It follows the Rules Of Racing, but what gives racing in this city a pulse is how the Hong Kong Jockey Club works to create the best possible racing product in the world, and, to first of all, attract local fans of the pastime. The fact that its appeal is global is an important extra.

Not having a breeding industry and with most not having grown around horses, what should be understood is that the interest in horse racing has much to do with its excitement and entertainment value. It’s around four hours of fun and escapism twice a week.

Of course, betting is involved to give this pastime, largely, the grassroots market, some added spice to the pastime. Is there any interest in the pedigree of a galloper and overseas form and other weights and measures? Really doubt it.

It’s about doing any necessary homework to, hopefully, back the winner and being up on the day.

Horse racing is also the most successful Made In Hong Kong product. Right now, it might even be the only Made In Hong Kong product.

Can this product be improved? Everything can be improved. More important is keeping this product fresh and relevant. This is one side of the coin.

On the other are those like a group of passionate local racing fans who recently started a Facebook page to share racing memories of Hong Kong.

The members of this fan page are constantly posting photos of the history of Hong Kong horse racing. They aren’t punters or horse owners.

Like the music fan who lives and breathes music and knows who recorded what and when and why and with whom, this group of passionate racing fans, some of whom are hardly considered old, not only know the names of the most obscure jockeys who rode here going back to the Sixties and even the Fifties, but also every rider who’s competed here.

They know the names of every trainer who has plied their trade in Hong Kong, the owners, the horses, and know the colours of the owners’ silks.

It’s constant good natured oneupmanship with Members badges being posted and memories shared with racing writers and jockeys and the families of former trainers, jockeys and owners who were once part of Hong Kong racing making cameo appearances.

It’s sometimes good to reminisce and be reminded of those happy days and happier and simpler times.

Often, this Facebook page is like a game show. It’s racing trivia. It’s an online history of Hong Kong racing. It’s far more “customercentric” and relevant than that white elephant masquerading as the Hong Kong Racing Museum.

This incredible interest in and knowledge of Hong Kong racing, not by horse racing pundits, but like-minded friends such as amateur photographers who simply enjoy the opportunity to take photos of the racing fraternity, is the real heartbeat of racing in this city.

To them, every one of these jockeys they are able to photograph is a star. A hero. It’s not about the owners who can afford to spend the big bucks to purchase their million dollar equine babies.

These owners pay for what is often the most expensive game in town and on turf. Theirs is a private battle for prize money and winning supremacy that buys that unique Hong Kong quirk called “face”.

Theirs is a very different world to where the aforementioned racing fans are: They have no interest in prize money or turnover. Why would they? What’s in it for them? A percentage?

Interesting is that though there might be photos of winning owners from other decades, there’s not even one of today’s Kwok and Siu racing dynasties.

Money doesn’t dazzle everyone. Especially in these times where money’s either too tight to mention or there’s not much to actually DO with money. Except maybe count it. Over and over again.

#HKracing #racingmemories #HappyValleyracecourse #Shatinracing