Racing in Hong Kong is run by one of the oldest institutions in the region, the Hong Kong Jockey Club. It is a non-profit organisation which provides horse racing and betting in Hong Kong. The HKJC offers pari-mutuel betting on horse racing and is the largest community benefactor in Hong Kong.
There are nearly 700 horse races per year that the HKJC conducts. Racing takes place at two different racecourses, Sha Tin and Happy Valley. Over the past decade, Hong Kong has trained a higher proportion of Group 1 horses than anywhere else in the world. Read on to discover more about HK racing.
Hong Kong Racecourses
The racecourse lies between Sha Tin, Kung Kok and Kau To. In this beautiful location, it is surrounded by the mountain scenery. The course was built in 1978, originally designed to hold a capacity of 35,000 in one grandstand, however, the high demand for tickets meant that after more development it opened again in 2007 with the ability to hold 85,000 people in two grandstands. The course boasts 20 stables which can hold up to 1,260 horses, ready to race on the course’s turf and all-weather tracks.
Sha Tin operates as a clockwise operating track. Being a spectator in the Grandstand is something to behold as they overlook the beautiful Shing Mun River.
The area that Happy Valley sits on now was swampland 175 years ago. The first race was run in 1846 and over the course of the following years became more and more popular amongst Chinese residents in the local area. The following 150 years resulted in more and more facilities to be developed and now there lies a seven-story grandstand that can hold over 55,000 people.
Happy Valley also operates as a clockwise track which wraps itself around other sporting facilities such as rugby football and hockey pitches. Not even 500 meters away is the famous Hong Kong Stadium. This is where thousands of spectators come in order to watch the Rugby Sevens in May.
Racing in Hong Kong is on Wednesdays and Sundays, and the majority of race days have full capacity. Pool sizes in Hong Kong can get very large. The win, place and each-way bets are offered as per the UK Tote. Additionally there is an ‘Across the board’, which is three different bets on the win, place, and show. A £10 across the board will cost £30 in total.
The exotics that are on offer are as follows:
Exacta - Pick the first two over the line in the correct order.
Quinella - Pick the first two over the line in any order (the same as a combination exacta).
Trifecta/Triactor/Tierce - Pick the first three over the line in the correct order.
First four - Pick the first four over the line in the correct order.
Duet/Any2/Swinger - Pick out two of the first three past the finish line.
Jockey Challenge - Pick the most successful jockey at a meeting.
Double - pick the winners of two races as set by the totaliser operator.
Treble - Pick the winners of the three races set by the totaliser operator.
Pick 6/Big 6 - Pick the winners of six set races.
Sha Tin and Happy Valley host around 1,000 races during a calendar year. Some of the major events on the calendar include:
Hong Kong Cup
Hong Kong Mile
Hong Kong Vase
Queen Elizabeth II Cup
Sha Tin Sprint Trophy
In the last few years, a trip to Sha Tin may have rewarded you with setting eyes on one of the most successful horses in history, Beauty Generation. The seven-year-old bay gelding has managed 17 victories in his 33-race career, with only six races outside of the top three. He has earnt more than £9,750,000 in prize money and has eight Group 1s to his name.
Others include Able Friend, who won over £5,000,000 in prize money but couldn’t quite cut the mustard in the UK when he came over for the Queen Anne in 2015. Gold Fun managed a 2nd in the Diamond Jubilee whilst Cape Of Good Hope had a second and third in the same week back in 2004. However, Little Bridge was the one that managed to bag a win in the Kings Stand Stakes in 2012.
The Jockey Championship in Hong Kong, for the last few years, has been competed for by two men, Joao Moreira and Zac Purton. Zac has 915 career wins since 1999 when he had his first ride on Falcon’s Domain. With over $50million USD in prize money to his name, he is the only one who has gone toe to toe with Joao Moreira.
Three-time Champion Jockey Joao Moreira currently holds the record for most wins in a single meeting with eight victories achieved in 2017 at Sha Tin. The Brazilian maestro was one shy of holding the world record for most wins in a day, however, this does not take away from his other outstanding records across the globe. He has twice been crowned top jockey in Brazil, he won the same award for Singapore four times on the bounce and holds the record in Hong Kong for fastest man to 100 wins.