Sha Tin Racecourse
The Sha Tin Racecourse is a horse racing stadium in Sha Tin in the New Territories.
Horse racing was brought to Hong Kong by the British in the 1840s. The influence of horse racing from the British quickly made the event popular among the Chinese people. The sport became so popular that a second racecourse was built in Sha Tin in 1978 to help lower the number of races taking place in the Happy Valley Racecourse. Today horse racing is a favourite pastime among Hong Kong people.
The Sha Tin Racecourse is the biggest horse racing racecourse in Hong Kong. This is where the biggest horse races in Hong Kong are held. It also has one of the biggest TV screens in the world on display just behind the finish line.
The main horse racing stadium in Hong Kong is called the Happy Valley Racecourse. It’s found on Hong Kong Island in Happy Valley.
Entrance into the Sha Tin Racecourse costs $10 HKD (approx $1.25-$1.50 USD). Once you’re inside, walk towards the racecourse where the races are going to take place. Someone who works there can direct you as to where you want to go. Along the way you may see some booths or shops selling merchandise. Some of these items include a horse stuffed animal, t-shirts, tote bags, and notebooks. It’s a great way to remember your time spent here.
As you walk closer to the racetrack, try to find a TV displaying what’s happening live at the stadium. Take a glance at the screens as you walk and you’ll be up to speed on what’s happening before you get to the racetrack.
Before the race starts, all the jockeys walk into a separate arena with their horse so that everyone can see the horses and the jockeys before the race starts. This is an important part of the race because people need to see the contestants before they decide who they think will win the race. You can get a close up view of the horses and jockeys in here.
When you get to the racetrack you’ll see tons of people holding papers with information about all the contestants in the race of that day. Most people buy a newspaper to get this information ahead of time. You can also purchase a racing program at the racecourse. There will most likely be a big line of people in front of the booths where you can place bets on which horse you think will win the race. The minimum bet is $10 HKD.
Note that anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed to bet or enter an establishment where bets are accepted. Many hotels in Hong Kong offer babysitting services. Take advantage of this service so you can visit the Sha Tin Racecourse with only people over the age of 18.
If you’ve never done this before, it’s probably best to watch the first race and get an idea of how things go. Step outside onto the bleachers and wait for the first race to begin. Watching a race here is more exciting than seeing it on TV. You can feel the energy in the crowd as the horses race out of the gate and go around the track. The crowd is full of people cheering. It gets progressively louder and louder the closer the horses get to the finish line. And now that the race is over, you’ve just experienced your first horse race in Hong Kong.
Now it’s time to do some
betting yourself. There are all kinds of ways to place your bets. When I was there I placed bets on which horse I thought would win or place in the top 3. I also bet on which horses I thought would place 1st, 2nd and 3rd. When you have money riding on a race, it becomes much more exciting to see the winner. I found myself cheering and carrying on just like everyone else in the bleachers. It was a lot of fun.
My wife (fiancée at the time) was really good at picking horses. She picked the winning horses quite a few times. On the last race of the day we picked 3 horses that we thought would place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The 3 horses that we picked ended up placing 1st, 2nd, and 4th. We were so close to getting a really big winning. In the end, when we left the racecourse at the end of the day, we had won more money than we had bet. The best outcome you could hope for.
A lot of people tend to smoke on the bleachers since they’re outside. If you don’t like cigarette smoke, I’d suggest getting a seat closer to the bottom of the bleachers. Cigarette smoke will have a lower chance of being blown into your face if you’re sitting/standing at a lower spot on the grand stand and in front of these people.
You may end up spending most of your day at the Sha Tin Racecourse and you may get hungry. There are concession stands and restaurants inside and the prices are quite reasonable.
While walking down the streets of Hong Kong you may see a small Hong Kong Jockey Club kiosk in a building with lots of people gathered around a TV. These people are watching the races and placing bets on who they think will win. Even if some people can’t get to the stadium for race day, they will find one of these horse racing shops and join in on the fun without having to be at the stadium.
There is a special MTR station called the Racecourse MTR Station that goes to the Sha Tin Racecourse. The Racecourse MTR Station is only open on race days. If you get on the wrong MTR, you can always get off at the Fo Tan Station and take a taxi the rest of the way. Or you could get off at either University Station or Sha Tin Station and wait for another MTR that’s going to the Racecourse Station.
Nearby attractions include the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Che Kung Miu Temple, and Sha Tin Park. You can also find lots of shopping at the New Town Plaza shopping mall. Snoopy’s World, an outdoor playground with Peanuts characters, can be found inside the New Town Plaza.