The Year of the Rabbit got off to a racing start for the Hong Kong Jockey Club as its Lunar New Year meeting pulled in HK$2.06 billion (US$255 million) in bets–the biggest daily take since the city’s return to Chinese rule in 1997, the South China Morning Post reported.
Punters wagered across the 11 races at Sha Tin on Tuesday and, although the take was beaten by a distance by the record HK$2.54 billion gambled in June 1997, it was a healthy 10.1% increase on last year’s event.
“We are absolutely delighted with today’s race meeting. The atmosphere was really fantastic and it brought back what we always felt–that Lunar New Year is a very special race meeting,” Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
Almost 80,000 people clicked through the Sha Tin turnstiles and the official crowd stood at 84,394–79,354 at Sha Tin and 5,040 watching from Happy Valley–the biggest turnout since the 2019 Lunar New Year races.
The Lunar New Year card drew a bigger crowd than the prestigious Longines Hong Kong International Races last month, with fans shoulder to shoulder in front of a packed grandstand after they flocked to see a pre-races performance by Cantopop star Joey Yung Cho-yee.