Encarnacao, Charlie


Portuguese predecessor; Shanghainese pioneer





Charlie Encarnacao, addressed as Charlie, was a Portuguese gentleman rider emerged in the 1920s, mainly in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

He was a stock broker by profession who became famous in the Kiangwan Chinese racing circle.





According to the book 《China Races》, Encarnacao was mentioned firstly on page 176.

On a Sunday in March 1926, two of the Shanghai Race Club’s top jockeys, Vic Haimovitch and Charlie Encarnacao, had several wins, riding for Chinese owners.

But not in Hong Kong, as no placing mentioning their names was recorded on the Annual Race Meeting from 1926-03-01 to 1926-03-03.

In fact the first Chinese owner was officially admitted to HKJC and recorded only in the next year event.





1927-02-28-4 the Valley Stakes, Encarnacao on KAM TONG HALL scored the inaugural race and trophy for the first Chinese owner in Hong Kong racing, Mr Ho kom-tong.


1929-02-26_3 Charlie Encarnacao won the 57th Derby, PRESIDENT HALL, for Ho Kom Tong, the first Chinese owning a Derby winner, 1-1/2 miles.


1930-02-25 Mr Ho Kom-tong had a good Annual Meeting.

Encarnacao was the most successful jockey, landing 3 races out of 6 starts.

He scored the Wong-neichong Stakes on Mr Mogcar’s HUACHAFO among a big field of 29.

Then he piloted BRIDGE HALL to win the Valley Stakes for Ho.

With Mr Encarnacao again riding, his PRESIDENT HALL, Ho took the shortened Foochow Cup.

They achieved in record time, beating Mrs Dunbar’s SITTING BulL (Mr Hill) and John Peel’s ADAM (Mr Heard).

On the second day MAJESTIC HALL won the Chater Cup and MARQUIS HALL the Racing Stakes.



1938-02-22, another notable newcomer was Mr Eu Tong-sen’s CAMERONIAN.

In eight starts he won four and was placed in the rest.

In the American Club Cup on the third day CAMERONIAN was the only starter after withdrawals of 32 entries.

1938-02-22, Encarnacao scored 5 winners.


1938-10-08 Encarnacao won a treble, one of them was ROSE JANE.


1938-10-22 at the Ninth Extra Meeting, Mr Eu Tong-sen’s ROSE EVELYN, unseating its jockey (Mr Encarnacao) at the starting post.

The filly, trotted almost twice around the track before being caught.

Established favourite, she then gladdened many people with an excellent win, to pay $15.



Best performances of China ponies in 1939 were those of Mr Eu Tong-sen’s ROSE ELECT.

The filly won five races in six starts, she took the Maidens, the Derby and the Champions.

Mr Encarnacao rode each time.

The pony raced only one year, for $8,873.


1939-02-27 Encarnacao scored he 67th Derby, ROSE ELECT, Eu tong-sen, 1-1/2 miles.

Encarnacao ROSE ELECT triumph, as Mr. Eu Tong-sen‘s pony breaks record in the classic, NAVYLIGHT only a bad second.


1939-03-04_1, all dividend records were again shattered in 1939 when Mr D.L.’s STARLET, owned by Mr Dick Lopes and Dr Douglas Laing, and ridden by Mr P. L. Chiu, won the Nil Desperandum, first section. It paid the highest dividend in those days.

The three win backers received $3,711.60 each, and six place punters were happy with $600.60 apiece.

The favourite, SPORTS VENTURE (Mr Encarnacao), was second.

1939, Mr Encarnacao reigned with 34 wins, 22 seconds, 14 thirds.



Elise Andrews, another notable ownertrainer and horsewoman in Northern China racing, was down in Shanghai from Tientsin, to be trainer for Mr A.S Henchman of the HSBC.

HINDHEAD owner by Henchman had a series of narrow misses in the Shanghai Champions.

Elise had trained HINDHEAD to a condition in which, as she put it, he was au point.

On the last day before a pony was to race, even in the early morning of the day he raced, the mafoos in Shanghai had a near-irresistible urge to give him a gallop themselves.

The day before the Champions of November 1940, to the fury of the mafoos, Elise got on HINDHEAD.

She had to make quite sure no one interfered with him, stayed in the stables all night.

This was not only wise, but courageous.

The Chinese mafoo, if crossed, is not the kindest of characters.

To stay that night in the stables took some doing.

It produced dividends, however.

HINDHEAD was won by Charlie Encarnacao, the top Portuguese jockey in Shanghai.



1941-05-08 Shanghai Spring Champions Race Encarnacao‘s brilliant win on HINDHEAD again.

Nine ponies started in one of the biggest crowds on record saw the event despite the bleak skies.

Holding HINDHEAD in last place until entering the straight, Encarnacao left a legend in among many of his last China races.

Round the home turn, he forced HINDHEAD to unleash a terrific spurt to take the lead at the distance.

While a tremendous roar went up from 20,000 throats, up came HINDHEAD, in the very shadow of the post, with a storming burst of speed that swept him on to snatch the victory.

Charlie Encarnacao was congratulated on riding a perfectly judged race.

It was the last time the race was ever run.



Quite a crowd of Shanghai people were to be seen at Happy Valley in the years following the communist take-over of China:

Buffy Maitland, Jimmie Pote-Hunt, Charlie Encarnacao, Billie Liddell and Vera McBain, Elise Andrews, now Clark, and numerous others, including several prominent Chinese racing men.


1957-05-05 Encarnacao was reported among the trackwork records.

“With veteran Charlie in the saddle, BLUEGRASS took a fast spin over the six-furlong distance.

On Saturday morning, they completed the circuit in 1.28 flat.

Among other impressive gallops was CAROLA, which Encarnacao gave a 30.1 last.”

These training times were the last record of Encarnacao‘s riding career.





Encarnacao gave a brilliant performance of the timing and riding skill.

His proficiency had earned him the title of the leading jockey in the Far East.

He owned horses and rode them personally in the morning especially on PETITE, class 9.

Paul K Y Cheng was appointed to save the horse before being outsed, then winning with handsome dividend.

PETITE was back to Class 8 after the victory.


Encarnacao was registered as its official owner and remained active until he was over 70 years of age.

Charlie Encarnacao was written as passing away in 1965, but chronologically contradicted with the description in Lo Kut’s 《30 Year In Racecourse》.

1981-01-13, Charlie Encarnacao, former jockey, stock broker, and owner of CJ Encarnacao Co., aged 83, passed away.





Horses owned by Encarnacao:

K122 MINOTAUR (Allan Chan 76-77); E110 UNICORN(71-72); B051 BUTTONS(P M Chu 68-69); >M027 CANDY(60-61); B002 CAROLA(55-56); V042 Bayshore (53-54)


HUACHAFO (Spanish slang) Of or pertaining to a person or object resulting from poor taste, not fashionable, bad personal manners or bad habits or a person that has very bad or very poor taste.


HINDHEAD is a village in Surrey, England. It is the highest village in Surrey, with buildings at between 185 and 246 metres above sea level.

The place-name “Hindhead” is first attested in 1571, and means “hill frequented by hinds”, or female deer.

Notable inhabitants were George Bernard Shaw and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.





Shanghai Race Club – 《RacingMemories.HK》



Acknowledgment to Mr Tony Ng and Mr Paul K Y Cheng for relevant data.





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