Sassoon Family


Mid East Family


The Sassoon is a famous family of Iraqi Jewish descent with international renown.


It was based in Baghdad, Iraq, before moving to Mumbai, India and then spreading to China, England, and other countries.


Its etymology is originated from the mountainous district of Sason (whence the family and tribal names), west of Lake Van, in upper Mesopotamia near the modern Turkey.


The family’s businesses in China, and Hong Kong especially, were built to capitalize on the opium trade.



Far East Dynasty


(1792 – 1864) David Sassoon, Baghdad’s treasurer began and cemented the family’s dominant position in the Sino-Indian opium trade.


(1818 – 1896) Sir Albert Abdullah David Sassoon, 1st Baronet, KCB, CSI, ( A. Sassoon) was a British Indian businessman and philanthropist.


(1820 – 1880) Elias David Sassoon was an Iraqi-Indian philanthropist and businessman involved in opium trading between India and the Far East.


(1853 – 1917) Frederick David Sassoon, was the head of the famous firm of the name, was in the Legislative Council as representative of the Justices of the Peace.


(1881 – 1961) Victor Sassoon, lived in Shanghai as a wealthy bon vivant who worked tirelessly to protect Western interests in the Orient and helped European Jews survive in the Shanghai Ghetto.


(1889 – 1923) Hector Sassoon, who had his racing silk colors of Peacock blue and old gold halved, old gold cap.





1842, after the Treaty of Nanking, David Sassoon was one of the eight brothers came to China with a view to commanding the opium trade at both ends.


1844, Elias David Sassoon moved to Hong Kong as his base to start his business in China and founded branches of David Sassoon & Co. in Shanghai, Canton and Hongkong.


1867, the first discoverable reference to the Sassoons in Hong Kong racing is to the presentation of the inaugural Ashley Cup, value 100 guineas.


The old records of principal events mention “Mr Sassoon” as owner of WHITE CLOUD.


1884 Feb, for the last Annual Race Meeting organised by the old Racing Committee, the Hon. F. D. Sassoon was one of the Stewards in the panel of officials.


1884 Oct, E D Sassoon was also present at the founders’ meeting.


1885 May Meeting, David Sassoon had almost certainly resolved to enter, but was holding his hand. He had to be absolutely sure before committing himself.


1885 Autumn Meeting, David Sassoon again attended. COUNCILLOR won the Criterion Stakes and the Champions. RED GAUNTLET won several races. David Sassoon bought both ponies.


1886, the owners of the Jardine stable in Shanghai sold the premises to David Sassoon as part of a larger land deal.


1887, the first documented appearance of a Mr Sassoon as a rider is as winner on the Sassoon pony EXCHANGE in the Ladies’ Purse.


1887-02-23, he also won the Derby with HARVESTER, the famous Mr Hutchings riding.


Sir Henry May notes that Mr E. Sassoon, “a sportsman who won much success with his own ponies”, came down to ride in Hong Kong with the strong Shanghai contingent of 1887 — the beginning of a great run of Sassoon victories at the Valley.


Mr E. Sassoon, a sportsman who for the next five years had much success here riding his own ponies.


Sassoons entered so many ponies in that year that the entry fees made a welcome difference in the financial result of the Meeting!


1892, Mr Sassoon repeated his triumph on HERO, with another of his ponies, LIGHTNING (Mr Maclean), in second place.


1914, Mr M S Sassoon was appointed as HKJC Time-keeper.


1922, the Sassoon name did not appear until Mr Hector Sassoon’s entry into HKJC records again.


1923, in each of the three principal days of the Annual Meeting, Mr Hector Sassoon’s ROMANS won six, to which the great ROMAN OAK did not contribute.


In the Turf world, the most famous Sassoon was Sir Victor, fabulous Shanghai magnate who raced so successfully in India and England. He was a frequent visitor to Hong Kong and was a partner with Mr Hector Sassoon in the “ROMAN” stable (ROMAN PRIDE, ROMAN OAK, and others).


Mrs Hector Sassoon also had a stable. The ROMANs included a couple of record-breakers.


1924, the Sassoon name had again dropped out.


1925, he purchased Woodditton Stud in Cambridgeshire not far from the Newmarket Racecourse.


He remamed it Eve Stud Ltd. as he was know to his intimates as ‘Eve’- a contraction of his first two names, Ellice Victor.


1927, came an invasion of “EVES”—-MISTY EVE, BRIGHT EVE, FESTIVE EVE, and others, all ridden at the Annual by Mr J. Pote Hunt of Shanghai, now of Hong Kong.


At the Extra Meetings they were ridden principally by Mr W. T. Stanton. Thereafter the Eve ponies were impressive performers at every Meeting.


1928, top of them all was BOXING EVE, a China pony griffin of the Year.


1938-03-16, a newspaper report stated that Sir Victor Sassoon had sold all his ponies to Mr Li Lan-sang (Mr Lan), with the exception of HAPPY EVE.


1939 “Mr Eve” raced again. The naming, however, was changed. With HAPPY EVE to EVE OF HARVEST, EVE OF HEAVEN and EVE OF SHYNESS.


1940, Mr Eve entered ten horses to the races.


1941, Mr Eve entered 14 horses to the races, which fell into the hands of the Japanese.


1951-02-24, Annual Meeting, a new trophy appeared in the race card. It has been recalling the early years of racing — the Sassoon Challenge Cup.


1953-06-06 Saturday, PINZA owned by Sir Victor Sassoon and trained by Norman Bertie at Newmarket, won the Epsom Derby, ridden by Sir Gordon Richards in a time of 2 minutes 35 seconds.





Besides the opium trade, the Sassoon family known as “The Leviathan Stable” were notable for being multi-generation race horses owners in the China Race.


Starting with David Sassoon who owned and jockeyed horses from the mid 1800′s, the legacy prolonged for nearly a century.


The racing reigns were taken over by his nephew Sir Victor Sassoon the Shanghai tycoon who carried on the family racing tradition in Shanghai from 1920′s to Hong Kong and England, with quite a flair.





M S Sassoon was listed in the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce Report 1904, among the list of Members 1905.

From the 1894-98 Jurors List, M. S. Sassoon & Co was located in Ice House Lane and Castle Road.


Victor Sassoon was a fan of Thoroughbred horse racing, he owned a highly successful stable of horses that won numerous prestigious races in the United Kingdom.


Eve Stud Ltd.has been owned by Darley Stud Management.


Darley is HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s global breeding operation which currently stands stallions in seven countries around the world.


Among his stables‘ significant performances were wins in the Epsom Derby, Epsom Oaks, 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas, St. Leger Stakes, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.


The Sassoon Road in Hong Kong is named in the honor of Victor Sassoon.





“SASSOON” Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.


SASSOON Family – Wikipedia


Sir Victor Sassoon






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