NEEDA, Victor Vander




1903-08-26 Victor Vander Needa was born in Tsingtao and spent most of his childhood there.

Needa spelt his name like that because his mother, who was Japanese, didn’t know how else to spell it,

His father was Dutch, and probably the name was slightly more complicated than this version but Victor wouldn’t know.

He remembered that his mother took him to Japan for a little while, and he learned to speak Japanese in her home.

Later he needed the language just as much in Tsingtao, a popular place with Japanese,

By that time his mother was dead and the little boy had been adopted informally by an American broker.

His step father nearly sending V V to the States to be educated, for a doctor or something.

Needa was eighteen and he wanted to go out on his own.

He had begun riding and was a sort of hero in Tsingtao.

He thought he was hot stuff and he owned that town.

So he went in for brokerage.





Needa meant.Racing in the East was based on the illusion that all the riders are amateurs, ’gentlemen jockeys”

Actually they were just professional jockeys like any riders anywhere in the world with the few exception of some rider-owners.

The ordinary boys who could not afford to ride for the fun of it always go in for something light and gentlemanly, usually brokerage to earn their livings.

When they weren’t following the races. and enthusiasts gave them orders to keep them comfortable between meetings.

Needa was for years the best jockey they had on the Coast.

He was a beautiful rider but too big to make a go of racing anywhere but in China.

There were the largest jockeys in the world riding the smallest horses.

He had a struggle to get down below a hundred and forty pounds, but the tough little Mongol ponies were used to that.

He was a good looking big boy, a textbook example of hybrid vigor.


Needa was famous as an Eurasian rode around war time, married into Moller shipping family.





1924, Needa rode his first race in Tsingtao, at the Tsingtao Race Club’s Inaugural meeting.

He continued riding there for the next ten years during which he won no fewer than 400 races.

Among them all big event included on the Tsingtao Race Club programmes and in Shanghai as well.


1926 April, in Tsingtao Racecourse, after four months of British rudeness and bad manners without parallel in a country in which they were guests.

The North-China Herald reported that ‘the differences with the Chinese’ had been resolved, and that races were held with one of the greatest crowds ever gathered.

New railings had been put in, the former ones having been lost due to the depredations of Chinese soldiers.

Chinese, Japanese (three outstanding riders), Russians and Dutchmen raced. Vic van der Needa, a top Shanghai jockey, did the hat-trick.


1933-02-20, Needa made his first trip to Hong Kong and won a Derby at his first Attempt. on Mrs Pearce‘s TRENTBRIDGE.


1936, Needa returned to Tsingtao and RISING SUN, a 12.2 hands little pony on which he won a race 10 years ago.
But now, it was 17 years old.

Needa was given a ride, which he did with success to add another win to its impressive list.


1941, the familiar result of the change of weight scales was that both China ponies and Australians set up new records for every distance.

Most of the star performers were new ponies.

The only times at the new weights which were faster than the old were: — China ponies:

OOLONG’s mile in 1.49.3 (Mr Needa)

O-LAN’s 1 3/4 miles in 3.26.1 (Mr Needa).

1941-02-18, the 69th Derby, OOLONG, owner T K LI, Jockey V V Needa, 1-1/2 miles.

Of the China ponies Mr T. K. Li’s OOLONG won four races in five starts, including the Hong Kong Derby.

HK Sunday Herald on page 21 mentions that ” It was Mr. Vic. Needa‘s fourth Hong Kong Derby triumph.


1941-03-27 Needa Buys Six Ponies For $60
Paddocks pony roup auction, Needa was the luckiest purchaser《Hong Kong Daily Press》1941-03-28


1945-11-06,after clearing the Beas River track of its scrub and a carnival race Meeting with proceeds devoted to the “Fund for the Hong Kong Distressed” was planned after the Japanese surrender.

1945-11-25 Sunday, a carnival race after the Japanese Surrender, Mr V V Needa, well-known jockey, was Starter, and Mr Dick Lopes a Judge.


1948, griffins were not an outstanding lot.,but two records were broken.

The first one was V. V. Needa, took Mr Zylch’s M070 DAISYBELL over seven furlongs in 1.31.4.


Needa kept racing after the war. His last victory was:

1953-02-07 Race 2, Maiden, 1 Mile with a field of ten, T023 FIRESTONE (trainer Wong Ah Sze), with odds of 2.2.





1941-02-23, Needa told 《Hong Kong Sunday Herald》 that his opinion the finest course in the Far East was in Kiangwan, Shanghai.

It was wide enough to start 40 ponies and was 1 1/2 miles around.

Needa thought Happy Valley was too small and added that:

“the jockeys here take life very seriously and one rarely hears a joke cracked at morning training,

but the racing in Hong Kong is conducted exceptionally well”.

Victor Needa had a nickname as “Sharkskin”.

He was a business man, entrepreneur, connoisseur, gourmet, promoter and generally accredited Most Versatile Man In Town.





Oolong (乌龙;烏龍; pinyin: wūlóng) is a traditional Chinese tea (Camellia sinensis) produced through a unique process


Needa used to drive around town in a puddle-jumper and wearing a ‘Sharkskin’ coat made of Linen.



Acknowledgement to Mr Peter Yuen’s data and comment for rectification.





You need to log in to vote

The site requires users to be logged in before able to vote for this post.

Alternatively, if you do not have an account yet you can create one here.