Reputable Stable; Remarkable Stable
In the early years of racing in Hong Kong a few owners had their own training establishments.
But all ponies and horses were not solely kept in the Happy Valley racecourse.
Later,even after using stables in Shang Kwong Road, they were not the only facility.
All race horses in Hong Kong were not just putting in the HKJC official stable complex.
It was because there was a Jardine Stable in Leighton Road not so far from the race track.
Ponies and horses kept in Jardine Stable were not for racing only, some for polo as well.
Its proximity was half way between the Happy Valley Racecourse and the Causeway Bay Polo Ground.
Jardine Stable existed until after the Japanese occupation.
Jardines as a firm have never officially owned or financed a racing stable.
This has always been the sporting enterprise of the partners personally.
Jardines belonged to both Shanghai and Hong Kong
— so there was interchange of personnel, causing some confusion in the racing records.
Sir Henry himself had some difficulty in identifying, so had recourse to regarding as Jardine men those who raced under Jardine colours.
These were originally the firm’s colors
— Blue and white; the white was later changed to silver.
Whether the St. Andrew’s saltire design, as in the Ewo flag, was ever used is not discoverable.
Within living memory, the jacket has always been a dignified dark blue, its front richly braided with silver, in the Hussar fashion.
Among the early Jardine owners were Messrs Beresford, W. Mackenzie and Muirhouse.
Racing at the same time was a Mr Muirhead, who also appears to have belonged to the Princely House.
The colours of “Mr St. Leger” were “Blue and silver”.
For this Annual Meeting, the Jardine stable produced a sensational newcomer—a Sydney horse named IVANHOE (ex-WAVERLEY).
won the Argyll Cup (twice round) with Mr Magniac up, the new Parsee Cup (1-1/2 miles), and the St. George’s Cup, in which he beat a hot favourite, Mr Fletcher’s YELLOW JACK.
One of the great races in the Annuals of the Hongkong turf, the Challenge Cup raced on Wednesday, 1867-02-20.
Five came to the post. All were from either the Dent or the Jardine stables. There was a large crowd.
Sir Paul Chater had a Shanghai stable and a reliable agent to buy griffins for him, to be sent down to his Hongkong stable.
The Jardine stable in Hongkong — ‘Mr John Peel’ and ‘Mr St. Andrew’ — followed suit.
A connexion was developing during these years between Chater and Jardine Matheson.
It led to the joint formation of some of Hongkong’s most notable concerns, including the Hongkong & Kowloon Wharf & Godown Co. and Hongkong Land Investment & Agency Ltd.
This was the origin of Hongkong Land, as it is called today.
The net outcome was that Hongkong shortly had two stables capable of challenging all comers, and the effect at Happy Valley was sensational.
The Shanghai owners and riders no longer came down for easy wins. They came down on their mettle and brought their best.
The first Derby to go to a Jardine stable was perhaps that won by “Mr St. Andrew’s” WHITE FRIAR,.
However, the Jardine stable had not been doing well in Shanghai, where their ponies were frequently unplaced.
In the outports they did better, and Jardine Matheson personnel were always prominent in racing events, the Ewo Cup
— the company’s Chinese name — being a feature of the races at several places, with Jardine men themselves racing for it.
A Shanghai starting gate was first introduced in November 1902.
In the Maidens, the third race, the 26 entrants got off to an excellent start save for TAR QUIN, of the Jardine stable.
He was frightened by the noise of the gate, turned tail.
He galloped off in the opposite direction. Mercifully his jockey managed to rein him in before there was a disaster.
Only one of those early stables still survived — the Jardine stables.
They then stood, and until comparatively recently, at the bend of Leighton Hill Road, off the edge of the Ewo domain at East Point.
They had a substantial building with an imposing pai lau (Chinese gateway) just east of Percival Street.
The location is near where the Telephone Company’s building now stands.
Across the road was the high, green and pleasant Jardine plateau, which, with two mansions on its summit.
They occupied the whole area from Percival Street to Pennington Street, now forming the Lee Gardens district.
Apart from “John Peel”, some successful Jardine owners in the past were:
Messrs J. Bell-Irving, W. J. Gresson, Cruikshank, John Johnstone, the Keswick brothers, D. G. M. Bernard, David Landale, C. H. Ross, Chas Beswick, B. D. F. Beith, J. J. Paterson, F. C. Hall and H. D. M. Barton, etc.
1921, when ladies were admitted to the Club as owners, Mrs Johnstone was the first to win a race. Mrs Bernard also had a winning stable.
There was a book《Thirty Years in the Racecourse》, written by Mr Shen Kut-shing with pseudonym “Lo Kut”.
He recorded that the last manager of Jardine stable, Mr Chu Bing-yi, was the biological grandfather of Mr Bill Tung (renowned racing commentator).
There were about 20 to 30 China ponies kept in Jardine stable, around the time it was locked up during the Japanese invasion.
After the war, Ewo rented out the stable site for running a school named as Sun Kwong.
More than ten years later, it was rebuilt into residential blocks of Lai Chi and Lai Yin Buildings, by one of the co-owners of 1949-01-18, The 72nd Derby, winner GOLDEN DAHLIA.
Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (died 495 BC) was the legendary seventh and final king of Rome, reigning from 535 BC until the popular uprising in 509 that led to the establishment of the Roman Republic.
He is commonly known as Tarquin the Proud, from his cognomen Superbus, a Latin word meaning “proud, arrogant, lofty”
Acknowledgement to Mr Samson Shen.