1940, Philip was born in Meerut, India, the region high up in the Himalayas.


Philip’s father, who worked in India for 30 years was the Chairman of the Royal Calcutta Turf Club and a horse owner.


His interest ignited Philip as a child and led to his first visit to Newbury races when Philip was 6 years old.





1953, the Johnston family returned to Scotland where his father still kept some broodmares in a farm at Kelso, Roxburghshire.


After education at Winchester and later at Trinity College Dublin where Philip continued a deep interest in racing much to his housemaster’s concern!


Philip found Economics far too boring, he set off to gain himself a position in racing administration.


Firstly he learnt the fundamentals of handicapping.


Then he worked in racing stables and studs until departing in charge of two horses boxed on deck bound for New Zealand and Australia via the Panama Canal.







By that time, he had heard of the possibility of a position with the RHKJC to work with the Stipendiary Stewards, Handicapper; as well as being the assistant to the Stables Manager and Veterinary Surgeon, Dr Allan Auchnie.


1968 August, Philip joined the RHKJC when it was still an amateur club.


Howard Braham was the Chief Stipendiary Steward and Michael Boycott the Secretary of the Club.


1971, he took over as handicapper for the full season of the first year of professional racing.


1980, Philip left the RHKJC to join the Singapore Turf Club as Chief Stipendiary Steward.


1986, Philip returned to Hong Kong as Chief Stipendiary Steward.


1990, eventually joining the board of Management as the Director of Racing.


1998-06-14, Philip retired from HKJC.





Philip left HKJC in 1998 after 30 years in the East to join the Curragh Bloodstock Agency (CBA) and Johnny McKeever who is the co-director and Chairman of McKeever Bloodstock (MBL).





Philip’s involvement in the following projects give him a special sense of satisfaction:


  • the first import of Northern Hemisphere griffins to HK.
  • the building of Sha Tin Racecourse.
  • the International Sale.
  • the staging of the first Invitation race.
  • implementation of the apprentice training scheme of HKJC.




    Most memorable horses in HK:


    BEN VORLICH – SILVER LININGBULLISH LUCK (as he bought BULLISH LUCK for his owner Mr Wong)



    Most memorable jockey in HK:


    So many of the world’s best jockeys have ridden in HK that it is hard to pick a favorite but if forced to make a choice,

    Philip would name Pat Eddery as the most exciting to watch.



    Most memorable trainer in HK:


    The same goes for trainers as there have been many fine trainers as well as all the trainers visiting for the International races.

    For Philip thought George Sofronoff was as good as anyone and George was such a lovely person.


    Most memorable owner in HK:


    Mr Alec Potts, a charming man and Steward of the Club who always had a decent horse in training.



    Most memorable event in HK:


    The opening of Sha Tin Racecourse and the win by MONEY NO OBJECT of the first race ever held there.
    Ridden by Lee Hon Ming whose father was the head-lad at Beas River Country Club and

    Owned by Mr Eric Cumine, who was an architect and Steward of the RHKJC, another very delightful person.



    Quotable Quote


    Mr Philip Johnston would say to young racegoers or those wishing to make a career in racing bear in mind the Latin saying:


    “Carpe diem ” or in other words “Grab the day and do your best.”






    Philip Johnston – McKeever Bloodstock





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