Record-breaking attendance of 88,000 at Sha Tin Racecourse’s Lunar New Year race as betting amounts decrease by 15% to HK$1.76 billion

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12th February 2024 – (Hong Kong)  Chinese New Year Raceday was held at Sha Tin Racecourse today. The first race of the day commenced promptly at 12.30pm, drawing enthusiastic horse racing fans. The Hong Kong Jockey Club reported an impressive attendance of nearly 88,000 people, marking a new high since 2019. Throughout the day, a staggering total of HK$1.76 billion was wagered on the races.

Last year’s Lunar New Year race recorded a betting amount of HK$2.06 billion, setting a new post-return record. However, this year’s betting amount experienced a 14.6% decline compared to the previous year. Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the CEO of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, attributed the decrease in betting amounts to the overall economic environment and the lower number of participating horses in one of the races.

The Sha Tin Racecourse was adorned with large windmills, allowing racegoers to spin their luck as they entered the premises. Attendees were also presented with “wealth-attracting pens” and lucky draw cards upon entry. The racecourse’s public seating area featured a colossal Lunar New Year installation named “Wealth Blossoms in the Peach Garden,” attracting avid fans who eagerly snapped photos to commemorate the occasion. Additionally, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s float, which participated in the International Chinese New Year Night Parade, was displayed at the Sha Tin Racecourse, providing an opportunity for visitors to capture memorable moments.

The grand performance and opening ceremony commenced at 11.15am, showcasing the horses as they paraded in the spotlight. The Financial Secretary, Mr. Paul Chan Mo-po, graced the occasion with his presence and joined the Jockey Club’s senior management in the traditional eye-dotting ceremony for the lion dance. The day featured a total of 11 races, with the highlight being the Chinese New Year Cup in the eighth race, won by “Red Fortune Emperor,” trained by John Size and ridden by jockey Pan.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club announced that today’s event attracted nearly 88,000 attendees, reaching a new high since 2019. Among them were over 4,000 mainland Chinese tourists. The club quoted a visitor from Guangzhou, who expressed his unforgettable experience as a first-time attendee at the Sha Tin Racecourse. He was captivated by the vibrant atmosphere and passionate spectators, leaving a lasting impression and expressing his desire to return to Hong Kong for future horse racing events.

The total betting amount for the day amounted to HK$1.76 billion, a 14.6% decline compared to last year’s HK$2.06 billion. Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges stated that the decrease was influenced by the overall economic environment and the lower number of participating horses in one of the races. He mentioned that the number of attendees at both racecourses exceeded last year’s figures, and the atmosphere throughout the day remained fervent, with many spectators staying until the conclusion of the final race.