Friday, May 22, 2009

Taipan Thursday Terminates in Tantrum

Dear Fellow Shareholders,

As any player with economies of scale would know, one of the great shortcomings of the Happy Valley Races is that you cannot short-sell your opponent's horse. It is a tactic that would have come in useful at last Thursday's meet.

Dunross - now back in Hong Kong - challenged me to "Taipan Thursday" at the races. The parameters were straightforward: HK$20 million in each pot, Hong Kong Rules apply. I simply could not refuse as Dunross' own horse - Noble Man - was running in Race 8, no doubt be the decider.

Dropsy Wong, my personal assistant, arranged for a car to the races. As a man of the people, I then stood track-side and committed HK$20 million of Rothwell-Gornt's own money, confident in my abilities as a proprietary trader. High above, in the safety of Jockey Club Stewards box, I could see the familiar figure of I.S. Dunross, Taipan of the Noble House, looking down.

Betting started in Race 3. Both Dunross and I went in cautiously, with Dunross taking the early spoils - a meagre HK550,000. In Race 4, Dunross spread his bets across no less than six horses - the risk averse investment thesis of Struan's all too apparent. His tactic didn't work, and I evened the tally with a HK$500,000 win.

By Race 5, the stakes - and the risks - were getting higher. I opted for an ambitious quinella, which backfired, while the Taipan also had bad luck. We racked up over HK$5 million in losses between us. The turning point came in Race 6 - my losses of HK$400,000 comparing favourably to Dunross' HK$3 million expense. In Race 7 I capitalised on my already strong position with a famous HK$9.65 million win - my best performance this year.

As things stood, by Race 8 - our final round - my pot stood at HK$26.75 million, the Taipan's below HK$17 million. Standing on the terrance, Dunross gave me a secret hand sign - "all in Taipan", it said. We committed our remaining stakes. The race was going my way until the final furlong. From the back of the field, Noble Man staged an impressive sprint to take second place, and Dunross had won big. A replay can be seen here.

The final standings were: Gornt down HK$3.75million, Dunross up HK$5.8 million. My loss shall be disclosed in Rothwell-Gornt's Interim Report as "Miscellaneous Expenses".

Best of joss,

Quillan Gornt
CEO and Taipan
Rothwell-Gornt Holdings

PS - If anyone from the Hong Kong Jockey Club is reading, I am still awaiting my invitation to the Board of Stewards.

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