What’s often naive thinking is when some who profess to understand the ins and outs of horse racing still have the blinkers on when having to face the fact that putting on these race meetings is part of a business. Right, Dougie?

Running any world class racing club is a business. It’s not something for hobbyists or those craving for the good old days.

It’s not how smaller is something quaint for those wanting a more intimate day at the races.

With days at the races now either on Hold or something to be viewed in the online world for who knows how long, as with any business, it’s about how to continue producing the goods the best one can. It’s doing the maths.

This leads to turnover and how, against all odds, the Hong Kong Jockey Club recorded HK$121.6 billion in betting turnover for the topsy turvy 2019-20 racing season that ended last Wednesday.

This figure, achieved across 87 local meetings and the simulcast of 164 overseas races was only 2.8 percent down on the record 2018-19 figure.

If this wasn’t enough, Wednesday night’s season finale at Happy Valley produced turnover of HK$1.6 billion- a record for any fixture at the city track.

Overall, HK$12.11 billion went to the HK Government coffers in taxes while a significant contribution has been made to charities including, naturally enough, emergency Covid-19 funding.

With all these numbers bandied around, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of turnover and just how much goes back to the community- the financial aid needed these days to help the city fight a faceless enemy while also funding Hong Kong’s present and future.

As has been mentioned here and wherever I have written over the years, the HKJC is much more than a racing club.

Its Charities Trust is a vital part of an organisation that works WITH the community FOR the community and in ways often overlooked.

It’s also the fifth largest global charity organisation.

For Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, who has seen the ups and downs and rollercoaster rides of this unique city since arriving here from Germany in 1998 to be Director of Racing before appointed CEO in 2007, ensuring that the Club continues to lead by example while inspiring the community to understand the role they have to play as responsible citizens, couldn’t be easy.

Then again, the leadership skills of the man known as “E.B” are unique. He commands respect- not only by big business, but by the general public. He has a track record that’s hard to beat.

Again, it’s about leading by example. It’s ensuring that the HKJC is a racing club and a business that benefits Hong Kong- and always seen as looking after the interests of the community.

It’s a delicate balancing act, but it’s one that works in ways that very few organisations can.

#HKJC #horseracing #turnover #HKJCCharitiesTrust #community #WinfriedEngelbrechtBresges #CEOHongKongJockeyClub