearing as an important figure in the English racing industry. But the Conservatives, who were ready to have him as Tote boss, were caned in the election - and Watkins was canned by Labour. In reality, he is yesterday's man. Wong, speaking to the press recently, said it was not the Jockey Club's business who the Racehorse Owners' Association invited to address them and distanced himself from the issue - and any suggestions that the Jockey Club had any part in the decision to withdraw the invitation. That was not enough for Kan, a friend of Watkins' during the latter's spell in charge, and he rounded on Wong and the Jockey Club. Reliable reports suggest that Wong spoke to Kan on the telephone - interesting call that one would have been - but the trainer was not in the mood to back down. Hardly a surprise to those who know him well. It can be safely said that life is rarely boring when Kan's around. FLY To The Stars, the horse in the centre of the high-profile split between Mark Johnston and Jason Weaver, will continue his racing career in Dubai and not Hong Kong. On offer to two Hong Kong trainers, the money asked was quickly forthcoming from Arab interests and Fly To The Stars will fly to Dubai via Istanbul and London. Former Hong Kong jockey Darryll Holland, no longer welcome here on a permanent basis, is now riding a considerable number of horses for Johnston and the Scots-born trainer states that will continue to be the case. Weaver is due here for the winter months. THERE were a few white faces around Hong Kong on Friday morning following the defeat of Clerkenwell, Michael Stoute's Melbourne Cup hopeful, in a major Arc preparatory race at Newbury. There was a good word or two around for Clerkenwell, intended mount of Mick Kinane in the Australian showpiece, and certain Melbourne bookmakers attracted good Hong Kong business. Those most intimately connected with the horse are said to have taken the 50-1 on offer when the first lists appeared. A couple of keen fellows even took 14-1 in Melbourne last midweek which is a somewhat suicidal way of conducting ante-post business. Barring the ridiculously priced Oskar Schindler last year, there's usually good odds on the day about most Cup runners . . . and that's without the sweat of them getting there. Clerkenwell apparently ran with a corn problem and developments on the vet front are pending with very keen interest in a number of countries. Suggestions are that double the 14-1 quote is now available. It's a hard old game. THOSE of us faithfully filling in our Sure Win tickets are in line for a quality watch in the middle of October - and that could well be useful. When they decided to refurbish the totalisator at Sha Tin and add Chinese characters, one rather important part of the equipment disappeared . . . the clock. The tote used to display 'Time Of Day', which was extremely helpful to those of us who do not bother to wear watches. It was also rather easy to just glance up and know exactly where we stood in relation to the day's proceedings. But some Jockey Club department or other has called time on the clock.