Successful, yes. Memorable, yes. Strangely quiet at some times. The 2009-10 season will be remembered for an extraordinary jockey championship, for records broken, for champions who rose and fell, or the merely mortal, and who won or lost. There was no ICAC arrest, no rocket-propelled darts embedded in Happy Valley (the addition of more appalling C+3 meetings aside). For scandal, we had to make do with the emotion-driven campaign against Darren Beadman and the stewards' panel in the Chinese media after Collection's QE II Cup defeat. Or content ourselves with the rumblings around the race tactics or the discussions of them by apprentice jockeys living under the same roof. The juniors played a far more prominent part in the play this season than their usual consignment to the chorus. Or we had to feel sympathy for Marco Chiu Kwan-lai - not long returned from six months' disqualification in June last year for a positive test to the drug ketamine when he was gone again in February and his career on the skids. There was a farewell to former champion trainer Ivan Allan, who passed away in Singapore after battling illness. He was always a man who polarised opinions to the extreme and 'loved or hated' probably didn't describe the full spectrum of emotions he inspired in people, but no-one could deny his genius both as a trainer and buyer of horses. Even the World Cup couldn't slow the increased turnover for the season which took betting back to 2002 levels, albeit with some tweaking and spin-doctoring of products. The five extra meetings and the added foreign simulcasts were mostly well received, though the television coverage of the latter drew plenty of complaints. On the track, racing fans remained spoiled by the level of international achievement as locals were again a stumbling block for visitors to Sha Tin and held their own while travelling - Green Birdie and Joy And Fun bringing back international prizes from Singapore and Dubai. Brett Prebble became the first jockey to win six races on a day, but even that wasn't enough to get him the championship. The contest went down to the last three races of the season and saw Douglas Whyte retain ownership of the title for a 10th straight year. Caspar Fownes took his first Derby and equalled a decades-old record when he trained six winners on a card but, like Prebble, who rode most of those six, he had to settle for second in the championship. He handed that title back to the man he had taken it from last year, John Size, whose season revolved around a sixth championship in nine seasons and making Entrapment the first horse to win seven races in a season along the way. A lesser-known record also fell to Lazy Buddies, who made his 112th race start and took that particular achievement from First Knight before being retired. Once again, the government was a mighty winner from its decision three years ago to allow a restructuring of the internal revenue arrangements for its biggest taxpayer, the Jockey Club. The Jockey Club is HK$250 million better off over those three years. The government, however, has been able to lift its return from racing from HK$7.9 billion in 2007 to HK$9 billion this year. That's a spread of loads and returns that the Jockey Club may want to address, especially with issues like its master plan to invest in itself now ready to go. Two years since it was first discussed, the master plan to keep racing vital and relevant has now been approved by the board of stewards. The club will reveal a road map before the start of next season to outline the direction of a multi-billion investment in modernising its facilities. Part of the master plan will be the building of world-class training facilities at the Congha facility near Guangzhou, once it is acquired by the Jockey Club after the Asian Games, in a move that will alter the culture of Hong Kong racing for ever. It's a move the club insists is absolutely necessary as its Sha Tin facility ages. Investments in intellectual technology, an advanced and improved internet platform are on the agenda, too, after the World Cup showed how resilient are the gambling avenues that threaten the Club. 'Our competition is just a mouse click away,' warns chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, whose plans for next term include revamping how the club connects with customers and a new marketing guru, whose background includes being a punter and racing enthusiast. That's an area where the Jockey Club wants progress - key employees in many areas are unable to perform better because they have no understanding of the customer's needs, having never been customers themselves. The club made a step towards a more functional perspective when it announced, late in the season, a significant change to policy: from next season, club workers who are not employed in sensitive departments will be permitted to bet for the first time. It is part of the drive by Engelbrecht-Bresges for the club to be 'customercentric not merely customer-serving'. 'This has been a good season - one of exciting racing and continued progress - look at where we were three years ago, before the reforms, and see where we are now. But the challenges don't disappear,' he said.