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
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
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.