Hong Kong 2003
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Hong Kong Jockey Club

The Hong Kong Jockey Club enjoyed another good year in racing, and for the 13th successive year donated more than $1 billion to charity organisations and community projects, testimony to the strength of its non-for-profit model, 'Racing for Charity'.

Hong Kong horses dominated the year's international races in December with two winners in the four international events. Silent Witness triumphed in the Hong Kong Sprint and Lucky Owners won the Hong Kong Mile. Both horses were trained by Tony Cruz, a former multiple champion jockey in Hong Kong, and ridden by South African jockey Felix Coetzee.

During the year, Hong Kong was elected chairman of the Asian Racing Federation, in which it leads the action against illegal gambling as well as off-shore betting operators with the promotion of the 'Good Neighbour Policy'. Hong Kong is also vice chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.

The club continues to enhance its wide range of racecourse facilities. Construction has begun on a new Sha Tin paddock with a retractable roof, and a huge Diamond Vision Screen is now in use at Sha Tin. The Guinness Book of World Records cited this as the world's largest outdoor television screen. In addition, the club is advancing rapidly with a programme called STRIDE (for Sectional Timing Racing Information Dynamic Entertainment), which utilises technology similar to global positioning satellite technology to continuously track horses in a race.

To assist the Government in combating illegal gambling, football betting under a club subsidiary began on August 1. The Legislative Council passed the necessary amendments to the Betting Duty Ordinance on July 10 to allow this development.

Despite a drop in turnover in its financial year ended in June, the club donated $1,012 million to 126 charitable and community projects.

When SARS struck Hong Kong early in the year, the club donated $100 million to help schools provide a clean environment for their students and teachers, by undergoing thorough cleansing, when classes resumed after the outbreak waned. The club also made a supplementary grant of $25 million to help non-profit kindergartens and non-governmental organisations operating day and home-based social service units maintain cleaner environments to help stop the spread of the disease.

Besides this, the club also allocated $500 million towards the establishment of a Centre for Health Protection to strengthen the public health infrastructure in Hong Kong.

The betting duty paid by the club amounted to 11.7 per cent of the total revenue collected by the Inland Revenue Department in the 2002-03 fiscal year. The betting duty comprised $9,726 million in horse racing and $1,195 million in Mark Six lotteries.

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