Racing in China received a boost recently when it was announced that the Coolmore stud in Ireland owned by John Magnier will supply thoroughbred racehorses to China. The plan by Chinese authorities is to set up a horse racing industry in Tianjin, China’s 4th largest city.
Of course racing is already well established in Hong Kong which was handed over by the British to China and the industry is under the control of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. http://www.hkjc.com/home/english/index.asp
Despite the fact there are only two racecourses in Hong Kong, Sha Tin and Happy Valley, the prize money and betting turnover dwarfs that of the UK which has a population ten times that of the Chinese province.
The Jockey Club has a monopoly to run Tote betting on horse racing and boasts one of the most lucrative bets in the world in the Triple Trio Pools which renders the UK’s Tote Sccop6 to the status of small change in comparison.
Rollovers in the bet, which requires the first three home in three races in any order, can reach HK$250m. This prize dwarfs even the UK National Lottery and is certainly a great deal easier to win.
As you would expect the prize is targeted by syndicates who often use computer technology to crunch through every conceivable piece of form to gain an edge. One such syndicate is led by Australian Alan Woods and although he and his members will place bets worth millions into the pools none of them actually step onto the track.
Hong Kong hosts numerous Group 1 races, none more prestigious than the Hong Kong Cup run over 2000m and the world’s richest turf race over the distance with prize money of HK$22 million (US$2.836 million).
Resident trainers such as ex champion jockey, Anthony Cruz regularly farm the top races (Hong Kong Cup with California Memory) or Derek Cruz who won the inaugural running of the G3 Al Quoz Sprint at the Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan with Joy And Fun
Given the prize money on offer it is surprising that UK trainers don’t send their horses there more often, although Marco Botti won the Hong Kong Vase with Joshua Tree and Ed Dunlop the same race with Red Cadeaux.
UK Jockeys that have fared well at the Chinese tracks are William Buick, who won the Hong Kong Mile on Gordon Lord Byron and Jim Crowley, the one time jumps jockey who won the Hong Kong Vase on Dandino.
Now that the worldwide racing and betting industry is becoming more accessible through modern technology it is only a matter of time before UK bettors are able to take advantage of the greater rewards to be found at such tracks as Sha Tin and Happy Valley; even the new tracks soon to emerge on the Chinese mainland where we should even recognise some of the horses shipped out from Ireland.
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