Way to Win, Fan to Fun
1864, Thomas Sutherland wanted a bank operating on “sound Scottish banking principles”, initially leased its premises at Wardley House for HK$500 a month.
1865-03-03, the founders, organised amongst themselves and formed The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank in Hong Kong.
1865-04-03, it opened a branch in Shanghai during April of that year, and started issuing locally denominated banknotes.
1881, its Chinese name was renamed to “Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation” , Zeng Guofan’s son, Zeng Jize wrote two Chinese characters ” Wayfoong 匯豐” on the banknote issued.
It is said that the Chinese comprador Gu Yingchun assessed the strokes of the Chinese characters ” Wayfoong ” by the way of fortune telling, which means “abundant remittances” was adopted after suggestion.
Besides the Jardines, the other important merchant family, the Dents, were also associated from the very beginning with Hong Kong racing.
They were among the prime movers in the establishment of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank.
Francis Chomley was another frequent winner and later appeared as an owner.
He was a member of the Dent firm, and one of the organisers of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation in 1864.
Almost continuously throughout the history of Hong Kong racing there has been a Wayfoong officials among the Stewards or even Chairmen of HKJC.
1884-11-04, at the formation of the Jockey Club, the 34 gentlemen present at the City Hall meeting included all the members of the old Racing Committee.
Some of them were from the Bank:
Mr Thomas Jackson, head of the HSBC and a Member of Legislative Council, whose fine statue dignifies Statue Square to this day.
Mr G. E. Noble’s signature appears on some of the Colony’s early banknotes when he was Chief Accountant of the Bank.
Mr W. H. F. Darby was another Director of the Bank.
Mr W. H. Forbes was a member of the Court of Directors of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank and its Chairman in 1890.
HSBC taipans appeared among the owners in a period of which no record remains.
Their stable has always borne the Bank’s Chinese name (WayFoong) and used the Bank’s colours (Red with white hoops), in persistence.
The first trace of records was only as ‘entering one pony in 1904.
Their first trace of it was as entering one China pony, PERSISTENCE, in 1904.
1904-02-23_03, Mr Black mounted PERSISTENCE, owner Wayfoong, placed 12th in the field of 20, 3/4 mile at the Valley Stakes.
However, in the early years, Mr Wayfoong’s results were never very spectacular.
Another important decision of the period (1924) was to provide for two categories of members of HKJC, Voting Member and Non Voting Member (Ordinary Member).
The Hon. Mr A. G. Stephen (Chief Manager of HSBC) preferred Mr Marshall’s plan, which, he said, followed the example of most of the clubs in the East, India and elsewhere.
Of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank’s Chairmen, so far as can be traced the most accomplished racing man was Mr Mackie.
Mackie C G S Esq JP 1929-1935, he served as the Chairman of HKJC.
Max Haymes, a retired member of the Bank staff, trained the Bank ponies at Happy Valley in that period.
‘Peanut’ Marshall rode a magnificent race to win the 1939 Spring Champions on Mrs Jack Liddell‘s RAIN in the presence of a huge crowd.
It was one of the most thrilling races of the season, defeating Mr A.S. Henchman’s griffin HINDHEAD.
The large crowd that packed the stands to capacity cheered wildly while the two ponies fought out a close finish which started the moment they entered the straight.
The races performed by Wayfoong were spectacular, as there was no other word for it, but those were mostly in Shanghai.
HINDHEAD and WAYWORTH were Mr A.S. Henchman’s famous ponies.
WAYWORTH, if not saved by the wisdom and bravery of the mafoos, even might induce potentially one of the most dangerous incidents ever witnessed at Happy Valley.
A few time-honoured aliases still survived — notably Wayfoong (the Hong Kong Bank Mess).
Another good Wayfoong pony of earlier years was FENCHURCH which in 1954 took the Chater Cup and in 1957 the Sports Club Cup, 3 furlongs 65 yards.
To reduce the queues HKJC obtained the permission of the HSBC to sell Sweep tickets at booths in the Bank’s branches; and there were 19 selling depots.
1961-05-06, the 84th Derby with historical importance bestowed upon it when it was won by Wayfoong’s WALBROOK (Mr Tsai).
The trainer was N Metrevelli from Russia, the distance was about 1 mile 3 furlongs 65 yards.
So far as can be traced, this was the first Derby ever won by the Hong Kong Bank Mess stable.
The stable took the Derby with WALBROOK, apparently its first Blue Riband!
The team also took the Sassoon Cup.
Wayfoong Syndicate owners have used a variety of nearly 50 names to reflect their racing culture.
Racing name of Mr Wayfoong’s results were never very spectacular, but in persistence, until the final phase before professional racing in Hongkong.
1981, Peter Williams was succeeded as head of the Jockey Club by Michael Sandberg, Chairman of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.
This was another time a head of ‘The Bank’ had been elected to this position.
It is pleasant to be able to record that their syndicate horses have done well.
Adding to over 80 Wayfoong Syndicate winners, they should have many many more winners to come.
Many HKJC Chairmen and Stewards were HSBC Chairmen and Directors, some of them are:
Sir Thomas Jackson
Mackie C G S
Sir Arthur Morse
Sir John Saunders
P G Williams
Baron Michael A. R. Sandberg
Sir William Purves
Mr. David Gordon Eldon, GBS, CBE, JP
Mrs Margaret Leung SBS JP
Dr Rosanna Wong Yick Ming DBE JP
960 meters = 1/2 mile 170 yards; 1207 meters = 6 Furlong; 1609 meters = 1 mile; 1766 meters = 1 mile 171 yards; 2012 meters = 1-1/4miles; 2816 meters = 1-3/4 miles.
Acknowledgment to Mr Lacuda Mengnah; Mr Peter Yuen; and Mr Donald Tsai; HKJC Archives; Hong Kong Racing Museum for relevant content.