HK racing gets off to a big bang

HK racing gets off to a big bang

It was another day of records at Sha Tin racecourse on Sunday, opening day of the new Hong Kong season.

The racing season got off to "more than a dream start" beneath golden sunshine.

Hong Kong SAR Acting Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet Ngor struck the ceremonial gong to mark the start of the campaign, and for the second year in a row, record-breaking turnover was matched by an all-time high attendance for the day.

"We have enjoyed another great start to a new season - more than a dream start," said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Chief Executive Officer.

"Moreover, we have had the highest turnover at a season opening in 20 years at HK$1.032 billion ($170 million), which is 11 per cent more than a year ago.

"Last year, we had the highest openingday attendance in 20 years. This year, we have surpassed that with 66,257 race fans generating a fantastic atmosphere at our two racecourses.

"To put that into perspective, today's crowd figure is up more than four per cent on last year and represents the first time that our opening-day crowd at Sha Tin has broken the 60,000 mark.

"Compared with 2010, when we started the Racecourse Master Plan, we have seen an opening-day attendance increase of 37 per cent."

Engelbrecht-Bresges expressed cautious optimism about the season ahead and thanked race fans for their support, which he said was the "impetus for continuous racecourse investment".

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