Chinese New Year Raceday at Sha Tin today has generated the highest level of betting turnover since 1997, with over 80,000 punters in attendance contributing to a total of HK$2,060 million (approx. £214m).
With an overall attendance of 84,394, the highest since COVID restrictions began in 2020, turnover was notably up on the £176.2m bet at the corresponding Chinese New Year fixture in 2022.
Three-time British Flat champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa was in the limelight again, recording a double on the day and taking out the feature race, the Class 1 Chinese New Year Cup aboard MR ASCENDENCY, while there were also doubles for Aussie rider Hugh Bowman and the ‘Mauritian Magician’ Karis Teetan.
De Sousa, who is third in the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship with 32 wins so far this term, said: “He’s a nice horse with a nice handicap, all the credit to the horse. He’s come out and won, pushing the horses with the top weight. He’s an improving horse, he’s still got a bit to learn. I do like the horse and I think later on, we’ll see the best of him.”
John Size snared another piece of Hong Kong history with his 1,100th win at Sha Tin when Zac Purton teamed with BABY CRYSTAL to post the first victory of the Year of the Rabbit in the second section of the Class 4 Kung Hei Handicap (1200m). With 1,443 wins overall, Size trails only John Moore (1,735 wins) on the list of all-time winners in Hong Kong.
Next up is a huge Group 1 tussle between California Spangle, Romantic Warrior and Golden Sixty in Sunday’s Stewards’ Cup over a mile (1600m).