The 40th Anniversary of Sha Tin Racecourse
In the 70s, Hong Kong began a new era of growth and transformation, with initiatives to address the health, education and housing needs of the Hong Kong people. As always, The Hong Kong Jockey Club joined in this forward movement to an ever-better Hong Kong.
Professional horse racing in Hong Kong began in 1971 and the demand for racing grew steadily. The Club applied to the government for permission to build a second racecourse. To find land for the racecourse, the Club and the Government joined hands to begin one of the largest single land reclamations – 250 acres – in the history of Hong Kong. It was an agreement that was a win for all involved. The Club received the land for its new racecourse and the citizens of Hong Kong received vitally needed land for new Government housing on 100 acres under the Sha Tin New Town Plan.
On 7 October 1978, Governor Sir Murray MacLehose officiated at the opening of the new Sha Tin Racecourse, the beginning of a proud new page in the history of Hong Kong horse racing. Sha Tin Racecourse has grown over the past 40 years by continuously optimizing both hardware and software, from the world’s first covered, all-weather parade ring to an ultra-modern equine hospital and racing laboratory; equine swimming pools, and other state-of-the- art horse training facilities. Only a very few racecourses in the world can measure up to the facilities of Sha Tin Racecourse.
The champion racehorses nurtured at Sha Tin became famous in Hong Kong and in international racing. In 1988, the racecourse hosted its first international event, the Hong Kong Invitation Cup. According to the World’s Best Racehorse rankings, some 11 % of the world’s best horses are trained at Sha Tin. And 9% of the World’s Top 100 races are run here. This despite Hong Kong having just 0.7% of the world’s racehorses and 0.6% of its races.
Sha Tin Racecourse has also enabled the Club to generate over 307 billion dollars in tax contributions and 39 billion dollars in charity donations from our racing business in the last 40 years. Today our Charities Trust is one of the world’s top 10 charity donors. Its generous efforts can be seen in the Sha Tin area, now a vibrant home to some 670,000 people. Many civic projects, including schools, clinics, public recreation areas and major facilities, such as Penfold Park and the Hong Kong Sports Institute, were built with the Club’s support.
The Club will continue to nurture more top-class thoroughbreds to maintain Sha Tin Racecourse and Hong Kong’s international renown with even more glorious racing achievements. Says Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, “We look forward to many more years of world-class racing at Sha Tin Racecourse – and many more years contributing to the betterment of our society.”
To celebrate 40 years of continuous growth for the good of horse racing and the people of Hong Kong, the Sha Tin Racecourse 40th Anniversary Raceday was held on Saturday, 29 December. The opening ceremony featured lion dancing, followed by even more exciting entertainment.