Hong Kong's main English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post, has come out woith a savage article lambasting Australian racing interests over the controversial issue of internatiuonal horses racing at the spring Carnival. The article in the paper's Racing Post section, says:

We've written this before but, in the current context of Australian racing suffering a serious bout of the "Careful What You Wish For Blues", it bears repeating as one of the enduring memories of more than 30 years in the business.

In the aftermath of Vintage Crop's 1993 Melbourne Cup win - not the day after or an hour later, but the actual seconds and minutes after he hacked up - panic set in. Some of Australia's most successful figures played Chicken Little and declared the sky had fallen.

"We'll never win this race again," was the common cry, and in such stark contrast to the views of the same people on the chances of Irish stayer Vintage Crop and English visitor Drum Taps five minutes earlier. You can't win without racing on the Saturday prior, you can't win without a recent lead-up, you need this many race miles in the legs ... and so on. It was comical to think the foreign horses might be a threat. Before the race.

The door had been opened for them to lend some novelty to the Melbourne Cup. After 132 years of celebration as a handicap, the essence of which is that anyone can win, that the so-called lightweight battler can beat the champions - yes, that's actually the idea of a handicap, Virginia - the Cup was seen as waning. Some bright spark came up with a plan to encourage participation from other parts of the world, Vintage Crop and Drum Taps took the bait, and the game was afoot.

The Chicken Littles receded as Australian-trained horses got back to winning the Cup in subsequent years. The Northern Hemisphere raiders kept turning up, running well without winning and that was acceptable.

All the while, minds north of the equator were sorting out the right horses for the race, after many that were sent were too dour, too highly handicapped or didn't fancy firm going.

Simultaneously, prize money kept rising. Protectionist won almost triple Vintage Crop's prize and the distribution spread down the order to A$100,000 (HK$667,000) for 10th. Officials tinkered with the handicap to weed out the battlers, almost by definition local horses, and even helped the foreign runners by watering tracks.

Then Australia was blindsided by Makybe Diva - a proper, northern hemisphere-bred, European-style stayer but Aussie-trained. Since her, the sky hasn't fallen exactly but there are bits of cloud on the ground.

Four of the last nine winners, and a good proportion of the place getters, have been trained in Japan, France, Germany, Great Britain or Dubai. (Foreign transplants like Fiorente and Green Moon don't count - that kind of "foreign" stayer has been part of Melbourne Cups for over 100 years.)

So, voila There's your global Cup and congratulations, because that's what you set out to do. All it needs is a US-trained winner and it will become the universal racing event because, unlike the other big races around the world, the Melbourne Cup is an event, not just a race.

Joao Moreira said on Sunday it was the greatest thing he had ever been a part of on horseback, but it's even bigger than that.

The Japan Cup, it's a race. Dubai or Hong Kong, that's a few races. For the Arc or Breeders' Cup, it's two days and a few more races. And it's about the races and it's for the people who are there for the race.

The Melbourne Cup is a festival, a party lava-flow over weeks, building into a race, but touching, consuming everything in its immediate path, racing and non-racing alike.

And, more recently, foreign visitors have bought into more than the Melbourne Cup - they've bought into the festival, going for the Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate, the sprints and even support races, because the prize money is luxurious by most standards. The more they come, the more they'll win, and one day the calls won't only be for restricting international runners in the Melbourne Cup.

With the Sydney carnival in the southern hemisphere autumn aiming to be international, be ready for more. It's not as good a fit for the rest of the world as Melbourne, it isn't as well organised or as spectacular, but put up enough money and people will find their way there with second-tier horses and they'll be very competitive. The recently announced A$2 million for the Sydney Cup looks a significant carrot.

So there it is, Australian racing. You built it, own it. How ironic that a horse called Protectionist won in the year the volume went up on calls to restrict foreigners in the Cup, and that call has the distinct look of a vineyard gone wrong. The racing authorities aren't unhappy about the visitors and the huge profile the Cup now has - it's just about everyone else who is having a whinge.

The response of Japanese racing, when foreign-trained horses annually pillaged the world's richest race in the early international Japan Cups, was not a lockout but to improve. It took years, and the Japanese improved so much the lockout has happened naturally. No legitimate foreign star will run in the Japan Cup now, it's too hard.

To a lesser extent the same happened in Hong Kong. The early internationals were a walk-up start for foreign trainers. Even in the early days of this century, there was criticism from some local trainers that it was wrong for the Jockey Club to put up so much money knowing foreigners would win.

The correct response, fortunately, was the one which happened. Standards have risen, local horses hold their own, foreign-trained runners leaving with the prize on December 14 this year will have earned it, but their presence has lifted the meeting.

There are many ways Australia can retake the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, if that's the aim of the game. Return to proper handicapping, stop paying so many placings, don't water the tracks and don't assist with travel costs. Let the raiders come and roll the dice at big dollars on the same terms as locals always did.

And have a crack yourself again, Australia, and not just the two sprints at Royal Ascot every couple of years. We hear world's best sprinter every time an Aussie horse wins a race, but few turn up in Hong Kong, even for the richest turf sprint in the world, or Japan where there are two A$2 million sprints.

Don't whine about the globalisation you threw on your own barbie coming up burnt. It's un-Australian.