A new era of world-class racing in the Greater Bay Area
So Wing-lung: “It feels like back to nature every time I am at Conghua Racecourse.”
As a Senior Travelling Groom with The Hong Kong Jockey Club, So Wing-lung travels back and forth between Hong Kong and the Mainland with racehorses. Twice a week he accompanies Hong Kong horses from Sha Tin Racecourse to Conghua Racecourse for training or rest. “It feels like back to nature every time I am at Conghua Racecourse. I am surrounded by green hills and fields,” says Wing-lung. “Horses always get excited the moment they step off the horse float. They run with a spring in their step. I have been caring for horses for years, I know how they feel.”
With the support of the Central Government, and Guangdong and Hong Kong SAR authorities, The Hong Kong Jockey Club was able to transform the equestrian venue of the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games into Conghua Racecourse. Besides a world-class veterinary hospital, landmark training facilities at Conghua Racecourse include the first uphill gallop in the Mainland and Hong Kong, an equine swimming pool and a number of spelling paddocks.
Conghua Racecourse has already witnessed a number of historic milestones since its opening in 2018. As the first equine disease-free zone in the Mainland, it enables a multi-entry permit system which allows horses multiple entries into Hong Kong and Guangzhou. The exhibition raceday at Conghua Racecourse in March 2019 was the first time Hong Kong horses raced competitively in the Mainland.
Located approximately 200 kilometres from Hong Kong, the journey from Sha Tin Racecourse to Conghua Racecourse takes about four hours by specially-designed cross-boundary horse floats. “Every convoy takes four or five horse floats to transport around 20 horses, followed by another vehicle carrying a Club vet, security personnel and support staff to ensure horse safety.”
Wing-lung and his colleagues always keep a close eye on the horses during the journey. “Horses may become impatient sometimes,” he explains. “But they usually feel much better if we pat them. And we would ask the vet to check on them when necessary.”
At present, there are around 1,250 racehorses in Hong Kong, of which around 250 are in training in Conghua.* Conghua Racecourse has state-of-the-art stabling, training and horse-care facilities, operating as part of a dual-site model, it complements the existing training centre at Sha Tin. It could enable the Club to further develop the quality of its world-class racing.
*Information updated to June 2022