|Hong Kong Horse Racing|
|Run your mouse over the above image of Happy Valley race course and see how the skyline has changed in the past 50 years. (may take a minute or two to load)|
Hong Kong horse racing is a local passion and pastime; it is one of the only legal gambling opportunities available to local people in the SAR. During the Racing Season (September to June) the Hong Kong Jockey Club runs a programme of events at either one of the two race courses in Hong Kong. The Shatin raceourse is in the New Territories and can be a little too far to commute for the average tourist or non-local HK resident. So, for our purposes I will concentrate on the Happy Valley racecourse which is the most renowned and easy to get to. Usually races are held at Happy Valley on a Wednesday evening and it is a thoroughly recommended evening out. The atmosphere and seamless, enjoyable and state-of-the-art way one can be parted from one's cash is testament to the enormous amount of money that the sport attracts in Hong Kong. Oh yes, of course you can win big too. The Jockey Club donates its profits to charities in Hong Kong.
The Racing Season programme of events can be found on the Hong Kong Jockey Club's website http://www.hongkongjockeyclub.com
If there's no racing while you're in town, the Racing Museum at Happy Valley is worth a visit. You can also walk to the inside of the track which is open to the public when racing is not in progress. Just ask at the Museum and the staff will direct you.
To get to the Happy Valley HK Racing Museum and race course, here's a map.
The public stands at the race course are always buzzing and at HK$10 entry fee, it's a bargain. It is very easy to place your bets through the efficient computerised betting stations on each level of the stands. I would suggest that you pick up the HK Jockey Club's betting guide beforehand, which shows how to fill out your betting card. This, together with the South China Morning Post's English racing guide (issued with the daily rag on the day of the races) and you'll be fit! But wait! There is another expert resource to help you make your selections. On the race day or the night before, check out www.horseracing.com.hk where the professionals keep tabs on the form of every horse! They provide data to individuals and organisations on a commercial basis, but you can also download a tipster sheet which can be printed for you to take to the races too.
Visitors to Hong Kong holding foreign passports can arrange to go to the races, viewing from the Member's area in the Jockey Club. Consult the HK Tourist Association for details or the Jockey Club itself.
Do note that mobile phones are banned within both race courses. The 'mobile phone police' employed by the Jockey Club will pounce if they should hear a ring or see the bulge of a phone in your pocket (or are you just pleased you won??). Having personally had the unpleasant experience of being frog-marched to the mobile phone lockers to have the offending instrument locked up even though it was not switched on but was visibly attached to my bag, I do suggest you leave it at home!