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All About the Wednesday Happy Valley Horse Races in Hong Kong
Horse racing is a major sport in Hong Kong and is run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, one of the city’s oldest institutions. There are two main racecourses: one in Shatin (the Country Racecourse) and one in Happy Valley (the City Racecourse). With its central location on the Hong Kong Island, the Hong Kong Jockey Club in Happy Valley attracts herds of local residents, tourists and business visitors alike every Wednesday during the Happy Valley Races. This weekly event is also lovingly nicknamed ‘Happy Wednesdays’. On racing nights, the racecourse turns into an entertainment hub, with onsite gambling services, restaurants, bars and live performances.
Experience the Onsite Entertainment & Events
Paying a visit to the Wednesday Happy Valley races is made easy for everyone. With a central location next to Causeway Bay there are many public transportation options that take you to the racecourse. The entry fee for the racecourse is a bargain at HKD$10, which you can pay at the entrance either by cash or using your Octopus Card. This fee includes live entertainment, as the venue often hosts live music or dance performances. Occasionally, the races have seasonal themes, such as Oktoberfest in October, French Night in May, and Bollywood Night in January. However, unlike other famous horse racing events like The Royal Ascot or The Kentucky Derby, there is no need to dress up, so you are free to show up in casual attire.
As the racecourse opens at 5:15 PM and the races start at 7:15 PM, there are plenty of dining options to explore during your experience at the Happy Valley horse races. Quench your thirst at the onsite beer garden, which offers a range of international beers, or indulge at one of the many restaurants. From McDonald’s to local Chinese cuisine, there is something to cater to everyone’s tastes.
Try Your Luck with Gambling
While gambling is generally prohibited in Hong Kong, an exception is made for gambling on horse races. Many locals swear by the science and strict processions behind the gambling. Bets can be made at any of the Hong Kong Jockey Club shops around town, or at the racecourse itself, and the minimum betting amount is HKD$20. Bets can be placed until 10 minutes before the race.
Gambling on the Happy Valley horse races is not as simple as choosing one horse to win. One can bet on a certain horse making the top three, any of the several horses making the top three, or even several horses placing at different positions at the same time. Seasoned professionals swear by the pre-race walk, in which the jockey parades the horse around the racecourse prior to the start of the race. It is said that each horse’s form, given away by its sheen or gait, determines its chances then and there. If you happen to watch the pre-race walk on television as it is broadcast live, you can literally see the odds of each horse changing as they make their rounds. There are different types of races that are differentiated by distance, and each horse is carefully bred for their specialized category. As should be evident by now, horse racing in this city is a true institution and lifestyle, and your trip to Hong Kong is not complete without a visit to the Hong Kong Jockey Club in Happy Valley.
At the end of the day, even if you did not manage to win big at the horse races, take consolation in the fact that a large portion of the money the Hong Kong Jockey Club receives is directed to a good cause. As one of Hong Kong’s largest charity organizations, they send a portion of their profits to local causes, such as education, public health, and care for the elderly.
Apart from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Happy Valley offers many other hotspots to explore. For sports enthusiasts who are not into racing and prefer to engage in physical sports, do discover our recommendations on the best sports activities on Hong Kong Island.
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