Valerie and I were taken one night in the 1970’s to the Happy Valley recourse by my boss, Ken Campbell and his wife Dottie. Not at all interested in horse racing it turned out to be a strange and fascinating evening. You ate your way through a long Chinese meal, interrupted continually by leaving the table to watch the next race.
What was astounding was that in one evening the amount gambled was equivalent to the total gambled in a whole season in the UK. The Chinese are passionate gamblers on just about everything, but gorse racing has been a favourite for a very long time.
I remember Happy Valley well as in the 1970’s I played hockey in the middle of the race course. I picked up more injuries playing that game than all other games I’ve played combined,
Here is cine-film footage donated by Elizabeth M. Ride to The Hong Kong Heritage Project archives. This video shows two races at the Happy Valley Racecourse in the 1950s. All footage was shot by Sir Lindsay Ride. Thank you Mrs Ride.
To bring you up-to-date here is a BBC clip of Michael Palin’s visit to Happy Valley.