We have discussed in this space previously the poor deal that Happy Valley has had over the past decade and even a reasonably successful Sunday meeting like the one last weekend only begs the question of how much better it could be used. It was reasonably successful in a bottom line way, with total turnover up by only HK$22 million-odd, but that may have been better but for the flat tyre that eWin suffered in the first half of the programme. Explanation have we none, and there was a school of thought among officials that most punters would only have been inconvenienced by eWin's malfunction only insofar as having to switch from computer to telephone, but it must have cost the club something. A turnover rise of only a few per cent in the current climate is almost a loss. Maybe it wasn't only eWin. Poor old Happy Valley was once the centre of the racing universe, where the Derby and Group One Cups were run - actually it was the entire universe. Then along came Sha Tin and, point granted, it is a more suitable racetrack so all the biggest features went there. But the past decade has seen Happy Valley steadily denuded of even the few serious handicap features that were left and it was covering itself with barely a fig leaf on Sunday. In fact, more than a few comments were passed that the Sunday date at the Valley had been wasted on what looked like a mid-week night meeting stretched to 10 races. The same types of horses who have been brought up before - headed by Our Lucky Baby, Noble Conqueror and other Valley stars - were sitting home in their boxes after having been forced by the programming to run at Sha Tin lately instead of being saved for a race at the track where they can win and, what's more, will carry betting tickets. But then the best race of the day was an ever so slightly elongated Class Two and they can't run there. The race programming and handicapping team plays enough silly games with the ratings bands to have no excuse for not tweaking something better out of a weekend date at the Valley. And, while we're on the subject of the Valley meeting, the track surface was the talk of the jockeys and trainers. A number of horses pulled up with injuries (and who knows how many more with lesser aches that went unreported), while several were named in the stewards' report as having failed to stretch out on the surface. Jockeys leaving after the meeting unanimously commented on the discomfort of many of their mounts and yet the firm track failed to produce much in the way of times. Perhaps it was so firm under hoof that, as one rider put it, the horses were restrained about putting their feet down, so fast times weren't possible. Maybe that's why they were having trouble winning from further back than the first few in running as well. In recent seasons, the description 'good to firm' has been used less and less and Hong Kong even when the ground is clearly harder than doing a Rubik's cube in the dark. We suspect - cynically - that has been for fear of complaints about horses jarring up and being injured on such tracks. Sunday's track, with the change of grass coming through, was marked as good, but you'd never know it from the comments of those involved.