OUR MEMORIES
Macau Racing


 

Macau Macao

 

1534, Ming Dynasty record stated that Macau as Haojing (濠鏡, literally “Oyster Mirror”) or Jinghai (鏡海, literally “Mirror Sea”).
1557, the name Macau is thought to be derived from the A-Ma Temple (Chinese: 媽閣廟; Mandarin Pinyin: Māgé Miào; Jyutping: Maa1 Gok3 Miu6), a temple built in 1448 dedicated to Matsu – the goddess of seafarers and fishermen.
It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the natives replied “媽閣” (Mandarin Pinyin: Māgé; Jyutping: Maa1 Gok3).
The Portuguese then named the peninsula “Macau“.
The present Chinese name (Chinese: 澳門; Mandarin Pinyin: Àomén; Jyutping: Ou3 Mun4) means “Inlet Gates”.

 

Horse racing has had a long and colorful history in Macau dating back several centuries.

It’s been established that horse racing was first staged in the then Portuguese Colony over 370 years ago.

 

 

Cavalry Horses

 

1516, Macau was the first foreign settlement in China and the site of the first light-house, then trades began.

1557, trade was granted to Portugal in return for assistance in piracy suppression.

1637, a Sunday in November, the first English trading voyage to China the diarist Peter Mundy, who was the expedition’s commercial officer, went to the races in Macao.

The races were held in a large open square, artificially leveled, in front of the church of Sao Domingos in the heart of the attractive little Portuguese city.

The governance which was then already eighty years old.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

1713, East India Company came to Macau, horse racing was already a popular sport with a proper six furlong track known as the Hipodromo, which stands for “horse race track”.
1798-9, the first proper race-meeting probably took place.

The site chosen for the racecourse was the most remote possible, and the most secluded.

Macau peninsula has a natural oval of flat grassland concealed by low rocky hills.

There they laid down a three-quarter-mile track, and raced where no one could see them, except from the sea.

One side of the course ran along the edge of the shore.

The sand here was black, giving the locality its name, Hak Sha Wan or Areia Preta (Black Sand).

This was the first foreign English or European style racecourse in China.

 

1800’s, races were held with the cavalcade to the course started near the ‘Casa Garden’, residence of the head of the East India Company in China.

Immediately to the right of the Casa Ga rden, the cavalcade passed down Rua dos Cavaleiros, which in those days led to open countryside.

1829-04-21, the earliest meeting, covered by the English newspaper《Canton Register》, was held, with an off-day following.

The newspaper commented that the races ‘have afforded so much rational amusement’ and were ‘a source of great gratification to the surrounding society’, meaning the Portuguese and the Chinese.

1845 most of the foreign traders had moved to Hong Kong and horse racing was then mentioned to be staged at Pok Fu Lam on Hong Kong Island.

1846, December, Happy Valley racetrack has been operated, racing gradually faded out in Macau for almost 80 years.

 

1924, Macau International Racing Sport Association was found.

1925, the Association name was changed to Macau International Racing Club.

1927, a new racecourse being built near Portas Do Cerco, operated in the similar system of HKJC, with six race meetings held annually during the Hong Kong off season.

1928 onward, eight to ten events held annually with participation of Hong Kong horses, so their racing results were founded in the HKJC records.

1930-04-06, a declaration in a racebook promoting six events on Saturday held by the Macau Jockey Club.

1931-08-06, the Inaugural Race Meeting of the Macao Jockey Club was held, the Club being recognized and the racing was official.

1932, a photo depicted four lady jockeys in Macao. Second from the left is Mrs Leo Frost, wife of the champion of champions at Happy Valley, who rode LIBERTY BAY to 26 wins, never beaten.

Note the junks in the background. The Macao racecourse projected right out into the sea.

1940’s he first race meetings held by the Hong Kong Jockey Club took place in Macau, not far from where the historic Guia lighthouse still stands today.

1941, racing continued to be a popular attraction in the enclave until the outbreak of the Pacific War and the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong.

1942, as the majority of race-goers were limited and affected by the difficult era, the activities faded out again.

1950s, revival of Macau flat racing was proposed but failed to implemented due to various immature conditions.

 

 

 

SUMMARY

 

1980, Macau Trotting Club started Harness Racing but the sport did not catch on well with Asian punters.

1989, the venture was closed down as the concept of harness racing did not catch on well with Asian sporting fans.

1989-09-10, it was bought out by a Taiwanese group, with the first meeting of the new thoroughbred race club held on the sand track.

1990 June, the first turf raceday held on the newly constructed grass track.

1991, the Macau Jockey Club was acquired by a consortium led by Dr. Stanley Ho, and is now one of the largest privately owned companies in Macau.

 

 

REFERENCE

 

Macau in fact was the birthplace of horse racing in Asia.

 

 

EXTERNAL LINK

 

 

Macau – Wikipedia

 

 

 


 

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