The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) is reporting its highest ever turnover figure following the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.
HK$136bn (£12.7m) has been wagered across the campaign’s 88 race meetings, marking the first time that turnover has risen above the HK$130bn mark.
Sha Tin and Happy Valley played host to a record 835 races through the course of the season. Joao Moreira, known as the Magic Man by his faithful followers, was crowned champion jockey with 157 wins, 32 more than nearest rival and last season’s winner Zac Purton, while Caspar Fownes clinched the trainers’ title after a good tussle with 11-time champion John Size.
Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer of the HKJC, said: “We are delighted to have been able to again complete a full season with a clear focus of ensuring racing to continue while upholding the principle of protecting the public health and safety of our employees, stakeholders and the public. The remarkable season turnover has enabled us to contribute more for the betterment of our society.
“The collective discipline of all participants – trainers, jockeys, owners, employees and customers – has been especially heartening in these trying times. In that sense, nothing about this wonderful display of Hong Kong’s enterprising spirit and ‘can-do’ attitude is surprising.
“I am thankful to our employees for their dedication and hard work, and to our licensed persons who demonstrated strong integrity to keeping racing going. Through their efforts, we were able to provide valuable stay-at-home entertainment for hundreds of thousands of racing fans at a time when social distancing was of paramount importance.”
“I also appreciate the understanding amongst our supporters that as a result of our alignment with the Government’s public health policy, restricted number of people were allowed back on-course. With the improving COVID-19 situation, sooner than later, I am looking forward to a return to normality and we can welcome back all of our customers to our great race-tracks.”
The World Pool, which was created by the Club and launched at Royal Ascot in 2019, continues to show excellent growth. The Dubai World Cup meeting set a turnover record of HK$332m (£30.9m) in March before this year’s Royal Ascot King’s Stand Day surpassed that figure with HK$340m (£31.6m).
Total turnover on World Pool meetings was up HK$1771.3m (£164.8m) or 108.6 per cent, while the commingled component was up HK$313m (£29.1m) or 88.1 per cent.
Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges said: “Given the circumstances confronting the Club, our overall season racing turnover of more than HK$136bn is outstanding. The growth in turnover is testament to the quality of our product and the support of our customers. To achieve these types of figures underpins the importance of horse racing to Hong Kong and its people. We are also delighted with how popular our simulcasts are with Hong Kong customers and we are pleased that we will offer more next season.
“The World Pool at Royal Ascot again delivered significant growth with four of the five days producing record figures despite fluctuating weather conditions and the competing presence of the Euro 2020 Championship.
Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges said: “The Club is proud to live up to the commitment of betterment of Hong Kong society through racing betting duty and charitable contributions. With this outstanding performance of the season, we are able to do more for our community with a strategic focus that best meets the needs of Hong Kong people.”