Whenever the name Hong Kong is mentioned it conjures up visions of one of the greatest financial trading centre’s of modern times, visions of one of the last bastions of the British Empire, yet beyond the history, the fast paced life, Hong Kong for many, represents one of the most competitive racing centre’s in the world today.
Ex Champion Jockey, Basil Marcus is quoted as saying “Racing in Hong Kong is more exciting than anywhere else in the world”, and when the opportunity arose for one of the management team to travel to accompany a royally bred son of leading international sire SADLER’S WELL’S, GRAND CENTRAL, back to South Africa, it was a mission that few in the management team would turn down.
I was treated as a guest of the Hong Kong Jockey Club at the comfortable Royal Park Hotel for the duration of my stay and was cordially invited to attend the races at Sha Tin over the Queen Elizabeth Memorial Cup day weekend. The afternoon was spent over lunch with a good friends and clients of Summerhill’s, Andrew and Winnie Yuen and a good day was had by all.
China on a race day comes alive! Horse racing is the favourite pastime of the Hong Kong population, with an average attendance at race meetings exceeding 45,000 on any given race day and the totalised wagers staked on a single day’s meeting can quite often be more than an entire year’s betting on many European and American race-tracks, never mind South Africa!
I was impressed with the facilities that Sha Tin offered, they are world class with both a dirt and turf surface, and an inner training track. The parade ring has an international reputation as being one of the finest in the world, with an all weather rubberised surface and roof to shield spectators and horses from the heat of the Sun.
GRAND CENTRAL is by leading international sire, Sadler’s Well’s and is a Stakes winning half brother to Miss Pinkerton (Danehill), out of the Coronation Stakes winner Rebecca Sharp (Machiavellian). He is owned by the Hong Kong Breeders Association who must be congratulated for supporting the breeding industry in South Africa. GRAND CENTRAL has more quality than the Sadler’s Well’s stock in general, with a good measure of depth, good legs and good bone, and we look forward to receiving him here in the Summerhill Stallion barn for the forthcoming 2007 breeding season.
Our thanks go to Kevin Connolly of CTB international and KLM Cargo for their professionalism and care in transporting GRAND CENTRAL to South Africa.
Article by Greig Muir - Summerhill Stud Stallion Manager