(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
This is a jockey.
(Source: Toon Pool)
Not all are short.
A jockey has spent many years as an apprentice learning to be a senior rider.
There are male and female jockeys.
Hong Kong does not have any female jockeys.
Australia has many as these female jockeys usually come from racing families or have been around horses from a very early age and make the decision to become jockeys as little girls.
A jockey has learnt all about horses- how to ride them and how to try and win on them in races.
A jockey has to constantly keep his weight down, follow a very strict diet and spends hours in the sauna to rid themselves of any extra pounds.
A jockey has to also be extremely fit.
If in a fight, we’d prefer a jockey on our side than a sumo wrestler.
Horse racing is one of the most dangerous sports in the world where jockeys have to ride thousand pound horses in a race where other jockeys are doing the same.
(Source: British Champions Series)
They not only need to look after their own rides, but also, watch and think what the other jockeys are doing and thinking about doing.
Think about it like a Formula 1 race- but jockeys instead of drivers riding horses running extremely fast.
Jockeys receive riding instructions before a race from the trainer and in front of connections of the race. But you know what they say about the best laid plans.
(Source: Jane London)
Jockeys rides are watched by Stewards- the umpires and referees of horse racing.
If they believe a jockey has ridden carelessly or ridden a horse in a dodgy manner, they face the wrath of the Stewards and can be fined and suspended.
The booing of jockeys is not encouraged but if in the heat of the moment you are overcome with disappointment, a low rumbling of the Cantonese word “Diu” is allowed.
(Source: Chapel Of Hope Stories)
For added effect, extending this versatile word to “ah- diiiiiiuuuuuu”‘is suggested.
(Source: Photo Bucket)
The leading jockeys in Hong Kong are Douglas Whyte, Zac Purton and Matthew Chadwick with jockeys and trainers coming from Australia, South Africa, France, Europe, the UK and, of course, Hong Kong.
South African-born Douglas Whyte has been Champion Hong Kong Jockey for thirteen CONSECUTIVE years.
How? Why? Depends on who you ask. We say it comes down to focus and utter professionalism. Even Douglas has been on the receiving end of The Diu Factor. No one is safe from The Diu Factor.
The leading trainers are Dennis Yip who won the Trainers Championship last season, Tony Cruz, John Size, John Moore, Caspar Fownes and Richard Gibson.
Trainers book jockeys for their rides after consulting the owners of horses.
These jockey bookings are based on the relationship between trainer and jockey like the “bromances” of Douglas Whyte and Zac Purton and Dennis Yip, pictured below, the success of the jockey on the horse, the talent of the rider and their availability.
The leading jockeys have a choice of rides and picks the ones they feel have the best chances of winning.
Why ride a horse with no chance of winning???
(Source: JRV 773)
The horse owners pay for the training fees, pay for the upkeep of their horses and have paid for the purchase of their horses.
(Source: Progressive Charles Town)
They also pay for lunches and dinners with trainers and jockeys to listen to the chances of their horses.
If their horses have no chance, these get-togethers are kept very short and the owner goes home, bangs their head on the wall and usually switches their horse to another stable.
(Source: Fearless Formula Feeder)
The return on these investments happen when their horse or horses win a race and where they receive the major winning percentage of the prize money. Oh, and having a bet on their horses.
(Source: Bad Guy Marketing)
The more important the race, the greater the prize money.
Some owners have horses that never win a race, but still keep living in hope. We call them birdie dumb dumbs.
(Source: Raw Multimedia)
Horses participate in races based on race distances which suit their breeding and past successes whereas some horses perform best at Happy Valley and are complete duds at Shatin.
There are horses that are out-and-out stayers, others that are proven sprinters while others are good over a mile.
Sprinters tackle the sprint distances which are over 1000 meters and 1200 meters.
It’s horses for courses and horses are entered for races to which they are best suited.
If not, it would be like Usain Bolt running in a marathon- and coming in five days after the rest of the runners. Or just giving up and saying, Sod this!
(Source: Washington Post)
(Source: Sina HK)
There are usually an average of eight races at every race meeting.
Being a smaller and tighter racecourse, Happy Valley Racecourse can only accommodate 12 horses per race.
Shatin, which is a much bigger race track, can have up to fourteen horses per race.
Different horses run in each race.
Some think the same horses run in every race. Uh uh.
HOW TO ENJOY THE RACES
Meet different people, especially at Happy Valley Racecourse’s Happy Wednesday Nights.
There is an international buffet to choose from and only a right knob will feel lonely on one of these nights.
Learn what is what when it comes to the races and have a flutter.
A flutter has nothing to do with birds. A flutter is racing parlance for a small wager.
THE JOCKEY CHALLENGE
Pick a jockey to win the Jockey Challenge.
This could be your favorite jockey or the leading jockey in Hong Kong or based on the odds given for a jockey to win the Challenge.
The Jockey Challenge is based on how many points a jockey accumulates during the course of any race meeting.
Pick a horse in any race and which MUST win. The minimum bet is $10- $10 to win and $10 to place.
When it wins, you win whatever it’s paying for a win which are called odds plus a little extra for it running a place.
A place is running into the top three.
You can place a bet on a horse to only run a place.
(Source: Toon Pool)
This costs $10 a ticket and is when your choices MUST come first and second in ANY order.
(Source: Horse Report)
You can pick three horses if you like and need ANY two of these to come first and second.
This will cost you $30.
NOTE: The more the choices, the more the outlay.
This bet also costs $10 and is when any of the TWO horses picked MUST be in the first three.
Many seasoned race-goers pick 3-4 races and place Quinella Place roll-ups.
A roll-up is like the name suggests- rolling the winnings of one race onto the next and can return good dividends.
WINNING AT THE RACES
Don’t get confused with tips.
Save the tips for the bartender.
Make your own choices with your friends.
If you have to listen to anyone, listen to Paddock Parade Expert Jenny Chapman and the horses she thinks are fit.
Our tip: Only bet what you are prepared to lose.