Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges estimates that betting turnover on Sunday’s Sha Tin meeting suffered to the tune of ‘HK$60 or 70 million’ due to the bank failure in Hong Kong.
Ahead of the first race in Sha Tin at 12:45 p.m., millions of Hong Kongers were unable to access their accounts after online banking and ATMs provided by HSBC and its subsidiary Hang Seng Bank broke down.
Complaints about the HSBC issues were made around 11.30am, with services gradually resuming from around 1pm.
“We’re down 8% and 10% locally and by my calculations that’s probably [cost us] around HK$60 or HK$70 million [in turnover]“said Engelbrecht-Bresges.
𝑵𝑬𝑾 𝑹𝑬𝑪𝑶𝑹𝑫: HK$66.1m (£6.74m)! 🤯
— World Pool (@WorldPool) June 4, 2022
“If you look at the first races, you can see the turnover [is down] and if you look at the latest races, our trend is pretty good.
“We have 950,000 customers doing FPS [transfers into betting accounts] and on a day like today, probably about 500,000 use it and the majority of them do business with HSBC. But we can’t do anything about it. »
Total turnover on Sunday was still north of HK$1.5 billion, of which HK$153 million was paid to the government in betting rights.
On a positive note, Saturday’s Epsom Derby attracted the highest turnover ever in a World Pool race – which sees pari-mutuel betting operators from a range of different jurisdictions wager in the same pool – with HK$66.1 million wagered.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, however, with the much-loved Blue Trail leaving the gates without star jockey William Buick in a previous race after the rider was hit in the head by a galloper in the adjacent stall. .
Engelbrecht-Bresges admitted he was nervous as he waited for Epsom stewards to declare Blue Trail a non-runner, with an incident at Royal Ascot last year which saw punters ripped off after Stunning Beauty was declared leaving while the horse was still blindfolded when the doors opened still fresh in his memory.
“I was a little nervous, I have to admit, but they made the right decision,” he said. “It goes to show that the more you get into international shuffling, the more necessary harmonization of racing rules is. Especially when it comes to demotions, promotions and non-runners, those are the basics.
Whyte praises ‘perfect combination’
The ‘perfect combination’ of Ruan Maia and Ace One made it two out of two at Sha Tin on Sunday and trainer Douglas Whyte revealed the Brazilian jockey had compatriot Vagner Borges to thank.
Borges was aboard Ace One two starts back and was booked to ride the four-year-old on his last start on May 15, but opted to team up with the John Size trained debutante Beauty Tycoon instead. .
Ace One broke their maiden starting five with Maia on board while Beauty Tycoon and Borges finished fourth.
“Borges rode Ace One and he ran a phenomenal race in class three and he fell in class four,” Whyte said.
“He was on to him but he phoned me at 7:15 p.m. Saturday night [the week before]Joao Moreira had been suspended that day, and he said “please sir, I’d like to take another round” and I said “no problem”.
“So I just thought he suited Borges last time and Maia has a similar style, so I called him and he said ‘thank you very much, I’ll ride it’.”
Maia and Ace One had back-to-back successes in the Apprentice Jockeys School Class Three (1,200m) 50th Anniversary Cup and Whyte was full of praise for his jockey after steering him to a one and a half long win.
“If you see the way he rides him, he positively jumps, puts him to sleep, switches his legs, gives him a few crunches and the horse fires up,” the trainer said.
“He sits well on him, makes him do his job and the horse does his job. They are a perfect combination.
Maia went to 24 winners in his first full season in Hong Kong to overtake Harry Bentley and jump to 11th on the jockeys’ table.
“I am very happy that Douglas supported me with this horse. It was an easy win,” Maia said. “The horse has improved since last time, we had a nice draw, we had a great run and the horse responded really well down the straight.”
After three wins from five starts in Australia, Ace One made a subdued start to their career in Hong Kong with a best sixth place finish in their first four starts.
The class four dive gave the Shamus Award son a chance to make his presence felt and after watching the gelding kick off to deliver less than 123 pounds on his return to class three, Whyte thinks he there’s more to come next season.
“I always thought he was a class three horse. He just took time to acclimatize and get used to the Hong Kong racing style,” Whyte said.
“The way he won last time, I think the track with the terrain had a certain influence and I think it gave him a lot of confidence and it was very useful for him today.
Lucky Sweynesse battles Navas Two in thrilling million dollar finish in Sha Tin
“He improved in the morning and he has a good temper. He’s done for the season now and I’m looking forward to next season.
The Ace One win saw Whyte reach the 40 win mark for the third consecutive season to start his career and the 50-year-old is on course to surpass his personal best of 44 winners, which he set in of his first campaign of 2019-20.
” I have not finished yet. I take my hat off to guys who get over 50, 60, 70 every year, but if you can hit 40 year after year, you’re doing a great job,” he said.