1848-02-07 Annual Race Meeting



Ladies’ Purse; Plenipotentiary’s Cup





The following basic data and information are derived from:
1. Governor Henry May‘s【Notes on Pony and Horse Racing in Hong Kong 1845-1887】
2. 《Friend of China, 1848-02-12》 in【Singapore Straits Times1848-03-01】





1848-02-07, 1848-02-08, 1848-02-09, a three days programme took place, organized by a racing committee in Hong Kong.
The notice on 1848-01-25 The HongKong Register, but the race meeting was actually postponed almost one week later.
Sixteen races, including a hurdle race and a ponies steeple chase, were run.
There were a few innovations.


After its inaugural run, the Ladies’ Purse had been a Once Round journey since it was first contested.
For some years it was the only race over that distance (Seven furlongs and 45 yards).
The Plenipotentiary’s Cup, presented by the Governor, was for Walers.
It was again the highlight of the racing programme.
The programme included a hurdle race, a pony steeplechase and a race for “native riders”.


The races on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, have engrossed the attention of most of the European inhabitants and during the week disturbed the monotony of Hongkong.
The weather was favorable: attendance good;
and the racing quite equal, if not superior to former meetings.
Some of the matches were very beautiful, particularly those, for the Plenipotentiary’s cup and the Canton cup.





1848-02-07 Monday (The First Day of Annual Race Meeting)


The first race was the Wongneichong Stakes. It was won by MONSOON.
The second was the Plenipotentiary’s Cup presented by Governor Sir John Davis and won by GREY STYLE.
Gathered from subsequent records proving that the horse came from New South Wales.



1848-02-08 Tuesday (The Second Day of Annual Race Meeting)


ST. ANDREW won the Canton Cup and
BEAUTY won the Ladies’ Purse.
The third race was the Valley Stakes, TETOY, as usual, beat everything of the pony size.



1848-02-09 Wednesday (The Third Day of Annual Race Meeting)


Hunter’s Plate, value $100 for all Horses, from the Garden turn, once round and in, over Hurdles.
MANEROO gained the Hunter’s plate in fine style.


According to Governor Henry May 《Notes on Pony and Horse Racing in Hong Kong 1845-1887》page 5-6:

There was also a race for Native riders.
No particulars were available as to what the horses and ponies were that ran.
They were probably Walers, Arabs and Manila and other ponies.
The weights for ponies were 7 st. for 12 hands with 7lb. added for each additional inch.
The other races are not of historic interest.

But a newspaper displayed in HKJC Racing Museum shown these information:
The Native’s Purse, value $20, for all Ponies – Indian and Chinese Riders – One mile – Catch weights.


Also, the last race was:
The Hongkong Steeple Chase, for all Ponies – Catch weights – Ground to be named by the Stewards one hour before the time of starting – Entrance $1 each with $30 added from the Fund.





Annual Race Meeting of this year has two versions of commencement:
According to a notice and programme published on《1848-01-25 The Hongkong Register》:
1848-02-01, 1848-02-02, 1848-02-03
According to Governor Henry May 《Notes on Pony and Horse Racing in Hong Kong 1845-1887》:
1848-02-07, 1848-02-08, 1848-02-09


Almost from the beginning, certainly from this 1848 Meeting, the Hong Kong local value has been involved.
A race was added to the programme each year for the “mafoos” (riding boys).
It was called the “Native Scramble”.


TETOY won the Valley Stakes for the third time in succession, each time carrying 7 pounds more, against 8 ponies.
He lost the Victoria Plate and the Ladies’ Purse to CHARLIE, a pony of 13 hands 2 inches.
Mr. Clement’s CHARLIE was allowed an advantage of 14 pounds in both races.


The liberal contribution of the community has provided an excellent race course;
at present it is at parts heavy from the sandy nature of the soil, but after the turf grows thick and the roots spread, it will become consolidated and elastic.





1848-03-18, when Sir John left the Colony, few saw him off.
1848-03-21, came the appointment of Sir (Samuel) George Bonham as Governor, he was also a horse owner.
In fact, Sir George was one of the few Governors who owned a racing “stable”.
For the next few Annual Meetings he entered a fast-moving Arab named TEMPTATION.
The pony was a prominent performer for several years till his last victory in1854.


MANEROO was an electoral district for the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of New South Wales from 1856 to 1858. It was replaced by Monaro.


1848-04-17 & 1848-04-18, the first Shanghai race-meeting was recorded officially, and it is plain from the report of it, published at length in the Japan Gazette, that it was not the first meeting.
Nor would it seem to have been the second, otherwise surely the correspondent would have mentioned the fact.
Judging by the report, racing in Shanghai .was already an established institution by 1848.
So it may have started in 1846, or even — perish the thought — in the same year as in Hongkong.


Catch weight or catchweight (horse racing) means without any additional weight; without being handicapped.






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Acknowledgement to HKJC Racing Registry for offering record data.





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