Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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The racing season finished strong despite typhoon Talim as the Hong Kong Jockey Club recorded a HK$2.065 billion turnover at the season finale meeting yesterday – the highest single-day turnover since the handover.

The club held 88 race meetings this year, including seven twilight race meetings. A total of 835 races were staged and 299 overseas races were simulcast throughout the season with an overall turnover reaching HK$141.1 billion.

Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said the turnover is “outstanding” as the city is still facing economic challenges.

“Hong Kong was able to maintain races amid the three years of the pandemic because of its strong resilience. We can seize all kinds of opportunities including the border reopening to further improve and develop horsing racing in Hong Kong due to our can-do spirit,” he said.

Despite the typhoon approaching the city with strong wind signal No 3 hoisted, the Jockey Club said it had conducted a comprehensive assessment of the weather based on the latest information from the observatory and closely monitored the latest developments.

“We have a contingency plan in place to respond quickly to any official advance warning of a higher typhoon signal and will make a decision at an appropriate time,” the club said.

An 88-year-old punter, Yuen, said he has been watching races for dozens of years and would attend the race meeting despite the strong winds. “The weather has been good so far. It doesn’t matter if it rains a bit, maybe it’s a sign of good luck,” he said.

A woman, Tam, said she came to the racecourse from Cheung Sha Wan as the social atmosphere during a finale meet is warmer.

Some fans also spent more on bets for the races. “Usually I only bet HK$100 to HK$200 for entertainment but today I have a higher budget of HK$500,” a man surnamed Chan said. “I hope the No 8 typhoon warning will not be hoisted until the races end.”

Some mainland tourists also visited the racecourse, including Beijing traveller Amy and her mother, who are in Hong Kong for the first time. Amy said she saw recommendations for the race on the Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu and came to the racecourse to feel the diversified culture in Hong Kong.

Amy’s mother said the jockey club has a considerate arrangement as the racecourse is clean with snack shops.

Another traveller, Long, who came from Shenzhen with her boyfriend, said more people went to the season finale compared to last week and they had to wait in a queue starting from the Racecourse MTR station.

But Long said they only bet HK$20 as they’d rather enjoy the atmosphere.

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