Small Horse; Large Heart


The Horse of the Years in early Hongkong racing, however, was a Manila pony from Macao, TETOY.





1843-02-20 Macao, the usual annual meeting was held throughout the week.
The horses entered included 15 Arabs, and of course there were the Manila ponies.
Interspersed in the programme were the races for Manila ponies, ‘this small fry’, as the Canton Press correspondent loftily described them.
“Admittedly starting them was difficult. The Manila pony — black, dun and chestnut mainly, used as a farm animal from one end of the Philippine Islands to the other
— is ideal for a sedate ride, wonderfully patient as a draught animal.
But once given his rein becomes excited, and is not an easy animal to ride in a flat race.”
The disdain of the uninitiated for this type of horse was singularly misplaced on this occasion.





It was at this Macao race-meeting that the first hero of the China races made his appearance,
a small pony, 13.1-1/2 hands. or stood only 12 hands 1-1/2 inches, as recorded in two different research sources.
A Manila pony small even by the standards of his breed, named TETOY
TETOY — the actual word in Philippines language of Tagalog is TOTOY, meaning ‘little chap’
Little TETOY, whose remarkable record was outstanding even before HKJC was found.
If ever there were to be a Golden Record of the great horses of the China races, the name of TETOY would head the list.
He is described later on in his career as:
‘having afforded the community a good deal of amusement from first to last’,
It is to be suspected that he was one of those ponies given to antics when they win; and win he usually did.





TETOY was brought from Manila for the Macao races by Adam Scott.
Adam was a merchant whose elder brother and partner owned one of the original lots on Queen’s Road Central.
By that time, the alley connecting with the waterfront beside their office being known as Scott’s Lane.
TETOY entered the races later that year in Hong Kong.


TETOY won 4 races against 27 ponies.
1846-12-17 and 18 Annual Meeting Event was to be a two-day picnic, but no detail report of it exists, except he won a few trophies.


TETOY won the Valley Stakes and the Victoria Plate, both of which he had won the year before, against 13 ponies.
He ran for the Ladies’ Purse with a handicap weight of 14 stones 3 pounds, and was beaten, but only at the post, by BEAUTY, a pony who was not handicapped and carried only 91 stones.
TETOY thereafter won the Valley Stakes three more years in succession (1847-8-9-50) — and this in spite of a cummulative penalty of 7 lbs. for each win.


TETOY won the Valley Stakes for the third time in succession, each time carrying 7 pounds more, against 8 ponies.
He lost the Victoria Plate and the Ladies’ Purse to CHARLIE, a pony of 13 hands 2 inches, who was allowed an advantage of 14 pounds in both races.
1848-02-12 “TETOY, as usual, beat everything of the pony size.” – written by – Friend of China.
1848-03-01 《Singapore Straits Times》shown the above news.


TETOY won the Valley Stakes for the fourth time in succession, and the Victoria Plate for the third time.
He did not enter for the Ladies’ Purse, a 9-stone race, since he was handicapped at 12 stones, and it had become ridiculous.


Annual Meeting races came off on the 4th, 5th, and 6th February, having been postponed.
Mr Wilkinson Dent had the mount on Mr A. Scott’s great little pony TETOY.
1850-02-04 The Valley Stakes, for 25 dollars, for ponies, were won by TETOY, beating PRINCE and CREDITOR.
1850-02-05 The Victoria Plate, value 50 dollars, for all ponies, was won by TETOY, beating CRUISKEEN.


TETOY, with rider Mr W. Dent and owner Mr A. Scott, won the Ladies’ Purse, on the distance of once round, as shown in HKJC record book.


The Annual Meeting welcomed several newcomers of Stakes races.
A trophy of interest was the TETOY Plate, for ponies, commemorating the phenomenal pony.
TETOY was more modestly commemorated at last.





Whether horse or pony, it is a rare animal who can come up to this. TETOY was a marvel.
His racing days were over, but as was said that year, and truly,
‘If he should die in his owner’s hands, and a monument be voted to him, its appropriate site would be somewhere near the winning-post.’
He did not have a monument.
When one considers that the Governor of Hongkong in those days had to ask permission of the Secretary of State before erecting a flagstaff,
had he asked permission to erect a monument to a horse, it needs no stretch of the imagination to realize what would have happened next.


All that we have of the 1847 Annual Meeting is Sir Henry May’s note.
The future governor made a description of TETOY as a remarkable little animal.





TETOY Plate, the mark of a veritable champion, the first to be so named in the Hongkong races.
1984-12-05 TETOY HANDICAP was won by WINNING SMILE (AT029) jockey W Burnett, trainer C Robertson








Acknowledgement to HKJC Racing Registry for offering record data.





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