Inaugurate Race by the Intrusive Race
A list of some 200 ponies — “not including those formerly belonging to enemy subjects” — was published.
All had been given Chinese names — mostly Chinese equivalents of their old names with exceptions.
A ROARING TIME became MAANG SI.
For no obvious reasons, COURTING EVE was CHUN KING.
CONFUSION BAY was CHIU LAM, LANCASHIRE CHIPS was KO KING YAT (later LAM POE),
VALOROUS was SAK LAU and DEVONIAN (Lady Northcote’s old pony) was KAI SI YAT.
But names were changed without notice, and it became impossible to keep trace of pre-War performers.
The feeding and preparation of the ponies for the first Meeting cost the owners nothing.
They were not offered cash prizes, but “souvenirs” only.
For that Meeting the jockeys, said to number about 30, almost all Chinese, were drawn by lot.
“All jockeys are under the care of the Race Club, and the question of owners maintaining jockeys does not arise.”
For the grand opening there was a good attendance.
The Japanese Governor, Lieut.-General Rensuke Isogai, arrived in state and was welcomed as Chief Patron.
The races had no names, merely numbers, their distances were stated in metres.
Programmes were mostly 950, 1,200 or 1,600 (about a mile), with occasional longer events of 1,750 and 2,000.
Subsequent newspaper reports did not mention stake money.
The “Race Club” proceeded conservatively, fixing all charges much as they had been under the Jockey Club.
The basic Pari-mutuel bet was ¥2.50 (HK$5 at the Japanese Army’s rate of exchange at that time).
Sweep tickets cost 50 sen ($1).
The Yen had not yet been forced into circulation.
The Hong Kong dollar was still in popular use, and was accepted at the course, although the dividends were declared in Yen.
The dual currency gave the Race Club much trouble.
From the day of the Japanese attack there was a strange shortage of HK$10 and smaller notes.
The notes of larger denominations ($100 and $500), in which the Banks paid out the permitted withdrawals.
They could be changed in a few shops, but only at a heavy discount of 40 or 50 per cent.
Racegoers, ever-optimistic, hoped to get change at the Pari-mutuel, but were disappointed.
Big notes (known as “big cows”) were accepted for big bets only; and big dividends were paid out in the same big notes.
Jockeys, without British, all Chinese and Portugese rode at the meeting, some of their names were Kenneth Kwok, Wei Y C, Shieh W K, Chiu C F, Chiu K F, Tang Man-wa, Ip Kui-ying, and Gregory C L (Portugese), etc.
Acknowledgment to Mr Lacuda Mengnah for relevant content.