Match Race or Two-Horse-Race

Two Duel, Rare Race, Match Matches





Race with two runners could be but not necessarily a match race.

But a two-horse-race might not be a match race or a race with only two runners.


Two-horse Race, usually refers to a competition, election, etc, in which there are only two teams or candidates with a chance of winning.

However, a match race is a race between just two horses.

Originally it was the featuring of one owner‘s horse against another owner‘s horse.

Traditionally it had been an important part of the sport of racing.

Even they were arranged by only the concerned owners themselves.

In the 1800s, match races took place with regularity.





By the 1900s, however, important match races grew fewer and fewer.

Arguably, the most famous match races in history could probably be counted on one hand.

These include:



The race was called the Pimlico Special at the Pimlico track in Baltimore, Maryland.

Triple Crown winner and reigning Horse of the Year WAR ADMIRAL met the rags-to-riches people’s horse, SEABISCUIT .

The latter, as the winner went on to be the Horse of the Year and the world’s leading money winning thoroughbred.



RUFFIAN ‘s eleventh race was run at Belmont Park.

It was a match race between her and that year’s Kentucky Derby winner, FOOLISH PLEASURE.

Video showed Ruffian was startled by a bird from infield and took misstep.

The only race she ever lost was the one that killed her.





Match races were recorded in the history of Hong Kong racing from time to time.

But none of them got the remarkable impression as special occasions.

These classic incidents happened a decade before the formation of HKJC.

Six events of match race were held within one Annual Race Meeting!

There were 3 on the 1st Day, 2 on the 2nd Day and 1 on the 3rd Day.

Almost two of such odd and lonely occasions were set per every single race day.


1871-03-01_1 GENERAL vs DAMAGED BROCADES, once round –

WongNeiChong Stakes

Two maiden ponies were entered the first event, but neither started.

As they failed to produce a race, there was an empty record in that year of WongNeiChong Stakes history.


1871-03-01_3 St Leger NORTH AUSTRALIAN vs Hooper JAVELIN, 1-1/4 mile –

Portuguese Cup

Only two horses turned out for the race after the withdrawals of EXETER and BIRMINGHAM.

NORTH AUSTRALIAN won the trophy by many length. 2.30.0.


1871-03-02_2 St Leger NORTH AUSTRALIAN vs Hooper JAVELIN, 2 miles –

Challenge Cup

JAVELIN was stopped at the Public Garden the second time round.

So it was one failed to finish.


1871-03-02_4 Rudolph SKELP vs Alexander HAMLET, 1-1/4 mile –

Northern Plate

There were thirteen entries but only two started,

SKELP won by a short head in an incredible slow time. 4.16.0


1871-03-02_5 Rudolph SKELP vs St Andrew ATOUT, 1-1/4 mile –

Brokers Cup

Rudolph held his runner well by two clear lengths until half way round the second time.

SKELP carried 12 extra lbs but won comfortably. 2.55.0


1871-03-03_5 Tom SADOWN vs Warrington GAY LASS, 1-1/2 mile –

Hack Stakes

The race was a tame one even before GAY LASS was pull up and being left forlorn.

SADOWN won by canter or walk , as the Challenge Cup, in which one pony failed to finish.


1948-10-23_5 Pote-Hunt NORSE QUEEN vs Needa FIFTH ALARM, 2-1/4 mile –

Cesarewitch Stakes

NORSE QUEEN scared off opposition of the19 Australian ponies entry.

Though not as the mentioned sportsmanship of Mr Black on NORSE PRINCESS, NORSE QUEEN won by many lengths. 4.20.12


1974-10-26_6 T C Cheng HIGH RISE, Cheam SKYLAB, 1800m –

Carnarvon Handicap

HIGH RISE won comfortably over her stablemate SKYLAB by a few lengths.

Though a filly defeating a colt, both were trained by H M Cheung. 1.56.1


1974-11-02_3 Cheam YICKMAN vs K Y Ho CELEBRATIONS, 1800m –

Dundalk Handicap

Trainer by Ng Chi-lam,YICKMAN led narrowly at the beginning, to win by a street at the finish.

A K Cheam piloted the class 4 horse to the wire by a margin of 12 lengths. 2.01.1


1979-12-15_1 Hartack MICHAEL HARDEY vs K W Lui GOLDEN FOX, 1800m –

Borders Plate (section 1)

The griffin race was between the two Russian trainers but two jockeys with different experience.

Trained by N Metervelli, MICHAEL HARDEY won by many lengths. 1.46.7


1981-11-04_3 J K S Ho VILLA D’ESTE, Brosnan YAU WAI, 1050m –

Ventris Handicap

The rain affected going made the sand track even faster.

This race of the Class 1 with winner booted by young apprentice saddle by old master G Moore. 1.02.9


1984-01-07_1 A S Cruz KANE KACHI va Rouse HYALITE, 2250m –

Ting Kau Handicap

Though only betting for winner, it was an exciting match race between two masters with the finish by a head.

The trainer of the winner, KANE KACHI was T P Wong. 2.28.0





Match races or races with two runners could be very exciting but only with contenders really matching in form and quality.

The two horses could dash around the track side-by-side trying to be the first to cross the finish line.

Match racing is one of the oldest kinds of horse racing.

The ancient ones were held even before any organized administrative racing body were formed.

But two-horse-races are usually held by a racing institutions.

Different systems of dividends or Pari-mutuel have been applied for a match race or a two-horse Race.

Sometimes betting on Wns and Place, but sometimes only on Wins could be accepted.


Some factors could be attributed to the running of a Two-horse Race

Lacking of contender entries may due to:

– Under supplies of runners

– Unequal Competition

– Improper handicapping

– Unpopular fixtures, class, distance, etc

In fact, a challenged duel as an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals is mostly welcome.





1941-10-10, Hongkong Happy Valley got an even more interesting addition to the programme at the Extra Meeting on the Double Tenth (October 10) was a 2 1/2 miles event — the first of that distance for many years. It was appropriately called The Cesarewitch Stakes.


The Cesarewitch Handicap is a flat handicap horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older.

It is run at Newmarket over a distance of 2 miles and 2 furlongs (3,621 metres scheduled to take place each year in October.

“Cesarewitch” is an anglicised version of Tsesarevich, the title of the heir to the throne in Imperial Russia.

The race was named in honour of Tsesarevich Alexander (later Tsar Alexander II), after he donated £300 to the Jockey Club.


Caernarfon (/kərˈnɑrvən/; Welsh: [kaɨrˈnarvɔn]) is a royal town, community, and port in Gwynedd, Wales, with a population of 9,615 (this figure does not include nearby Bontnewydd or Caeathro, as they are in separate communities).

It lies along the A487 road, on the eastern shore of the Menai Strait, opposite the Isle of Anglesey. The city of Bangor is 8.6 miles (13.8 km) to the north-east, while Snowdonia fringes Caernarfon to the east and south-east.

Carnarvon and Caernarvon are Anglicized spellings that were superseded in 1926 and 1974, respectively.





Hong Kong Horse Racing History in Brief – 《RacingMemories.HK》



Acknowledgment to Mr Donald Tsai, Mr Peter Yuen and Mr Kelvin Lee for relevant data.





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