Sunday, September 27, 2009

Horse racing!

After the kids took a couple horse riding lessons over the summer, we returned to Hong Kong with a renewed interest in its favorite pastime, horse racing. While Phil and I have been to races over the years, the kids have not. And they are not likely to go as the horse races near us are typically at night. And there is the whole gambling angle to explain. We opted for an easier way to experience the races and recently visited the Hong Kong Racing Museum in Happy Valley.

The Racing Museum is located in the building surrounding the Happy Valley racetrack. While the racetrack itself can seat approximately 40,000, the Racing Museum is a small museum with only a few rooms. Like most museums in Hong Kong, it is beautifully done and strikingly empty. The museum has a fantastic view of the thick grass racetrack and all the activities going on in the middle of the track, mostly rugby practices taking advantage of the open space. Though no races were going on there when we visited, a number of spectators were in the stands watching a large screen with live feed of races elsewhere in Hong Kong.

Horse racing in Hong Kong goes back over 140 years with the Hong Kong Jockey Club organized and administrating races for the past 125 years. In the early days the horses were all Mongolian ponies brought in from the mainland. Now only thoroughbreds bred and trained all over the world, race in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Jockey Club hosts a number of annual races with large awards. Two of Hong Kong champion horses were displayed in the museum. Champion River Verdon, large and stuffed, and Champion Silver Lining’s skeleton both are integral parts of the museum. Oddly, the skeleton displayed with various videos of Silver Lining winning races seemed okay to us, exposing both the physical and actual uniqueness of this competitive winner.

A lot of the information about the training of the horses was not terribly interesting to us, though Royce did gravitate to a mid-sized still life display of the horse stables at the racetrack. Everyone perked up when we started reading the names of the Hong Kong Horses of the Year. The champion horses all had great names like Silver Lining and Electric Unicorn. Once home, the girls immediately renamed their toy horses more majestic names. No one has laid any bets on the newly named horses yet but we are sure that will be next.


Post a Comment

<< Home