Badges should be prominently displayed at both racecourses during race days or specified events, e.g. barrier trials breakfast.
Badges include the following types:
Stewards’ badges, Honorary Stewards’ badges, Voting Members’ badges, Duty Voting Members’ badges, Owners’ badges, Members’ badges, Racing Club Members’ badges, Trainers’ badges, Assistant Trainers’ badges, Jockeys’ badges, season guests’ badges, Press badges and different types of Club’s staff badges, all of which are metallic.
guests’ badges (Stewards’ guests or Members’ guests), duty badges, tourists’ badges, and temporary badges for Voting Members, Owners and Members who forgot to bring their badges for attendance to the racecourses.
Apart from Stewards’ badges, Honorary Stewards’ badges, Duty Voting Members’ badges, Trainers’ badges, Assistant Trainers’ badges, and Club’s staff badges, all metallic badges are issued and supplied to Members on an annual basis before the start of a racing season.
In the past, all persons entering the public enclosures at both racecourses (and the infield enclosure of the Happy Valley Racecourse) were issued with paper badges upon the payment of the prescribed entrance fees. This practice was already abolished.
In the old days, each Member was issued with a passport size booklet named “Guest Badge Record Card”, with which each Member was only allowed to purchase 2 Members’ guests badges for each racing day, at a price of HK$50 per badge. Friends of a Member would treasure the opportunity to obtain a guest badge for watching the races due to the limited quota, and would normally dress in a formal manner, and saved up the guest badge as a memoir after the race day.
Members’ badges also went through different designs at different times. In the era between post-World War II to the early 70s, each Member’s non-transferable badge came with a cord for hanging the badge at the lapel, whereas the Member’s spouse’s transferable badge came with a pin. Commencing from the early 70s, the spouse’s transferable badge also came with a cord, probably allowing for more flexibility of wearing the same with more fashionable ladies.
In the earlier years during the late 70s to the mid 90s when horse racing was still dominated by male Members, Members’ badges came in a pair of identical design, with the male badge having a bigger size than the female badge, irrespective of whether the Member in question is of the male or the female gender.
The Member’s status was highlighted by the addition of a horizontal bar for the spouse’s transferable badge, so that the holder of a badge with no horizontal bar denoted that such holder was a Member of his / her own right. To illustrate, a male Member possessed a large badge with no horizontal bar, whereas his spouse possessed a small badge with a horizontal bar. In the case of a female Member, she possessed a small badge with no horizontal bar, whereas her spouse would possess a large badge with a horizontal bar.
Nowadays, all Members (male or female) hold a large badge with no horizontal bar, whereas his / her transferable badge is a small one with a horizontal bar.
For each racing season, each Member (and Owner) is issued with one non-transferable badge, together with one transferable badge. However, each Voting Member and Honorary Voting Member will be issued with one non-transferable badge and two transferable badges.
Badges had once been a passionate collection for many Members. In the old days, many Members were proud of, and took pride in, their status as Members / Owners / Voting Members, which were identified by the wearing and displaying of their badges at the races.
Many passionate Members queued up at the Club’s headquarters at Sports Road on the first day on which the badges were ready for collection, with interesting memories of queuing up and competing for lucky numbers engraved on the badges amongst Members.
To avoid unwanted disputes and arguments amongst Members, in the late 90s, the Club started to engrave Membership numbers of Members onto the metallic badges, and to deliver the badges to Members via Hong Kong Post unless a Member prefers to collect the badges and car park permit in person.
In the early 90s, especially, during the period after World War II to the mid 80s, acquaintance with a Member is also a symbol of pride and privilege.
This is because public enclosures were always full, after which no admission would be allowed. Public enclosures were crowded with fences separating the crowd from the track at a level much higher than the rails, which blocked the viewing of the races to a certain extent. Quite to the contrary, members’ enclosure was more spacious, with fences slightly higher than the rails, so that watching the races at the members’ enclosure was much enjoyable and relaxing.
The privilege of watching the races at the members’ enclosure of the Happy Valley racecourse was further highlighted by the fact that only for distances 1650, 1800 and 2230 metres would the horses gallop in front of the public enclosure, whereas for all distances, horses just walked or trotted along the rails of the members’ enclosure before heading for the gates, and punters at the public enclosure would not have the chance of viewing the parade of the horses at all.
Before the late 70s, metallic badges for Members were manufactured by companies in England, notably “Maple” in London and, later, “W.O. Lewis (Badges) Limited” in Birmingham.
W.O. Lewis (Badges) Limited was established in 1832 and is still owned and operated by the same family five generations later and still manufacturing in Birmingham.
Traditional craft skills are combined with expert enameling, printing, gold and silversmithing,
so that metallic badges for Members in those days mostly still look brand new even after many decades have elapsed.
Starting from the late 70s, another company in Bombay (now Mumbai), Dinesh & Co., was appointed by the Club to manufacture metallic badges for Members. Dinesh & Co. also adopted enameling in the manufacturing of the badges, until the mid 90s.
Since the late 90s, the Club ceased to appoint Dinesh & Co. to manufacture metallic badges for Members.
Content source: Mr Thomas Chan