Derby 1952-05-31_6 KNOCK-DOWN

fight for the marvel; strike from the gavel





The First Day of the Whitsun Race Meeting was held under the summer heat.

Rocegoers sizzled and sweltered under the scorching sun throughout the day as temperatures soared.

By 3:30 p.m. patches of rain showered then stopped upon the start of Race 4.

The attendance was doubled due to the sweep stakes.





1952-05-31_6, the 75th Derby was held as the main event.

Totally, 76 made the entry, but only 10 contenders shown up to the gate.

Mr Robert Tsai piloted the Derby winner in a runaway victory for the sweep.

The invincible KNOCK-DOWN was a subscripted Australian griffin of the previous year.

The waler was owned by Mr A E B de Souza, easily won the Hong Kong Derby.

He won the distance well, over the mile and a half by many lengths

KNOCK-DOWN carried the heaviest bet of 35,000 tickets, the hottest favourite.





The field of 10 ponies paraded in front of the Members’ Enclosure as they left the paddock for the starting post.

JOHNBER (Chun Kit) shot out first as the barrier was released.

He was followed by BEN LOMOND (D Black), KNOCK-DOWN (R Tsai) and MEADOWBROOK (Ostroumoff).

The position remained the same as the field went up the Rock the first time, with MARIETTA (V H Oliveira) trailing in the rear.

JOHNBER lengthened its lead to six lengths as the ponies galloped downhill with the first three positions unchanged.

Coming into the home straight the first time, JOHNBER was racing confidently at the head.

BEN LOMOND and KNOCK-DOWN following doggedly behind comfortably.

After passing the Members’ Stand, JOHNBER began to lose ground gradually.

As the field approached the Football Club, KNOCK-DOWN displaced BEN LOMOND in second position.

The champion pony drew abreast of JOHNBER at the Rock.

And for the first time KNOCK-DOWN took the lead going down hill.

It was runaway victory for KNOCK-DOWN from then onwards.

BEN LOMOND faded out of the race and rounding the bend, with KNOCK-DOWN many lengths away.

ICEFIELD shot forward in a powerful burst and the tiring JOHNBER was still in second position.

But it was overtaken by ICEFIELD approaching the Members’ Stand while MEADOWBROOK finished fourth.

At the finish, KNOCK-DOWN was many lengths ahead of the nearest pony.

ICEFIELD with JOHNBER were trailing many lengths behind.

The first three horses got the top favorite support in betting.


It was a great triumph, not only for the pony and its promising young jockey.

Also for its owner, Mr Souza, who had the distinction of being the first Portuguese to own a Derby winner.

KNOCK-DOWN covered the distance in 2 mins 40 seconds


1. KNOCK-DOWN ( Tsai ) Auctioneer

2. ICEFIELD ( Samarcq ) Mr & Mrs Ng Chung Chew

3. JOHNBER ( Chun ) B W Bradbury


Fractional Time:

.26-2/5; .52-4/5; 1.19-3/5; 1.47; 2.13-2/5; 2.40


1941-05-11_3, the fastest time over this route was 2.39-3/5 established by AUSTRALIAN DIAMOND, ridden by H S Chang.

Second was Mr and Mrs Ng Chung Chew’s ICEFIELD ( Mr Samarcq).

Mr B W Bradbury’s JOHNBER which led from the start finished third many lengths behind.


The mammoth cash sweep on the Derby was won by one ticket.

The lucky winner got a prize worth $669,515, which drew KNOCK-DOWN.





Mr Robert Tsai, the elated young rider said:

“It was a fast pace set by JOHNBER and I had to keep close to him because he was my only opposition in the race. I also kept close to BEN LOMOND but passing the Football Stands, I saw BEN LOMOND dying and my aim was to follow JOHNBER. When I saw JOHNBER tiringgoing up the Rock, I knew the race was over. KNOCK-DOWN was still going easy.”


Mr Tsai was also the top rider on the derby day, completing a fine treble on BARBARIAN, TOY SECRET and of course, KNOCK-DOWN.

With KNOCK-DOWN and those two other winners, Mr Tsai, the young rising star should be very promising.

They were in the second and the tenth events to make him heading the jockeys’ honors.


A Ostroumoff secured two victories at the meeting.

Kenneth Kwok, the champion jockey failed to take any first place during the day.

Most of the winners among those 10 races were mostly favorites.


Mr Robert Tsai had three Blue Ribons in his racing career, KNOCK-DOWN was his first classic.





Whitsun (also Whitsunday, Whit Sunday or Whit) is the name used for the seventh Sunday after the traditional Easter, which commemorates the descent of the legendary Holy Spirit upon Christ’s disciples. It has no fixed date yearly due to the different methods of calculating the date of Easter.





Derby, The Hong Kong Racing Tradition – 《RacingMemories.HK》

Derby 1947-01-14_3 NORSE QUEEN – 《RacingMemories.HK》



Acknowledgment to Mr Peter Yuen and Mr Kelvin Lee for relevant data.

Acknowledgment to Mr Donald Tsai for offering relevant records and photos.





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