Top racing job channels first love for TV head

City talk | Terence Chang 13 May 2021

Eric Wong, head of i-Cable's Channel 18, sent me a few photographs of himself with horses.

"I sent you these pictures not because I am the head of a horse racing TV channel, but because I've loved horses since I was a child," he said.

"I went horseback riding on Lantau when I was about 11 or 12."

When he visited Japan, he went to the horse-breeding facility Shadai Stallion Station and posed for photographs with Lord Kanaloa, champion of the 2013 Takamatsunomiya Kinen race, two-time winner of the Hong Kong Sprint and a Japan Racing Association Horse of the Year.

Wong was appointed head of the pay-TV station's racing channel by one of the station's major shareholders who had entrusted his horses to Wong's care over 10 years ago.

He said: "Obtaining a university degree or even double degrees may take four, five, six or seven years, but there is a definite time frame.

"Horse racing, however, is a program in which learning never ends.

"University programs have curriculums.

"Likewise, horse racing has a framework of 10 categories of data that you need to study - track record, record of track work, trainer, jockey, draw number, course, odds, venue, pedigree and rating."

New horses join every year, so I reckon the data would have to be constantly updated and analysed too. Such myriad variables makes the study of "horse-racing-ology" a daunting endeavor, at least to me.

"That's where Channel 18 comes in - to help horse racing fans get a handle on the subject," Wong said.

"Originality, reform and more effort is not just a slogan but is what we do."

Wong didn't say this to market a product. After all, he's not in the business of selling horses.

His role is to provide objective information to racing fans, who make the final betting decision.

Wong is certain that he has chosen the right career.

"I've always been doing what I love.

"I love traveling, so I joined a travel agency. I love horses, so I lead tours to Australia to watch horse racing.

"I am also involved in raising horses, which requires professional knowledge.

"I love horses so much that when I ride on the back of one, it will know that I understand it," he said.

I may not totally understand such intricacies of the people-horse rapport, but I can certainly understand Wong's love of horses.

Terence Chang Cheuk-cheung is the retired headmaster of Diocesan Boys School

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