One of the premier horse racing locations in the world is the Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong. It is also one of the major tourist attractions on Hong Kong island and hosts many entertainment events in addition to world-class horse racing. Those who have never experienced racing at this location should check out Happy Valley Racecourse. It is a location on the bucket list of every serious horse bettor.
The History of Happy Valley Racecourse
Horse racing has been a popular sport in Hong Kong since the mid-1800s. The arrival of horse racing in the region can be attributed directly to British influence. In 1845 the Happy Valley Racecourse was constructed to allow British people the opportunity to watch and wager on one of their favorite sports.
When choosing a location for the new race track in Hong Kong it was necessary to choose an area that was little more than swampland at the time. The reason for this was the Hong Kong terrain. The swampy area was the only place judged to have enough flat terrain for the construction of a race track.
There was some controversy surrounding the building of Happy Valley Racecourse. It was necessary for the government to prohibit rice growing that was done by villages in the area. The residents of the villages depending on the growing for sustenance. Nevertheless, the construction of the race course began and an inaugural race was held there in December of 1846.
The locals were not especially fond of horse racing in the beginning. Events were attended almost exclusively by British expats. But soon the sport began to grow on the Chinese residents of the island. From the very beginning the Happy Valley Racecourse was a huge success. Then, tragedy struck.
The Fire at Happy Valley Racecourse Hong Kong
February 26, 1918 was a dark day for Happy Valley. On that day a fire swept though the racecourse. A temporary grandstand had been erected to accommodate more spectators. The grandstand collapsed, and in the process it knocked over stalls where hot food was being prepared. The bamboo matting that was being used in the food stalls quickly ignited and the fire spread.
When it was all over 590 people were dead. The tragedy could very well have ended horse racing in Hong Kong as it is known today. But the track would not refuse to be put down so easily. Happy Valley was rebuilt and soon the races were once again as popular as ever.
A 1995 renovation of the racing facility made it one of the premiere horse racing destinations in the world. New buildings were added. Improvements were made to the track and barns. Stands that are seven stories high can now accommodate 55,000 attendees, and even more may visit the track when special events are held.
Happy Valley is a Sports Complex
Horse racing is the primary attraction at the Happy Valley Racecourse. Race meets run from September to July, 10 months out of the year. When there is no horse racing available, Happy Valley serves as a massive sports complex which boasts football, hockey, and rugby matches. The racecourse is the center of sports action on Hong Kong Island.
It can also serve as a popular nightspot for the locals and tourists alike. There are pub crawls and other events that cater to Hong Kong’s diverse population. Most of all, though, people come to see the excitement of thoroughbred racing.
Happy Valley Racecourse has attracted some of the biggest names in horse racing. Among these is Emma-Jayne Wilson. She is a female jockey from Canada who became the first female rider to be licensed by the Hong Kong jockey club.
On any given day at the racing venue you might be able to watch and wager on races that feature the best horses in the world. There are stakes events and handicaps as well as regular races. You won’t find many cheap horse races here. The quality of the competition is much too good.
Can You Bet on Happy Valley Racecourse at an Online Racebook?
Many online racebooks are now offering access to Happy Valley Racecourse and its thoroughbred racing. This can be one of the best ways to bet the horse races from Hong Kong. It is certainly more affordable and convenient than making a trip to the region.
When you sign up with an online racebook you will also receive many perks that are offered to new and frequent bettors. These can include access to free past performances, free race replays, and even free bonus money when you make your first real money deposit. See our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!
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