We have all had days when it really would have been better to stay in bed. The Jockey Club's director of racing, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, could have been forgiven for wishing he had never left home last Friday, taken the telephone off the hook and spent the day reading a good book. Instead, he was to discover that those under his direction had decreed a horse did not take part in a trial when it did and issued a wrong set of weights for the season's first griffin race. To brighten things up further, it was known that three Sales horses had already tested positive to anabolic steroids and there were doubts about certain overseas runners in the Vase. Trainers were somewhat voluble about the state of the Sha Tin track and there was yet more to be seen and discussed on electronic sectional timing. I have probably missed one or two things along the way, but you get the general idea. A deep grey, if not Black, Friday. It is easy to get the idea that with such well-publicised glitches as some mentioned, Hong Kong racing limps from one disaster to another, held together by a few competent people but overloaded with time-servers not in step with the times. Partly true, but also exaggerated. As we head into what should be the most exciting three months of the season, it is worth reflecting on recent incidents and their short-term or longer-term effects on local racing. The weights mistake where Northern Hemisphere griffins carried three pounds more than they should have done was simply that - a human, avoidable error which was embarrassing rather than detrimental. Senior handicapper Martyn Stewart carries that can but, in fairness, let's look at the other side of the coin. We have seen some admirably close racing in the past few weeks with superb, four- and five-across-the-line finishes which testify to the fulfilment of the handicapper's art. Stewart may be a somewhat prickly individual at times - to some - but he does know his job and he is not in Hong Kong to win popularity contests. He made a mistake but he does not make many and, believe me, we have had others in this onerous, frequently thankless, position who have not done as well. The Jockey Club and their Keeneland auctioneers acted quickly and wisely to despatch three sales horses back to whence they came - America - when it was discovered they tested positive to anabolic steroids. If we are going to sell horses from America then there is always the chance that this will happen and the swift decision to drop them from the Sale has protected owners and sounded the best warning possible for the future. Not all is right yet with this annual Sale, but the Jockey Club may be getting there and this type of publicity is, in my opinion, much more positive than negative. Hark back three years to the deplorable business of the Australian rigs and the half-truths and subterfuge that prevailed then. Trainer Lawrie Fownes was fined $2,000 on Sunday for starting Prince Albert in a Happy Valley trial without the horse being freeze-branded, as is required by the rules. In effect, chief stipendiary steward Clinton P. Pitts Jnr reached the right decision in letting the horse run - just as his panel did in awarding errant jockey Douglas Whyte five days for striking at apprentice C. W. Mok with his whip. In the case of the 'did not take part in the trial' it was, ultimately, more humorous than anything else and was officially rectified. Hopefully, the final echoes of the unfortunate Whyte business will now die down as the South African sits out the last of his five-day ban. Last week's regular media briefing with Pitts, taking those interested through various races and answering questions, did not allay doubts about the procedures adopted in the Whyte case - and other earlier issues this season. It remains inherently unsatisfactory, and unsafe on appeal, to charge a rider on three counts for one incident when two of them cannot be seen to apply. The Rule 190 count concerning conduct prejudicial to Hong Kong racing - or bringing it into disrespute - has never been used since it was amended in 1989 following a sensational sex case. It is simply wrong to charge a jockey under this rule which was amended to cover incidents which occur off the course. There are more than enough rules already contained in Hong Kong's Rules of Racing to cover everything that happens during a race meeting. Stewards of three other major racing jurisdictions have confirmed that 'improper riding' can only take place during a race - not before or when pulling up. Strictly speaking, had Whyte continued with his appeal he should have won on two counts, with the result that the overall five days - the correct penalty - could have been in jeopardy. One thing that should be very, very clear to Hong Kong stipendiary stewards is that the ends do not justify the means. Rules must be correctly identified and properly used. That was not the case with Whyte. Hopefully, we can now look forward to a month or two of top-quality racing with some of the world's best jockeys in action. And we'll be leaping out of bed in the morning in anticipation of what lies ahead.