Happy Valley Races

Having discovered earlier that the horse racing on Saturdays is run at Sha Tin racecourse I found out that Wednesday night is when it occurs at Happy Valley. The horse racing season is due to finish in the next couple of weeks or so, and as I am only due to be here until August my chances of seeing any horse racing are sufficiently limited. Once again it was a tram to Happy Valley from North Point – no standing on the wrong side of the road this time. Slowly but surely I’m learning to find my way about Hong Kong reasonably efficiently.

There are four forms of legalised gambling in Hong Kong; Mark Six – lottery, betting on football (the English Premier League is massively popular here, as is, in fact, pretty much any European football. Yes, David Beckham is worshipped here too), betting on horse racing, and Mahjong. I’ve no idea about Mahjong, but if you want to bet on any of the first three you can only do so at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The Jockey Club is a non-profit organisation with it’s ‘profits’ being donated to good causes throughout Hong Kong e.g. hospital buildings etc. and other community projects.

There seemed to be a similar number of people in the grandstand as previously turned up to watch the Sha Tin races on the Saturday. However, there were loads more people at track side where there were beer and food stalls. You could get right up to the barrier of the race course, with your beer, to watch and take photos of the horses as they would thunder past. It seems as though a lot of the native Hong Kongers stay in the stands or the Jockey Club area, whilst outside drinking beer and watching the races at track side is predominantly ex-pats.

Overall my evening could have been better – didn’t pick a single winner or placed horse out of the 5 or so races I bet on – so gambling debt was at about HK$100. Also chose to eat a hotdog from one of the stalls that really didn’t agree with me, and I spent the next week or so with stomach cramps and a dodgy gut. Fantastic…

On the plus side, pints of beer were only $HK28

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