Horse racing in Hong Kong is a pivotal part not only of many people’s lives but the city’s economy, and horse racing in Hong Kong is followed far more passionately than anywhere else in the world. Racetracks, particularly Hong Kong’s Happy Valley, which offers flat races only, are regularly packed, boasting an electrifying atmosphere that is rarely replicated on other racetracks. Outside the stadium, locals pour over form guides and tipster rundowns.
In all honesty, Hong Kong’s obsession with the horses is more an obsession with gambling, just witness Macau, however with some of the world’s best tracks, world class race meets and a manic crowd, a visit to the track is a must. Those who are used to the refined atmosphere at English meets, or the sober surroundings on American tracks will find the roaring Hong Kong crowd and humble approach an exciting shock to the system and Happy Valley is simply one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles.
Aside from the gambling and the racing, Happy Valley is very much a social affair. Beer tents and make shift hot-dog stands keep 40,000 people fed and watered, and much of the racetrack turns into the city’s biggest al-fresco bar.
Hong Kong Jockey Club
The Hong Kong Jockey Club has a monopoly on racing and betting in the territory, a holdover from colonial days, and the HKJC is the territories largest taxpayer and charity. The organisations privileged status is thanks to the average six million plus bets placed on each meet, meaning a flutter for nearly every Hong Kong resident.You can find out how to navigate the many, many bets on offer with our Hong Kong betting guide.
Where to Go
Happy Valley is head and shoulders above the other racetrack (Sha Tin) in Hong Kong . The track at Happy Valley is banked by a wall of skyscrapers and with almost all meetings set at night, this crowd of buildings form a dazzling fence of neon for the evening’s excitement. Happy Valley also offers restaurants, bars, with some of the cheapest beer in the city, and a convivial mix of locals, expats and tourists. Entry to the ground is just HK$10.
The Hong Kong racing season stretches from September to June. Remember the Beijing Olympics, with the equestrian events being held in Hong Kong, are likely to affect the 2008 season. Race meetings are generally on Wednesday evenings in Happy Valley and Saturday afternoon in Sha Tin. Hong Kong's Horse Racing Schedule 2009/2010
The minimum bet on races is a bargain $10, and all further bets are in multiples of this amount. You’ll find betting and form guide given out free at the track. There is usually around fifteen minutes between races.