OUR MEMORIES
Governors


Keeper Protector Guide

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Hongkong Governors had always been the Chief Patrons or Honorable Steward of HKJC and donors of trophies.
Some of them and even some of their ladies were owners.
Not only Governors, HKJC’s officials had frequently included the highest ranking of Civil Servants.

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

Dr E. J. Eitel who wrote《History of Hong Kong》stated that:
the annual races during the administration of Hong Kong’s first Governor, Sir Henry Pottinger (1841-1884), were:
“still held in Macao. So, it had a purpose for a general pilgrimage to Macao occupied the latter half of the month of February in 1842 and 1843.”
But that convenience stopped abruptly.

 

Such ending, however, came to a new beginning!

 

 

RECORDS

 

1844
According to page 16 of《China Races》written by Austin Coates:
1844-01-26, about a fortnight before the races” the Government of Hongkong published for general information the text of the Consular Ordinance” issued by Sir Henry Pottinger.
As Plenipotentiary in China, he made concerns between the dealing of Britain, Portugal and the Chinese Empire.
“Question Portugal‘s sovereignty over Macao, however, as Sir Henry Pottinger unwisely did, and that was the end of that. Not another race-meeting was ever held on the remote and pleasant Areia Preta racecourse.”
Soon, Mr W. T. Mercer, Private Secretary to the Colony’s second Governor, who accompanied His Excellency (Sir John Davis) to the Colony.
Governor Davis concurred, though he was not entirely convinced that the fields in WongNeiChung Valley were the real cause of disease.
So lands were claimed to build a Hong Kong racecourse for the Annual Race Meeting held in Macao before.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

 

1846
Mr W. T. Mercer, became Colonial Treasurer and later Colonial Secretary, was a member of the Race Committee.

 

1847
Governor Sir John Francis Davis donated $200 to provide the Plenipotentiary’s Cup; but no horse was entered and the race was not run.
When Sir John left the Colony, few saw him off.

 

1848
1848-02-07 The Plenipotentiary’s Cup, presented by the Governor, was for Walers.
Sir George Bonham was one of the few Governors who owned a racing “stable”.

 

1849
Annual Race Meeting, the third day, a cup presented by the Canton community for Arab horses only (9 st. 10 lbs.) was won by Mr Jardine’s ST. ANDREW.
Sir George Bonham, the Governor’s TEMPTATION, ridden by Mr Foster of the 95th Regiment, was second.

 

1850
There were five races (two for horses and three for ponies) on the second day including the Plenipotentiary’s Cup presented by H. E. the Governor Mr. G, Bonham, for all horses, 1850-02-05.
Governor Bonham also entered a fast-moving Arab named TEMPTATION, which was a prominent performer for several years.

 

1851
A welter race (10 st. 7 lb.) for Arabs (1 miles) was won by His Excellency the Governor Sir George Bonham’s TEMPTATION, 1851-02-04.

 

1854
Before he was succeeded by Sir John Bowring, Governor Bonham’s TEMPTATION won the Canton Cup from one other starter.

 

1859
His Excellency Sir Hercules Robinson (1859-65), a young man of 35, is said to have been rebuffed by the Stewards when, without benefit of formalities, he sought ex-officio privileges at the races.
But most of the Governors regularly donated cups.

 

1884
1884-02-20, before the formation of HKJC, the last Annual Race Meeting organised by the old Racing Committee, Governor Bowen was the Honorary Steward on the panel of officials.
1884-11-04, after the formation of HKJC , Governor, Sir George F Bowen was the first Honorary Steward.

 

1891
The records tell of the Robinson Challenge Cup (for subscription griffins), donated and presented by His Excellency Sir William Robinson (1891-1898).

 

1899
Robinson Challenge Cup became the Blake Challenge Cup. when Sir Henry Blake was appointed.
Governor Blake, with his wife and daughter, made it to Pao Ma Chang, but evidently unfamiliar with the peculiarities of locomotion in the Peking region, got there too late.

 

1904
Sir Matthew Nathan did not attach his name to the Cup, which was called thereafter ‘The Governor’s Cup‘.
A race book of that year gives us a complete list of officials.
Gracing the frontispiece as Honorary Stewards are:— The Governor (the Hon. F. H. May, C.M.G., acting).

 

1905
Sir Matthew Nathan, had one pony, named CHING, which, with Mr Mackie riding, was third in the Valley Stakes.

 

1907
Sir Frederick Lugard was appointed Governor on 1907-07-29 and became the Club’s Honorary Steward in time for the annual Meeting of 1908-02-12.

 

1912
Sir Henry May came back to Hong Kong as Governor and remained for seven years.
He was an active Patron and still owned a stable.

 

1919
Sir Edward Stubbs succeeded as Governor on 1919-09-30, but took relatively little interest in racing.

 

1920
His Excellency Governor Stubbs ascended to a more paternal plane and was Patron of the Club.
The Service Chiefs remained as Honorary Stewards.

 

1922
Of later days, Governors, Sir Edward Stubbs raced a pony named THE DON.

 

1925
Governor Sir Cecil Clementi, succeeded Sir Edward Stubbs on 1925-11-01.
Both Sir Cecil and Lady Clementi were fond of horses — as the names of Sir Cecil‘s Ride through WongNeiChong Gap attest: but they did not have a racing stable.

 

1930
The Hon. Mr W. T. Southorn, C.M.G. (later Sir Thomas Southorn, Governor of the Gambia), administered the Government, and was HKJC’s Patron.

 

1932
Sir William and Lady Peel each had a small stable.
One of Sir William’s ponies, NELL GWYN, an Australian griffin, was a record-breaker.

 

1934
Governor Peel’s NELL GWYN (14.3) and HIGH FINANCE also did fast times.

 

1938
Sir Geoffrey Northcote came out as Governor and the gubernatorial colours were again seen on the course.
Lady Northcote owned a small stable until 1940.

 

1940
The last Governor’s Cup ever presented at the Fanling Hunt and Race Club in the New Territories, Hongkong, Gwanti Racecourse.
Presented by Sir Geoffry Northcote, it was won by Mrs Butcher’s MARCH BROWN.

 

1942
During the Japanese occupation, Governor, Lieut-General Rensuke Isogai as Chief Patron inaugurated the 1942-04-25 opening race held by the Hongkong Race Club (HKRC) .

 

1946
Governor Sir Mark Aitchison Young also donated a cup to be competed for at the end of the season.

 

1947
Sir Mark Young, pre-War Governor of the Colony, resumed his office, and attended the Club’s first post-War Annual on 1947-01-15.

 

1948
Governor Grantham, undeterred, inquired from London if an application for HKJC Royalization would be considered.

 

1960
Governor Sir Robert Black determined HKJC Royalization must go through.

 

1961
1961-02-01, came the CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION ON CHANGE OF NAME, quoted:
“with the approval of His Excellency the Governor now given by me on his behalf under delegated powers, it has changed its name to “The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club”

 

1962
His Excellency the Governor, Sir Robert Black, G.C.M.G., O.B.E., was the Patron of the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Honorary Stewards included both the Chief Justice and the Colonial Secretary.

 

1966
With ovation, Lady David Trench had a leading-in of Governor Trench‘s FLYAWAY , an inaugurate win by jockey Derek Cheng T C on 1966-10-15.

 

1971
Sir Murray MacLehose became Governor on 1971-11-19, he was a supporter of racing and equestrian events.

 

1975
1975-05-05,Governor MacLehose accompanied Queen Elizabeth to Happy Valley Racecourse during her first Royal Visit, and presented her inaugurate QEII Cup.

 

1978
Governor MacLehose and Chairman P G Williams held the 1978-10-07 opening ceremony of Sha Tin Racecourse.
He presented the inaugurate Sha Tin Trophy to SILVER LINING‘s owner Mr Sanford Yung, jockey Bill Hartack and trainer Gerry Ng Chi-lam.

 

1982
Sir Edward Youde became Governor on1982-05-20, he presented the QEII Cup occasionally.

 

1986
1986-10-22, Sir Edward Youde accompanied Queen Elizabeth who presented the QEII Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse during her second Royal Visit.
1986-12-04, Sir Edward Youde passed away, HKJC half-masted to pay tribute to the first deceased Governor in Office.

 

1997
Before the reunification, Governors Sir David Wilson and Chris Patten both presented the trophies of the few final runnings of the Governor‘s Cup.

 

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Hong Kong racing, however, has close relationship with the leaders of Hong Kong.
Up to 1919 the Governor and the heads of the armed Services were bracketed as Honorary Stewards at the head of the list of officials.
Their contributions to HKJC and Hong Kong racing are undeniably remarkable.

 

 

REFERENCE

 

The Don is the best of something, e.g. the don is the head of an organisation.

 

NELL GWYN, Eleanor “Nell” Gwyn was a long-time mistress of King Charles II of England and Scotland.

 

MARCH BROWN is “probably the most famous of all British mayflies”, having been copied by anglers to catch fish for over 500 years.

 

 

RELATED LINK

 

Photo Gallery

 

Video Showcase

 

 

Acknowledgment to Hong Kong Racing Museum for relevant content.

 

 

 


 

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