HONG KONG, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong Jockey Club staged its annual Hong Kong Reunification Raceday at Sha Tin Racecourse here on Sunday to celebrate the 15th birthday of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) with tens of thousands of local residents and overseas visitors.
Three action-packed feature races and a wide range of on-course entertainment, including performances by authentic cultural troupes, bore out the famous pre-unification pledge that "ma zhao pao" - the racing would continue.
Over the past decade-and-a-half, Hong Kong horse racing has gone from strength to strength, not only helping the city maintain its unique lifestyle, of which the sport has long been an integral part, but also enabling it to establish a strong foothold in the world racing arena. At the same time, the Club has provided staunch support to the nation's staging of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games by creating the equestrian event venues, testifying to the success of the 'One Country, Two Systems' formula.
Club Chairman T Brian Stevenson told guests that racing not only remained Hong Kong people's most popular spectator sport since reunification, but had also brought prestige and honor to the city internationally.
"In the past 15 years, the Club has contributed a remarkable 191 billion HK dollars to the public purse in betting duties and taxes, and made direct donations to charitable and community projects totalling a further 17 billion HK dollars," he said.
Highlights of the Hong Kong Reunification Raceday were three feature races: the Hong Kong Reunification Cup; The 18 Districts Cup, organized for the fifth year by the Club to salute the achievements of District Councils and community organizations; and the CMA Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo Cup.