One of the only two racecourses in Hong Kong, the Happy Valley Racecourse was established in 1845. The racecourse was built on the only available flat area in Hong Kong Island, which happened to be a swampland. It was reclaimed and the neighbouring villages prohibited from rice farming to nurture the sport. Horseracing was then a preserve of the British who were the elite, though the Chinese have since picked it up.
The Happy Valley Racecourse has a capacity of 55,000. The racing season in Hong Kong begins in September and goes all the way to July. Wednesday nights and some weekends are the most ideal times to catch races at Happy Valley and attendance is open not just to the Hong Kong Jockey Club members but the public as well.
To catch the excitement of the horseracing sport, one should not miss the Hong Kong International Races, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the Hong Kong Derby. The International Riding Champion is an award that goes to the winner of the International Jockey Championship, also held at Happy Valley. The night carnivals offer a wide array of entertainment, drinks, food and music, besides the live races.
The Parade Ring has a capacity of 1,400 spectators on four balconies. Its retractable roof gives one the opportunity to see and inspect the horses before the race begins, no matter the weather. The Happy Valley Racecourse also offers other leisure activities besides horseracing
These include hockey, rugby and football all played on the course’s inner field. The Gift Shop has lots of event-themed souvenirs to buy and keep. The Hong Kong Racing Museum is situated on Happy Valley Stand’s second floor. Here, one can learn about Hong Kong’s racing history, complete with photos from the 19th Century. At the Adrenaline Bar, one can enjoy the live music and a cocktail, or a barbeque at the Beer Garden.