OUR MEMORIES
Liáodōng Racecourses


 

INTRODUCTION

 

Liáodōng (辽东; 遼東) is located around Liaoning province of northeastern China.
Historically known as southern east-Manchuria. Liaodong (formerly spelled Liaotung)
11th century BC–222 BC, Liáodōng as “East of the Liao”; referring to the Liao River which divided the Yan 燕 Commanderies of Liaoxi (辽西; 遼西) (west of the Liao) and Liaodong during time of the Warring States.

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

Xianfeng Era
Hsien-feng Emperor 咸豐帝 was the seventh Qing emperor to rule over China, from 1850 to 1861.
1858-06-13 the first part of the Second Opium War ended by signing with Russia the first of the four Treaties of Tientsin.
1858-06-26 the Qing Dynasty opened more ports to Western after signing the third one of the Treaties with the British.
1860-10-18 Convention of Peking was signed.
1860-10-24 Kowloon was ceded formally to the British.
Racecourses in China were developed in many cities and ports after that phrase.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

1861-10-09 Letter from Thomas Taylor Meadows, the British Consul described that Newchwang did not appear to be a port with wide, deep harbor and a town of great commercial interest.
He decided on Yingkou, which is at the mouth of the Leaou [Liao].
1861 April, though Yingkou officially replaced Newchwang,The Treaty of Tianjin could not be changed so those two names appear confused in the documents.
1864-04-03 British Consulate was established in New Newchwang (actually it is Yingkou nowadays).
Shortly, the British began to build another port in Yingkou. So it was co-named as “Newchwang” and “cow mouth” in the past.
1864-05-09, Northern ports custom office opened in accordance with the British Treaty of T’ientsin.
Newchwang in Liaoning province, and Chefoo on the Shantung peninsula, both in the Gulf of Chihli with easy steamer access to Tientsin and each other.
A network of ‘Races of the North’ developed, with owners and riders bringing their ponies to compete in ‘away’ events, or attending simply as visitors on holiday.
These were the years of the German ascendancy, particularly in the North where they were concerned with heavy industry and mines.
The Germans in Newchwang and Tientsin took an active part in racing.

 

Newchwang (Yingtze) people did sometimes race their ponies at Tientsin and Chefoo, but there is no indication that anyone ever brought a pony to them.
Where racing people were concerned, men and women, it was another matter.
Newchwang people often attended the Chefoo races, and there was a specially friendly connexion.

 

1900
The most notable British figure in Newchwang was Henry A. Bush, who like Cornabe in Chefoo was a ‘first in’ man.
He kept two stables, one in Newchwang, the other in Tientsin, getting to and fro himself as best he could.

 

1904-02-08 the Russo-Japanese War marked in which for the first time a European power was defeated by an Asiatic one.
As was said at the time, no one on the China coast could claim not to be interested in horses.
The Russo-Japanese War brought the Newchwang races to a temporary halt.

 

1905
Until after March , when with the Russians in full retreat up the railway line, racing was promptly resumed.
1905 September, a race-meeting in the usual fine style was held at Chefoo.

 

1920
With Peking and Newchwang in separate positions for different reasons, major racing had narrowed down.
The reason the Newchwang races came to an end was because of the danger of being kidnapped when going out to the racecourse.

 

1923
Mukden, was named as a Qing jurisdiction over this Shenyang and vicinity; Fengtian City, now the capital of Shenyang, Liaoning Province.
Mukden had a Japanese Race Club and Westerners could race there and train their ponies at the course, management was exclusively Japanese.
This was the first instance of Japanese organizing races successfully outside their own country.
There were one or two Japanese racing enthusiasts in China. Matsumoto of Shanghai once won the Champions to immense public acclaim.
In Tsingtao a Japanese club had been attempted, and as noted, it became moribund.
The same had happened in a number of other places in Manchuria.
Mukden was exceptional in being a success. Japanese and Europeans thus raced at Mukden and Newchwang, more Japanese at the former, more Europeans at the latter.

 

1925
A sensational incident occurred at the Mukden Race Club in July when a force of Chinese police invaded the course and tried to stop the races.
The raid was based on the ground that gambling was illegal in China.
The third race was about to start, jockeys mounted, when a posse of about twenty police dashed out and seized the ponies’ reins.
The ponies were too strong for them. hardly knows what kind of start it was, but off they went.
The police in fact lost face so badly that no more was heard about illegal gambling, for a while.

 

1931
1931-09-18, Manchoukuo was found after Japan invaded and occupied Manchuria of which this event probably marked the beginning of the Second World War.
Within a year the Newchwang races, which only four years before had had record attendances, collapsed.
Manchoukuo, as it was now called, was a dangerous place.
The Japanese were thin on the ground. Bandits and kidnappers took over on a large scale.
Britons were warned by their Consul-General, Sir Paul Butler, not to ride out.
The Mukden Hunt was made up entirely of offshoots from the Newchwang racing stables.
It was too dangerous to bring griffins down from Harbin, and would have been extremely expensive.
British policy was conformative. It was for this reason that Sir Paul Butler got the Mukden Hunt going.
It was fairly safe near large places like Mukden.

 

1940, transportation by sea were still available between Newchwang, Wenxiang and Yingkou.

 

1945-08-15 noon, Emperor of Japan announced his unconditional surrender via radio broadcast, followed by a vanishing of LiaoDung racing.

 

1946, Newchwang was deserted due to its opening was blocked and replaced by a new river course.

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Racecourses around Northeast, China mostly were directly managed by the Equine Council under Justice Ministry of Manchukuo, an acting authorities in the new capital Hsinking.
Those managements were named as Racing Club or Jockey Club, specifically responsible for Racing affairs.
Some racecourses such as Fushun were directly in charged by the Equine Council via a “Foundation” named as Fushun Jockey Club.
Northeast racing ponies were purchased by the Jockey Clubs collectively before members’ subscriptions.
Basically ponies were brought from Inner Mongolia and Zhangjiakou, some brought in from abroad or other Arab countries, as “foreign horses.”
Some Horse Owners, as their title addressed, were very rich, with dozens of horses while some owners had only one.
Those annual events in the Northeast were counted as “Racing Season”.
From the mid-1930s to the early 1940s, Northeast horse racing were “flourishing.”
1945-08-14 Japanese Emperor, via broadcast, announced the surrender of Japan.
Northeast racing stopped thereafter and racecourses were transformed for other purposes.

 

 

REFERENCE

 

Chefoo, now known as Yantai, the world’s largest and most typical continental linked Island in the Northern-east of China. The shape is similar to a lingzhi or reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) “Che”; Foo, in Chinese, meaning as a barrier.

 

 

EXTERNAL LINK

 

Thomas Taylor Meadows (b. 1815 – d. 1868)

 

1861-10-09 Letter from Thomas Taylor Meadows from Newchwang

 

Second Opium War – Wikipedia

 

Convention of Peking – Wikipedia

 

 

 


 

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