1960s Top Horses Series
Names & Fames
1972, according to Shen Kut-shing (Lo Kut) ‘s《30 Year In Racecourse》:
Hong Kong ownership of horses are different before and after WWII.
Before the war, you could buy your own horses and gave them to HKJC for management.
After the war, HKJC changed its rules that owners had to apply for subscription drawings, and not having the rights to buy horses from Australia and and gave them to HKJC for management.
Therefore, owning a good horse or a few more horses, either was not self-controllable or had to pay high prices to second and third hand owners.
However, the price of horses at that time was at least HK$30,000 or 50,000.
Nowadays, they were easily at HK$180,000.
If they were CAINEBRIDGE and MOUNT SUPERIOR, they would cost at least HK$150,000.
This was not a good deal for horse owners who fond of owning horses and those betting heavily.
CAINEBRIDGE, after his inaugural win on half a mile and 170 yards, was led-in to the Winner Enclosure by owner Lincoln Hsu Chi-yuan and retired trainer Tokmokoff.
Tokmokoff had always refused to led-in.
This was because he believed that CAINEBRIDGE was a good horse so gladly to accept the invitation by Hsu.
Tokmokoff’s foreseeable judgment was exemplified.
To the last seasonal HKJC meeting, the Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup was commonly known as the race for the Horse of the Year (Horse King).
The winner of course is the “Horse King”.
But this “Horse King” title has been successively claimed twice by two horses, KING’S PARCHMENT and CAINEBRIDGE, in the past twenty-four years after the war.
(The Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup had been first run in 1870 as “The Champion Stakes” but later become known as “The Chater Cup” in honor of renowned Hong Kong businessman and racehorse owner, Sir Paul Chater, who passionately participated in horse racing at Happy Valley from 1872 to 1926.
The horses under the name of Sir Paul Chater won seven times in the HongKong Derby and five times in the Chater Cup, including three consecutive victories from 1882 to 1884.
Since 1955, the race has been known by its current name.)
This “The Chater Cup” was donated by Sir Paul Chater’s family.
The rule was that “if a horse could win three consecutive victories,” this Chater Cup would be kept by this “Horse King”.
Otherwise, only the horse-name could be engraved on the wooden base of the silver cup.
In previous years, KING’S PARCHMENT won twice, but failed the third time.
The fate of CAINEBRIDGE was the same as that of KING’S PARCHMENT.
He also won two consecutive sessions in 1968-69 and 1969-70.
And for the second time at its Hong Kong Championship Open race, he set a new record of 2.04 seconds on1.25m.
Everyone thought that for 1970-71 season, this horse could won three victories and kept the Chatered Cup forever.
Unexpectedly, the form of CAINEBRIDGE in that year had just deteriorated.
As a result, the match was stolen by Kenny Kwok‘s MY LOVE and CAINEBRIDGE failed to complete the three-time championship mission.
So, you might say that it was difficult to win three consecutive “Horse King” races.
Kwok was the most popular among jockeys during the era when HKJC was occupied by the Japanese in Hong Kong.
More than 20 years have gone by now as counted though Kwok is less glorious than three or four years ago, his sword is still not aging.
Watching MY LOVE ridden at the end of the previous season and competed with the two times “Horse King” CAINEBRIDGE, in the final straight, Kwok tried to make CAINEBRIDGE pass MY LOVE and made the opponent jockey Cheng think that CAINEBRIDGE was sure-win.
Then Kwok unexpectedly made all his efforts in the last 100 yards, urging MY LOVE and sprinting again to claim the title, that caught Cheng off guard.
As a result, MY LOVE succeeded in a sneak attack, and won by half a length in a photo-finish broke the dream of CAINEBRIDGE successively for three times as the Horse of the year.
Based on this, we could see that Kwok is still unsurmountable even though having his lengthy career.
Known as the King of Horses after the war, there was one horse for almost every three years.
But none of them were “horses of every distance“.
For example, horses such as CAINEBRIDGE could only win the “Championship” twice.
But, for carrying 159 pounds and running short distances, or on heavy track, he failed to show its might and power.
In the end, horses are flesh and blood, just as humans.
Machines running too long without rest, deem to have trouble, let alone horses.
Some owners having a first-class good horse, so they treat this good horse, hoping that it will run every time and every run could have his led-in.
There are not many owners really love good horses.
PEGASUS, BEN VORLICH, MONTE CARLO are three top-tier good horses.
All of them were being run too hard, and struggled too much, and unable to recover after a minor hitch.
The still alve are CAINEBRIDGE and MOUNT SUPERIOR, and only CAINEBRIDGE’s owner treasures his horse.
So far, his form has been cyclically low, because of only four battles every season, he has no disease and pain yet.
While MOUNT SUPERIOR having five consecutive matches this season, thus he had nose-bleed at the most recent one.
It left a psychological effect on his future certainty.
As far as horses are concerned, the top class horses nowadays are:
CAINEBRIDGE (Au K H Stable)
BEN VORLICH, FU LAI (Cheung H M Stable)
MONTE CARLO (Lin Y L Stable)
MOUNT SUPERIOR, GOLDEN STATUE (Lee T L Stable)
All the first-rate horses are completely in the hands of Chinese trainers.
960 meters = 1/2 mile 170 yards; 1207 meters = 6 Furlong; 1609 meters = 1 mile; 1766 meters = 1 mile 171 yards; 2012 meters = 1-1/4miles; 2816 meters = 1-3/4 miles.
Acknowledgment to Mr Lacuda Mengnah, Mr Peter Yuen, HKJC Archives & Hong Kong Racing Museum for relevant content.