RACEHORSE OWNER and businessman Gary Kam Shing-kan gets into galloping high spirits when talking about horses. He owns six, including Russian Pearl, one of Hong Kong's best-known racetrack names. 'I used to be on horseback jumping fences every weekend,' Mr Kam recalled. 'I would think: Wouldn't it be nice to have a horse of my own? A lot of my friends owned horses and they talked about their horses all the time.' He and his wife Grace bought their first horse 10 years ago. 'I would love to spend more time with them, he said, 'but I don't want to disturb the trainer or distract the horse.' Mr Kam, who owns the fashion chain Pearls & Cashmere and the Modern China Restaurants, was in Dubai recently, four days before the Dubai Duty Free, just to be with Russian Pearl. He was unable to be present at the race because it clashed with his daughter's wedding. 'My horses dictate my mood,' he said. 'I am tremendously excited when they enter a race. The thrill, the happiness and even the disappointment - these can't be described. There's nothing like it.' Mr Kam and his wife never miss a race if one or more of their horses are running, and they make sure they put money on them. Any takings are shared with friends. 'I love to distribute the lucky money. There was one occasion when I did not place any bets because one of my horses didn't look like it had a chance. But it won. I had lots of regrets.' Mr Kam said the fame Russian Pearl had brought him followed him around. 'Lots of people know me because of Russian Pearl. Often, when I'm in a restaurant, I get smiles and greetings because people have seen me on TV.' Russian Pearl won on his first outing in Hong Kong in November 2004. It was a stretch over 1,800m and the odds were 35-1. He also broke a record set by Japan's Midnight Bet when he won the Hong Kong Cup several years ago. Russian Pearl's most recent triumph was the Group One Stewards' Cup in January. After the race, his trainer Tony Cruz said: 'He is well balanced and he has lots of class. He's like a Mini Cooper with a Porsche engine.' You might say the horse is the apple of Mr Kam's eye. 'Russian Pearl is all I have ever wanted,' he said. 'I started to buy horses because I was envious of those who had champion horses. I longed to own an animal like those. And now I have Russian Pearl.' A good horse can earn many times the cost of caring for it and training it. Mr Kam said the money Russian Pearl brought in would cover all the expenses of all the horses in his stables. 'But it's not about the money,' he said. 'I don't own horses for business. Horses happen to be my passion.' It has not always been glory days for Russian Pearl. The horse was seriously injured on two occasions and had to rest for more than 1? years in total. 'To see your horse injured is the worst thing that can happen to an owner. They run so hard for me and when they get hurt I feel so bad.' Mr Kam believes that luck plays a '70 per cent role or more' in the world of horse racing. A split second can matter in a race, and instinct matters when you are buying a horse. 'It is true that horses with good blood are potentially better horses, but there are no guarantees.' Mr Kam used to follow a policy of buying several lower-cost horses each year to maximise his chances of success. But there was a year when he bought 10 horses and not one of them won a race. 'I don't do that any more,' he said. 'I try not to be impetuous. Now that I have Russian Pearl I'd rather spend extra on one good horse.'