Day 7. An evening at Happy Valley

After a very short rest we left the hotel at 5.15 pm and took a tram ro Happy Valley in order to spend the evening at the Hong Kong Jockey Club ‘Happy Wednesday’ race meeting.  We spent a memorable evening here on our last visit to Hong Kong and were eager to return.

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Grandstand Seats
Ground entrance costs HK$10 (90p) which entitles spectators to view from the rails or seats at ground level but these seats cannot be reserved so if you leave them other people can sit down.  A better option is to upgrade to seats in the Grandstand costing a nominal HK$20 each (£1.75) and as we were early our allocated seats were on the front row near the winning post and enclosure.  The seats (pictured above) have a desk in front and are available in pairs and they are booked out for the entire evening so that we could leave them and return as we wished.

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One of our tickets
Included in the ticket price is a comprehensive race catalogue with detailed information on the horses and jockeys.  There are 8 races during the evening and we decided to have a small bet on each one.  We glanced at the race catalogue but rather than studying the form we selected horses on the following criteria -most attractive colour of Jockey’s outfit,  nicest name of horse and country of origin of horse!

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Race Catalogue
We decided to make the minimum bet on each race HK$10 and completed the betting slips as best we could but found them very confusing.   It was then off to one of the cash desks to pay and place our bets.  Despite the fact that we think of ourselves as being reasonably intelligent, we failed miserably at completing the betting slips but a very polite steward helped us out and filled them in correctly for us.

We are not gamblers and we’ve never been to any other race meeting than Happy Valley but having a tiny flutter on each race added excitement to the evening.  The racing commenced at 7.15pm as darkness fell.  It’s an amazing spectacle seeing the race track surrounded by high rise buildings and the atmosphere is electric – I’d recommend it to everyone visiting Hong Kong.

 

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Enclosure and Winning Post
There’s no danger of becoming bored as before each race the horses are paraded in the enclosure, the race then takes place and is then replayed on the giant screen.  Races start at 30 minute intervals and in between a band play live music, it’s all very jolly.  There’s champagne and wine bars but as it was hot we quenched our thirst with pints of lager and tucked into giant hot dogs (tonight being our only concession to western food).

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Ambulance attending to lame horse
During Race 7 a horse pulled up lame and it was impressive to observe the animal’s welfare was attended to promptly.  Stewards erected privacy screens around the horse and a land rover with a horse box ambulance arrived quickly and the horse was driven away to the vets.  An announcement at the end of the race meeting stated that thankfully the horse had recovered and all was well.

The race meeting finished at 11.15 pm and we’d had a splendid time even though we didn’t win any money!  Our selected horses were never last, our best result was third but it didn’t matter we’d had so much fun.

Have you ever been to a ‘Happy Wednesday’ race meeting and, if so, what was your experience like?

 

 

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31 thoughts on “Day 7. An evening at Happy Valley

  1. I’m traveling with a friend to HK for the first time this year so thanks for your reviews! I discovered a lot of places not listed on Google. Haha. Happy Valley is one of them. I’ve never been to a race track and this seems like a fun thing to experience. Are the races very quick?

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  2. Pingback: Day 6.  Aberdeen, Museums and an evening of Horse Racing – Love Travelling

  3. Pingback: Day 7. An evening at Happy Valley | Blogging about all things

  4. Great to have your account of the evening. I’ve spent my share of time at tracks in the U.S., and both times I’ve been to HK, my hotel looked down on the track, but I was on business, and never made it there. And, thank goodness you decided to put some money on the horses. I can’t conceive of NOT doing that!

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    1. Thanks for commenting – I hope you get an opportunity to attend a race meeting at Happy Valley if ever you are in HK again. It would have been quite boring if we hadn’t put any bets on as it was fun cheering our horses on!

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    1. Definitely! Much nicer than studying the form. We enjoyed every minute and race goers there don’t wear ridiculous hats and totter on high heels like at Ascot and York. I haven’t been to an English race meeting but I’ve ended up on trains with them !

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  5. I lived about 5 minutes walk away from the racetrack and loved going. It’s a great big noisy festival every week and a lot of fun. The betting slips are the most complicated I have ever seen but like all good gambling opportunities the staff are very good at helping you lose your money. Watching the Hong Kong Chinese, who will gamble on almost anything, was great fun as the excitement they generate is wonderful. And seemed to be the same whether they won or not.

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  6. It must be fun. I have never been to a race track. But I have seen polo match in USA for the first time last January. It is not something we see it in Canada except in Alberta, I think… As for Happy Valley. It is funny because…to make a long story short. We were invited to a couple’s apartment (they are Canadians and work in HK) that is just facing the race track. But we were there on a Tuesday .

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  7. Wow, I have never experienced any kind of race like this. It would be a very interesting experience, thank you for this write up. I can only imagine how clueless I would be with the betting slips, LOL!

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  8. I stayed at the Cosmopolitan Hotel just nearby Happy Valley Racecourse but only went there to run around the outside track when the races were not on of course. Lovely to hear the animal welfare – thanks for a lovely post Marion…really glad you enjoyed your time in HK.

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  9. An amazing night observing the locals at the HK races. I visited Shatin races when I went as there was no meet at HV. A brilliant experience even though my bets were disastrous! Best atmosphere at racing I have ever witnessed.

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