Last week's election of Hong Kong Jockey Club chief executive Lawrence Wong to the post of vice-chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) has any number of potential benefits for Hong Kong racing. The IFHA is regarded as the peak body of world racing. Wong was already chairman of the Asian Racing Federation (ARF), whose 19 member countries boast 60 per cent of the world's thoroughbred racing wagering turnover, so no previous Hong Kong official has ever enjoyed this unprecedented level of global clout. It's a great honour for Wong and an even greater one for Hong Kong racing. However, the job is bigger than any individual and the important question now is what Wong will do with his new-found power and influence? It could be the turning point for the Good Neighbour Policy he has championed over the past year, giving Hong Kong and all those other 'good neighbours' an opportunity to do something constructive with the buckets of goodwill they've been generating at conferences as far apart as Auckland and Paris over the last eight months. Wong, it has to be said, has always been driven by the bigger picture in both his Hong Kong role and his ARF chairmanship. Just last week, in accepting his IFHA vice-chairmanship, Wong said: 'I am honoured to take up this role at such an important time for racing and for the communities it supports. This is a great honour for Hong Kong, reflecting our hard work to improve the quality of our racing and customer focus and so raise our international profile. I am proud that Hong Kong racing has been recognised in this way.' His words clearly illustrate both where he's coming from, and where he's heading. The sport of horse racing, the welfare of the communities it supports, servicing racing's customers and improving the international profile of Hong Kong racing - these are the issues on which Wong is focused. It's also significant that Wong, and by logical extension the Hong Kong Jockey Club, now have more influence abroad than they do at home, where the Hong Kong government has shown it can introduce wagering taxation increases - as it did earlier this year - without consulting the Jockey Club. Hong Kong racing has been sculpted and refined under commendable stewardship from chairman Ronald Arculli and CEO Wong - as well as those who preceded them - generating $1 billion per year in charity contributions as well as 11.6 per cent of total government taxation revenue. They have created the finest racing-wagering industry in the world today and should long ago have earned the right to more influence on government policy in their field of expertise. Yet when it comes to making long-overdue change to the way racing is taxed, in order to (a) stimulate turnover growth and (b) enable the Jockey Club to be more serious in its ability to challenge illegal bookmakers in a commercial sense, the Club's many successes and credits seemingly count for nothing. The whingers and agitators of the anti-gambling lobby - lost in a fog of hyperbole on a subject they don't really understand - arguably have more influence than the doers and achievers who have made such a positive difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens. Wong's new international appointment is a golden opportunity. He now has the chance to galvanise the support and goodwill he's been assembling over the past year and can start to get something concrete erected out of the Good Neighbour concept and rhetoric. The Good Neighbours need to collectively see the need for global wagering reform and for some potential new good neighbours - like France, the host of last week's conference - the need is overwhelmingly urgent because they have one of the most punitive racing taxation structures of all. The irony could be that Wong may become a catalyst for meaningful, significant reform on the world stage before being able to achieve it at home. And if that should happen, it will be to the absolute discredit of both the anti-gambling lobby and the HKSAR government.