OUR MEMORIES
SKYMASTER O049


 

 

Aerial to Patrol; Magister in Control

 

Skymaster was the name of several aircraft such a:

Cessna Skymaster 1961, Cessna O-2 Skymaster 1967, Skymaster Airlines 1995 etc.

Douglas C-54 Skymaster 1942,was the only one matching the racing era of the horse SKYMASTER.

Owner Mr Airview Wong Bo-yin named the horse after the top class airplane in the Kai Tak Airport.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1946

August, the first shipment of 35 Australian runners arrived Hong Kong and later with more to come.

 

1947

January, no more entry of China ponies thereafter, their era were gone.

1947-01-13 the first post-War Annual Race Meeting was held by HKJC.

Races for Australian Ponies, Griffins and Subscription Ponies of HKJC of any season were very popular.

 

SKYMASTER was numbered as (JC/O49), of which the former initial representing Jockey Club.

‘ O ‘representing the year of 1949.

‘49’ representing the number of the horse.

Through out all SKYMASTER‘s racing career, Lin Yun-foo was the trainer.

However, there was a finding of Shiu Po-yee saddled 1 win for SKYMASTER in the HKJC trainer Record of 1952 (January to June), page 340.

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

Date R-in. Card Class Dist. Field Jockey Odd Time Race
1949-01-15 9 R9 Aus Sub 2012 6 Tao 2 2.16.4 Griffin
1949-02-26 63 R4 Aus Sub 1609 8 Tao 1.4 1.46.0 Maiden Handicap
1949-03-12 73 R5 Aus Sub 1609 8 Tao 1.3 1.43.6 Maiden Handicap
1949-04-16 95 R7 Open 2012 3 Tao 1.7 2.12.4 Sassoon Challenge Cup
1949-06-04 137 R5 1 2012 7 Tao 1.3 2.13.2 Whitsun Shield
1949-11-05 201 R5 Aus Sub 2816 5 Tao 1.3 3.11.2 HK St. Leger
1950-01-14 6 R6 1A 1609 12 Tao 2.7 1.44.4 Class 1 A Handicap
1950-04-10 108 R6 Open 2012 5 Tao 2.6 2.11.8 Sassoon Challenge Cup
1950-05-27 139 R4 1A 1766 10 Tao 2 1.53.0 Class 1 A Handicap
1950-12-16 239 R6 Open 2012 4 Tao 1.7 2.10.6 Autumn Champions
1951-03-24 73 R9 Open 2012 4 Tao 1.6 2.21.8 Sassoon Challenge Cup
1951-06-02 146 R5 Open 2012 6 Tao 1.6 2.24.4 Champion Stakes
1951-10-08 180 R8 Open 1609 13 Tao 1.4 1.46.8 Autumn Plate
1952-03-08 58 R6 1A 1609 11 Chun Kit 1.9 1.45.2 Class 1 A Handicap
1952-04-12 103 R6 1A 2012 6 Chun Kit 1.1 2.17.2 Sassoon Challenge Cup
1952-11-10 66 R5 1 1207 4 Renfrew 1.6 1.16.4 Class 1 Handicap
1953-01-17 120 R6 1 1609 5 Renfrew 2.5 1.44.4 Chinese Club Cup
1953-03-07 165 R3 1 960 7 Renfrew 2.4 1.3.4 Class 1 Custom Path Hdic.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

1949

January, racing had been resumed as before with 340 runners.

SKYMASTER was one of the renowned.

 

1949-01-15 9 R9 Aus Sub 2012 6 Tao 2 2.16.4 Griffin

The Maiden Trial scrion 2 in the Annual Race Meeting was the inaugural victory of SKYMASTER, 1-1/4 miles.

A fileld of six, Tao was the rider carrying the set weight of 147lbs.

Due to the impressive form in track-work, he was the hot favorite with 11 thousand tickets in spite of the overweight.

SKYMASTER came in in gallant style, the others were nowhere. 2:16.

 

1949-01-18, The 72nd Derby, was won by GOLDEN DAHLIA, rider, W K Shieh, 1-1/2 miles.

SKYMASTER was among a field of six, with 3 lbs overweight, carrying 150 lbs.

He was far back behind after a fall-out at the Hospital Bend. unplaced in the result.

 

1949-01-22, SKYMASTER was withdrawn, BEN WYVIS won the Pearce Cup.

 

1949-02-26 63 R4 Aus Sub 1609 8 Tao 1.4 1.46.0 New Market Maiden Handicap

《TaiKung Po1949-02-27》 reported that Tao successfully on LOVELYLADY landed the Race 5 Melbourne Cup before another trophy of New Market Handicap on SKYMASTER.

The latter had a field of eight, won by many lengths, 1:46, $7.40.

 

1949-03-12 73 R5 Aus Sub 1609 8 Tao 1.3 1.43.6 Maiden Handicap

For a tough battle specially for the elite griffins, HKJC increased the prize money to HK$2500 ($500 more than unsual).

Carrying 159 lbs, SKYMASTER won as hot favorite defeating ARABIAN SABER ridden by Pote-Hunt by one length, dividend $6.90.

 

1949-04-16 95 R7 Open 2012 3 Tao 1.7 2.12.4 Sassoon Challenge Cup

Race 7, Open for a field of three, SKYMASTER defeating NORSE QUEEN by six lengths.

Paying $8.70 for Winner and $8.30 for Place.

That was the previous system of which HKJC later limited to only betting on Winner with no Place odds in a three-horse race.

 

1949-06-04 137 R5 1 2012 7 Tao 1.3 2.13.2 Whitsun Shield

Day two of the last meeting before the season ended, which were usually held till the 10th of June in that era.

SKYMASTER in Class 1 won the 1-1/4 miles carrying 159 lbs.

 

Ending the season of the 1949 first half, SKYMASTER scored 5 in 6 runs, only unplaced in the Derby.

 

1949-11-05 201 R5 Aus Sub 2816 5 Tao 1.3 3.11.2 HK St. Leger

The season started again with the 7th meeting of that year.

In the 9th meeting, SKYMASTER landed the St. Leger of 1-3/4miles, with 152 lbs overweight 2 lbs for Tao.

Punters knew his previous defeat was due to the yielding and overweight; so they backed him again on a firm going.

He got half of the tickets among a field of five.

SKYMASTER with great performance defeated EGYPTIAN MARKET in nowhere, though only paid $8.80.

 

The griffin of the year was Mr Airview’s SKYMASTER (14.3), which in nine starts had six wins and a second.

Prizing money was comparatively low in that era, yet collecting $17,000 for owner Mr Wong Po-yin.

 

 

1950

Some of the Class 1 horses were so fast compared to those inferior, A and B groups were divided for differentiation.

 

1950-01-14 6 R6 1A 1609 12 Tao 2.7 1.44.4 Class 1 A Handicap

SKYMASTER, definitely was grouped to A, and won.

 

1950-04-10 108 R6 Open 2012 5 Tao 2.6 2.11.8 Sassoon Challenge Cup

Two and a half months were pasted after SKYMASTER‘s previous defeat.

He reverted to his top form and beat BASHFUL BEAUTY by1-1/2 length.

But as a field of five only, SKYMASTER‘s winner was $13.20, odds for a hot favorite.

 

1950-05-27 139 R4 1A 1766 10 Tao 2 1.53.0 Class 1 A Handicap

One and a half month after his revival, SKYMASTER won again, 1 mile 171 yd with 159 lbs, same as BASHFUL BEAUTY.

But the 6000 tickets were double the latter, proving the confidence by his supporters.

SKYMASTER won by 1.53, equalized the record, $10 for win.

1950-05-28《Wah Kiu Yat Po》marked the Race 4 Whitsun Handicap with an easy and swift victory by Tao.

 

1950-12-16 239 R6 Open 2012 4 Tao 1.7 2.10.6 Autumn Champions

It was the second attempt for this trophy, going firm, a field of four, set weight of 150 lbs.

Distance 1-1/4 miles, SKYMASTER won, BASHFUL BEAUTY was nowhere. equalizing the record in 2.10.3.

 

It was significant of the improvement of racing standards that record-breaking had become infrequent, and the improvements were mostly small fractions.

 

 

1951

SKYMASTER met his rival in this year!

 

1951-03-24 73 R9 Open 2012 4 Tao 1.6 2.21.8 Sassoon Challenge Cup

The relatively new trophy appeared in the programme, recalling the early years of racing — the Sassoon Challenge Cup, presented by that horse-loving family.

It was taken by the redoubtable SKYMASTER.

It is of interest to note that this and the Champions (with Chater Cup) are the only two “open” events in the programmes.

SKYMASTER, 147 lbs, no overweight due to the fasting of Tao before the race.

Amazingly he adapted well in yield going, with a fierce battle beating PANDA (Liu) by 1 length.

 

1951-06-02 146 R5 Open 2012 6 Tao 1.6 2.24.4 Champion Stakes

The Champions was run late.

It was won by SKYMASTER, with CLONFECKLE second.

LONDON 17 did not start, but went out in the next race, the Griffins Champions.

 

1951-10-08 180 R8 Open 1609 13 Tao 1.4 1.46.8 Autumn Plate

One mile, going soft with 159 lbs, SKYMASTER defeated griffin FIREFLY (Mitland, 155lbs) by 3 length.

 

SKYMASTER still won 3 races for his first 3 runs.

 

 

1952

The Annual Meeting was held in the last week of March, the Derby being the feature again of the Whitsun Meeting.

The Champions provided a good race. FIREFLY (Mr Ostroumoff) beat SKYMASTER by a neck in a record 2.09.2.

 

1952-03-08 58 R6 1A 1609 11 Chun Kit 1.9 1.45.2 Class 1 A Handicap

With a few on and off races, the owner and jockey had disagreement that a new rider was saddled and won.

 

1952-04-12 103 R6 1A 2012 6 Chun Kit 1.1 2.17.2 Sassoon Challenge Cup

1952-04-13《Wah Kiu Yat Po》wrote that SKYMASTER beat Pote-Hunt’s FlRE-GLO by a short head shown in the photo finish.

 

October, SKYMASTER still in Class 1, Chiu K F 159 lbs, was defeated by Pote-Hunt’s FIREFLY in a mile.

In the 4th place, not even the third, the hot favorite disappointed the punters.

Subsequently with HK$50,000, Mr Wong sold SKYMASTER to Mr Chan, president of Ga Jeung Jong Bank and Mr Tai.

 

1952-11-10 66 R5 1 1207 4 Renfrew 1.6 1.16.4 Class 1 Handicap

Renfrew, who was a popular jockey, took the reins, for a race of 6 Furlong, 156 lbs.

FIREFLY did not enter, so SKYMASTER won by 3 lengths easily, 1.16.2.

 

 

1953

1953-01-17 120 R6 1 1609 5 Renfrew 2.5 1.44.4 Chinese Club Cup

Annual Race Meeting usually held the Chinese Club Cup, for class 1, on the first day.

1 mile, instead of the 1 mile171 yd later, with only a field of five.

Pote-Hunt’s FlRE-GLO was the hottest, 152 lbs backed with 19335 tickets.

Renfrew, on SKYMASTER again, the second favorite, 149 lbs backed with 16792 tickets.

Finally, he defeated FlRE-GLO by 2-1/2 length, going firm 1.44.2

 

1953-03-07 165 R3 1 960 7 Renfrew 2.4 1.3.4 Class 1 Custom Path Handicap

SKYMASTER, again was raced by the later of the season, 159 lbs.

Going Yield, won the shortest distance of half a mile and 170 yd.

The hot favorite defeated the runners-up, Samarcq‘s mount by just a neck.

It was SKYMASTER‘s final victory.

1953-03-08 final victory of SKYMASTER《Wah Kiu Yat Po》wrote that good dividends were bet on the rainy day.

 

SKYMASTER, 9 years old, could not run any more.

There was a saying that he injured his limbs in the track-work preparing for the Coronation Cup.

With incurable relapses in Fanling, SKYMASTER was executed under the endorsement by Dr Robertson.

1953-11-17《Wah Kiu Yat Po》, SKYMASTER was put down in that afternoon.

 

 

SUMMARY

 

SKYMASTER had 4 more winners than NORSE QUEEN.

He had a brilliant career from 1949-1953. 18-4-1 in 27 runs.

He landed the Sassoon Cup 4 years in a roll, with also many other trophies.

His total sum of Prize Money was HK$62250.

The prize money at that era should be many many time less than those of nowadays.

SKYMASTER should be entitled as the first King of the Horse after WWII.

 

 

REFERENCE

 

HKJC gave its first batch of horse a initial of M in 1847. N for 1948, so O is for 1949.

HKJC did not use A or B for the new-comers of 1941, may due to using L.

Racing had been resumed in 1947, then M was used.

 

By that time, griffins could be assigned to any class.

SKYMASTER with outstanding performance, obviously was in Class 1 and kept winning easily.

 

Due to the weight of Tao, always he carried 4 lb extra, to 159 top weight.

 

HKJC, before WWII, had an un-official provision that if any horse could win in all distance five times in a roll, carrying the top weight constantly;

such winners could still be raced but not available in betting.

 

 

RELATED LINK

 

Photo Gallery
Video Showcase

LIBERTY BAY – 《RacingMemories.HK》

LONDON 17 (R003) FIREFLY – 《RacingMemories.HK》

 

 

Acknowledgement to HKJC Racing Registry for offering record data.

 

Acknowledgement to Mr Peter Yuen & Mr Roy So for further information.

 

 

 


 

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