Racing Post’s guide to betting on Hong Kong racing

Happy Valley: spectacular course sits amid dozens of skyscrapers

PICTURE: Hugh Routledge Racing Post's guide to betting on Hong Kong By Stuart Riley 9:38PM 15 NOV 2016

FROM Wednesday, British punters will be able to bet into the huge Hong Kong pools after a deal was signed between local racing authorities and Betfred, Ladbrokes and Coral.

The Hong Kong pools are famously vast – betting turnover averaged an astonishing £134,944,842 per meeting last season – and free access to that kind of liquidity, in a restrictionless PMU environment, is sure to tempt many.

The racing taking place on Wednesdays and Sundays at Sha Tin and Happy Valley racecourses. While Sha Tin races during the afternoon (5am-10am UK time), spectacular Happy Valley in the heart of the skyscrapper-strewn territory typically races on Wednesday evenings (11.15am-3pm UK time).

There are just two tracks and, given a smaller, classier pool of horses than we have on the all-weather in Britain throughout the winter, it is not difficult to see shrewd punters looking to take advantage.

To help you find the winners the Racing Post will carry all cards complete with expert advice, but to get started here's some must-know information about this ultra-competitive racing jursidiction.

IN NUMBERS

HK$106.14bn (£11.03bn) – total betting turnover over just 83 fixtures last season, the second-highest ever recorded

2.042 million – the number of racegoers who attended last season

88 – the number of fixtures for the 2016-17 season

2 – the number of racecourses in Hong Kong

THE RACECOURSES

Happy Valley

Situated amid a forest of skyscrapers in the heart of Hong Kong, Happy Valley is one of the world's most remarkable racecourses. It largely races on Wednesday evenings and will host 42 fixtures this season. A tight track with sharp turns and a short home straight (slightly more than a furlong and a half), which places an emphasis on early tactical speed from the starting gates to obtain a prominent position of the rail. Being trapped wide is as detrimental as trying to come from off the pace.

Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong

Sha Tin: the vast racecourse hosts Hong Kong's highest-quality racing

PICTURE: Hugh Routledge

Sha Tin

The larger of the two tracks with a capacity of 85,000, with racing taking place in the afternoon. It has a tighter all-weather track inside a more galloping turf course. All Group 1s are held at Sha Tin as it is generally perceived as a fairer track. It has a longer home straight at just over two furlongs and over 5f in a Class 2 its par time is over a second quicker than Happy Valley's.

THE KEY PLAYERS

The jockeys

Known as 'Magic Man', Brazilian wonderjockey Joao Moreira has dominated Hong Kong racing in recent years, claiming a second championship last year with 168 wins, more than double the 80 Zac Purton managed for second.

While Moreira bases himself in Hong Kong the likes of Christophe Soumillon, Hugh Bowman, Vincent Cheminaud, Gerald Mosse and Chad Schofield visit for varying amounts of time. British jockeys too make regular visits to the land where Neil Callan is based, with Ryan Moore and Silvestre de Sousa riding 16 winners each there last season and Oisin Murphy joining them this winter.

Joao Moreira

'Magic Man' Joao Moreira dominates Hong Kong racing

PICTURE: Getty Images

The trainers

Last season Australian trainer John Size claimed an eighth Hong Kong trainers title. Size saddled 68 winners, but if the championship was decided on prize-money as it is here his total of HK$97,917,838 (£10,177,151.20) would have been bested by another Australian, John Moore.

Moore, who brought Able Friend over for the 2015 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot won by Solow, is perhaps the jurisdiction's most famous trainer and in 2005 became the most successful in it's history. Last year he saddled 52 winners but picked up HK$121,749,450 (£12,654,104.57) in prize-money.

THE BIG FIXTURE

The Longines-backed Hong Kong International Races takes place on December 11 this year and features the four most prestigious Group 1s in the Hong Kong calendar.

The Hong Kong Vase, over 1m4f, was won last year by Highland Reel, while the 6f Hong Kong Sprint saw Peniaphobia beat Royal Ascot runner-up Gold-Fun. Local superstar Maurice landed the Hong Kong Mile, while A Shin Hikari, who subsequently romped to a ten-length success in the Prix d'Ispahan, landed the 1m2f Hong Kong Cup.

Highland-reel-360

Highland Reel: won in Hong Kong last year and could be heading back

PICTURE: Getty Images

Sir Michael Stoute's Dartmouth and Richard Fahey's Growl are two likely British runners this year, while Aidan O'Brien is considering running Highland Reel and Found.

PUNTING POINTERS

1 Play the pace at Happy Valley. Look for horses that can grab a prominent position on the rail.

2 Look to the top jockeys. Joao Moreira rode 168 winners last season while only 19 others rode more than six. The top riders get their pick far more so than in other juristictions, but can be consequently overbet.

3 Do your homework. The HKJC make everything from vetinary to trackwork updates available and extensive free race replays are available for form analysis.

4 The clock is a much bigger factor. With races run on largely consistent ground, and at just two venues, far more faith can be put in the clues the stopwatch provides.

5 Read the Racing Post Spotlight verdicts. Our international experts will crunch all the form for you and provide you with an easy guide to each race.

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