OUR MEMORIES
Shanghai Race Club


 

Playground Upon-the-Sea

 

Shanghai Race Club(SRC)was the original horse racing organization for Shanghai, commonly known as Shanghai Racecourse, located in downtown Huangpu District, Shanghai, China. It was demolished and turned into People’s Park and People’s Square.

 

The story of the SRC over the ensuing 80 years is very similar to story of The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC).

 

 

Racing in Paris of the East

 

SRC shared the developing story of the next 80 years with HKJC and both became the defining institutions for high society in their respective regions and towering authorities on racing.

 

By the early 1900′s there were even designated races and trophies “Challenge Cups” in both cities.

 

Inter-city racing were set up specifically for HKJC race horse owners and SRC owners to compete against one other.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

HISTORY:

 

During The Qing Dynasty:

 

Shanghai Race Club had 3 different locations:

 

1848-04-17 and 18, a surviving clipping from the Japan Gazette, in the possession of Mr J. F. Macgregor, mentions the inaugural race meeting in Shanghai.

1850, Daoguang 30th, five British merchants W.HOGG, T.D.GIBB, LANGLEY, W.W.PAKIN, E.WEBB self appointed as directors of the founding Shanghai Race Club.

 

They built the first racecource named ‘Old Park’ near the Nánjīng East Road and Hénán Middle Road, paid less than 10 tael of silver per acre to hold “perpetual lease” of 81 acres of land, the diameter of the race track was 800 yards with area of 731.52 square meters.

 

Because the space was too small, rider often rode his horse outside on the stone debris road, people called these roads”路” in Chinese, that means the road for horses, which is the cause of calling city streets for ”路” thereafter.

 

1851, commecing the first of the seven race meetings.

 

1853, Small Swords Society occupied the walled (Chinese) city of Shanghai.

 

Large numbers of Chinese refugees flooded into the foreign concessions thus dramatically increasing land prices.

 

1854, SRC sold the ‘Old Park’ and built the second racecourse ‘New Park’ of 170 acre near the Nánjīng East Road and Tibet Road, by paying 9,700 tael of silver.

 

1860, upheavals of the Taiping Rebellion made the land prices inflated again, because hundreds of thousands of Chinese fled to Shanghai Concession.

 

1861, Xianfeng 11th, twenty-five directors sold ‘New Park’ racecourse in the amount of 100,036 taels of silver.

 

1862, SRC built the third racecourse and claiming the best in Far East near Tibet Road West. The SRC paid a very low price for the lands from peasants, who under the heavy pressure of the Qing government and the British.

 

Finally this land was built the number one race club of Far East.

 

1908, SRC had 320 Official Members, and other 500 various Memberships, each paying 10 Dollars per month.

 

1909, before Xuantong 1st Year, SRC got profit from sub-contracting the gambling and betting bookers.

 

 

After The Republic of China:

 

1920, Champaign Tickets and Win betting derived income of 14,139, 000 dollars, yielding yearly gains of 7 million taels of silver.

 

1927, Jiangwan Racecourse was built and Chinese membership was permitted.

 

1932, SRC reconstructed a new Headquarter with four-storey classic Club Building, with area 21,000 square meters, Boxes and Swimming Pool, which was the first one in Shanghai.

 

1936, SRC became the debt guarantor of International Recreation Club, owning 3/8 shares of the latter.

 

1938, SRC wholly took over International Recreation Club and holding events in the premises.

 

1939, SRC still had surplus of 20 million dollars before the Seno-Japanese War.

 

1941, SRC was seized by the Japanese after the outbreak of the Pacific War in December.

 

1945 October, SRC continued the racing events after the return of their British Directors once the Japanese surrendered.

 

1946, SRC property was owned by a Jiangyin merchant Deng zhong-he. The first buying of asset from Foreigners by a Chinese.

 

1947, SRC formed three corporations according to the Company Registry of Hong Kong on the 9th of April:

 

Shanghai Race Club Company Limited(Club House and Grandstand

 

Shanghai Race Club Stables Company Limited(Stables and Dormitory)

 

Shanghai Race Club Racecourse Company Limited(Turf and Track)

 

International Recreation Club still owned the 430 acre central area of the racecourse and conducted business and events.

 

In fact, Shanghai Race Club were the sole proprietor of the four establishments as above.

 

No race meeting was approved and held due to the government decision reflecting the Post-war public sentiment.

 

SRC also agreed to assign part of their property to the government.

 

The deal including an exchange of land 10 times the size to build another racecourse.

 

That was not accomplished due to the approaching of the Communist Liberation Army.

 

During the Chinese Civil War, SRC had been used as Club for the USA Military.

 

 

After The Communist Liberation:

 

1951, SRC was under control by the Shanghai Military Administration on the 28th of August.

 

Subsequently, SRC became the Shanghai People’s Park and People’s Square in September.

 

1954, all SRC premises were taken over by the People’s Government on the 31st of May.

 

SRC Main Building was turned to Shanghai Library.

 

1957, SRC property was converted to Shanghai Stadium, Government Offices, Museum, Exhibition Hall, etc.

 

1992, People’s Square complex construction commenced on 14th September.

 

1997, former SRC headquarter was rebuilt as Shanghai Grand Stage and Art Museum (while the Shanghai Gymnasium and Library were moved)

 

2008, SRC was reopened under the leadership of the current Chairman, Byron Constable.

 

2013, The Shanghai Race Club updated charter states:

 

“…the Club exists to bring racehorse ownership to every single person in Mainland China and aims to achieve this through smart use of technology and creation of a trusted commercial environment.”

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Horse racings in Shanghai and Hong Kong were inter-connected in history.

 

As a matter of fact, however, Shanghai Race Club seems to have only its website running in recent year.

 

 

REFERENCE

 

In the early 20th Century, horses from Shanghai sometimes came down to challenge the honors and stakes of Hong Kong.

 

Persons did that too.

 

Shanghai origins made influential and remarkable achievements in Hong Kong Racing history, such as:

 

NOTABLE HORSES:

 

PICADILLY (Paul Chater), winner of the 1884 Champions Cup.

 

HERO (David Sassoon), 3 times successive winner of the Champions’ Cup from 1890.

 

SILKY LIGHT (Eric Moller), the fastest Shanghai horse to win the Hong Kong Champion’s Cup and Hong Kong Triple Crown.

 

WHEATCROFT (Jack Liddel), three times winner of the Champions’ Cup in the 1920s.

 

 

NOTABLE JOCKEYS:

 

Leo G Frost, Marcel Samarcq.

 

 

NOTABLE MEMBERS:

 

Sir Paul Chater, Sir John Keswick, Sir Victor Sassoon, Sir Ellis Kadoorie, Eric Cumine, Eric Moller, Mr & Mrs Leon and Irene Zigal.

 

 

NOTABLE TRAINERS:

 

George Sofronoff — Russian, 1933 trainer in Shanghai, 1940 arrive Hong Kong, 1956 as Hong Kong trainer.

 

Cheung Hok-man — as stable assistant in Shanghai before WWII, 1950 came to HK as stable lad, then assistant, 1962 as Hong Kong trainer.

 

Lee Tin-lam — from Shāndōng, 1939 train horses in Shanghai, arrived Hong Kong in 1948, 1949-60 as stable assistant, 1960 as Hong Kong trainer.

 

Ng Chi-lam — 1939 as Shanghai MaFoo delivering horses to Hong Kong, 1946 as stable assistant, 1958 as Hong Kong trainer with his brother as assistant.

 

Tam Man-kui — as Shanghai stable assistant and mafoo, 1949-60 as stable assistant, 1968 as Hong Kong trainer.

 

Wong Siu-hung — as stable lad in Shanghai before WWII, 1931 as Hong Kong trainer, 1971 retired.

 

 

NOTABLE RACES: Ewo Handicap, Champion Stakes, Challenge Cup, Shanghai Derby.

 

 

 

RELATED LINK

 

Shanghai Race Club – video showcase

Shanghai Race Club – photo gallery

 

 

 


 

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