Yesterday horse racing history was created when the HKJC held five “exhibition” races to showcase its billion dollar training facilities in Conghua, Guangzhou.

This was the first HKJC produced horse racing event on Mainland China and attended by various power players including Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

Carrie Lam declares Hong Kong Jockey Club’s historic China move a winner in Greater Bay Area relations – SCMP

There was no betting according to the Rules and Regulations of what can and cannot happen on the mainland and everything possible, including a fifteen minute delay in the screening of the races, was part of this taster.

The main course might be years away or not as far as some think, but this event in Guangzhou was an expensive taster of what could be- to the international racing media and, possibly more importantly, powerful Mainland Chinese officialdom.

Changing China’s gambling laws ‘even above what the Jockey Club can do’ but racing in Conghua is here to stay
– SCMP

Over the decades there have been the unofficial horse racing events in Wuhan, Wuhan, Outer Mongolia, but, again, with no betting allowed and more like picnic racing.

We know a friend who attended one of these events and won a refrigerator in a raffle draw. Another won a rice cooker. Both are still waiting to receive their winnings.

What happened in Conghua yesterday was very different. It was part of a well executed rollout programme by the HKJC with over HK$3 billion spent on a state of the art facility that has quickly established itself that its location and surrounding area, especially the air and everything it offers for the well-being of the horses stabled and trialled there, have improved them- by lengths.

It’s why the HKJC ensure that those studying track work know which horses racing in Hong Kong have come from working in Conghua with dates of when they were up there, for how long, and when they returned to Hong Kong.

Bottom line: Horses that have worked in Conghua are at an advantage by their well being. Where all this is going to lead is going to be interesting to watch.

Away from Conghua and back to Sha Tin, this afternoon sees the last day of Silvestre de Sousa’s extended riding stint in Hong Kong.

Of course, the UK champion jockey has made the usual cameos in Hong Kong during the winter months in the UK, but never has he made the impact as he has this season.

He’s the new Brazilian iron man, perhaps not having the style and finesse of Joao Moreira, but an incredibly strong rider who gets the most out of his mounts.

It’s made him the most in-demand rider next to Zac Purton. His leaving back home to a new riding contract and especially be with his young family, will leave a huge hole in the jockey ranks. Only the most naive wouldn’t be thinking of ways to attract the popular rider back to Hong Kong- on a full-term basis next season.

Will he bow out with a winner this afternoon? Most believe he will on Right Choice (3) in the seventh race- The Kowloon Cricket Club Centenary Cup.

On the subject of winners and a fan of De Sousa, we have asked a form analyst from the UK in Hong Kong for only this race meeting, to share his thoughts on what we might expect.

One thing to bear in mind is that he doesn’t take an interest in every race- a recipe for disaster. He chooses a maximum of three races- and goes in hard.

Which races will these be? That would be telling. Make the most of what’s below. Good luck!

Meanwhile, here’s hoping that Heidi Klum, who’s been in Hong Kong and Macau for over a week, makes an appearance at the races today. The speaking voice can get annoying, but she remains quite a fascinating beast and permanent Instagram fixture.

RACE 1

RACE 2

RACE 3

Natural Flare (3)
The Happy Bunch (11)
Richcity Fortune (9)
M Reborn (4)

RACE 4

Prince Of Gems (1)
Star Luck (7)
Tom’s Dragon (11)

RACE 5

Intrepic (9)
Monica (2)
Red Horse (10)

RACE 6

Multimillion (9)
Goko (12)
Utopia Life (5)
Best Sense (2)

RACE 7

Right Choice (3)

RACE 8

Honest Way (5)
Smart Leader (6)
Flying Thunder (1)

RACE 9

Gameplayer Emperor (5)
Volpino (2)
Imperial Concorde (9)
Chung Wah Spirit (8)

RACE 10

Kings Shield (2)
Racing Fighter (3)
First Responder (10)
McMuginal (13)

#HKracing #Conghua #HKJC #SylvestredeSousa #CarrieLam #HeidiKlum