May has come and gone, and the confident prediction of Macau Jockey Club chairman Stanley Ho Hung-sun that his club would start betting on Hong Kong sometime that month has, for reasons beyond his control, proved to be long on optimism and short on practicality. We already know the Jockey Club's wagering reform model, which would give Hong Kong horse racing the greatest stimulus in its history, is also languishing in a government bottleneck while betting turnover completes its sixth straight year of decline. And the exciting concept of internationalising the Triple Trio, by making it available to punters in overseas jurisdictions with their bets commingled into the Hong Kong pools, is stuck in the resultant log jam. So although the curtain will soon come down on what has, in many ways, been a highly successful season for Hong Kong racing, the effective progress made on the big issues confronting our racing has been a big, fat zero. A lot of people on both sides of the Pearl River Delta have done untold hours of worthwhile work, trying to make things happen. The two friendship races with Macau have gone off with scarcely a hitch and a genuine sense of co-operation has been created. The chairmen of the two clubs have been communicating as never before and the resulting contractual agreement, of the mechanics of Macau offering wagering on Hong Kong racing, was signed off. As his business empire clearly illustrates, Dr Ho doesn't make too many mistakes. But assuming the agreement with the Hong Kong Jockey Club would only require the proverbial rubber stamp from the HKSAR government was one of them. When will Macau ultimately begin betting on Hong Kong, and hopefully start a line of new business that will benefit both parties? No-one knows. Why, you might ask, does the Hong Kong government continually see the need to immerse itself in these issues, when the overwhelming weight of history is that the Jockey Club has always been capable of running its own affairs, for the ultimate benefit of Treasury and hundreds of Hong Kong charities? Fair question. Over the generations, the chairmen of the Jockey Club have often simultaneously been the leaders of some of Hong Kong's most powerful institutions, like HSBC or Hang Seng Bank. Their stewardship of the club has been repeatedly acclaimed around the world, yet after decades of success, they are still being second-guessed by either the leaders of government, the bureaucracy or both. Who could blame the Jockey Club trumps if their frustration levels are going through the roof? No-one likes working hard for a full year and having nothing ticked off on the end-of-season scoresheet, due to external forces. If things stay as they are, the Jockey Club will almost certainly have more and more important developments stuck in political or bureaucratic logjams. But like all world-changing decisions, the right answer could ultimately be a simple one. Why not take all the ideas and amendments currently being mooted and present them to government as sub-sets of one single, substantial reform document. Wagering reform (dropping take-out for win and place to 10 per cent and quinella to 12 per cent), Macau betting on Hong Kong as agent, internationalising the racing-wagering product, and allowing the Jockey Club the same flexibility with managing racing that it now has with soccer - all could be encompassed in one outstanding, defining amendment. The government would find it easy to 'sell' to Legco because it is overdue reform of the business of Hong Kong's single biggest taxpayer, whose financial health is crucial to the entire Hong Kong way of life. And it could achieve the structural change that is absolutely and definitively necessary to move Hong Kong racing forward again, after more than half a decade in reverse gear.