Twilight Racing for Hong Kong

Twilight Race Meetings to be introduced in June and July to enhance the welfare and safety of horses and racing personnel

Given the increasing challenge of hot summer weather and after an in-depth assessment, the Hong Kong Jockey Club (the Club) has obtained the endorsement from the HKSAR Government to introduce Twilight Race Meetings this summer. At these Twilight Race Meetings the first race will be re-scheduled away from the middle of the day to 4:00pm when the temperature is expected to be lower. The last race will start at approximately 8:50pm for a 10-race programme and 9:30pm for an 11-race programme respectively. These Twilight Race Meetings will be held at Sha Tin Racecourse on 4, 10, 18, 25 June and 1, 9 and 16 July 2023.

Analysis of the Hong Kong Observatory’s records and the Club’s own weather monitoring shows that summer temperatures have become increasingly higher. The number of Very Hot Days in June and July – when the daily maximum temperature reaches 33 degrees Celsius or above – has almost tripled to 99 during 2018-22, as compared to a decade ago (2008-2012). Indeed, the HKSAR Government has recently announced a new Extremely Hot label for temperatures of 35 degree Celsius and up. Records from June and July last year show that the temperature peaked in the early afternoon before steadily declining in the course of afternoon.

“The welfare of our racehorses and racing participants, including jockeys, stable and tracks staff, owners, members and customers, is of paramount importance to the Club. With increasingly high temperatures in June and July, Twilight Race Meetings could help enhance their welfare and safety. I greatly appreciate the support of all our stakeholders for this change,” said Club Chief Executive Officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges.

The introduction of Twilight Race Meetings is an additional measure to complement the Club’s comprehensive heat mitigation measures currently in operation. These include industrial-size misting fans, shortened pre- and post-race procedures for horses, hydration protocols, cooling-down methods and close monitoring by health and veterinary professionals.

“The welfare of our racehorses and racing participants is a fundamental commitment and we have a long record of continuous improvements to enhance welfare and safety, including adapting our protocols and ways of working where that is appropriate to respond to changed circumstances. Ensuring the welfare and safety of our racehorses and racing participants in relation to weather has been a key component of this, and our pioneering application of the composite index temperature measurement to horse racing events, with mitigation measures adopted accordingly, is a case in point,” said Club Executive Director, Racing, Andrew Harding.

Subject to the outcome of the exercise this summer, feedback from various stakeholders and necessary refinements, the Club will consider applying the twilight arrangements on a longer-term basis during June and July in future racing seasons.

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