Hong Kong's racing season is divided between two courses at Sha Tin and Happy Valley. Sha Tin, home to the famous LONGINES Hong Kong International race meeting, stages most of its meetings at weekends (broadcast in the early morning on Sky Sports Racing) whilst Happy Valley hosts popular evening meetings every Wednesday (aired late morning on Sky Sports Racing).
The two tracks are both right-handed, but present different tests for the racehorse.
Sha Tin Turf
The right-handed turf track at Sha Tin measures a little under 2000m round with rail movements enabling races to be run on the A, B, C and C+3 courses for maximum fields of 14. It is essentially a flat, galloping course – just over 30m across with the rail in the A position – and the straight is slightly uphill and 430m long. There is a straight 1000m track which tends to hand an edge to those able to race close to the stand rail from middle to high draws. Those drawn low to middle tend to be favoured in races on the round course and those drawn high generally need to switch inside or break quickly to avoid being trapped wide with little cover.
Sha Tin All Weather
Sha Tin’s AW track is right handed and around 1600m in circumference. There are starts at 1200m, 1650m, 1800m, 2000m and 2400m but the vast majority of races are over the shorter distances. Runners in races over 1650m gallop into the first bend very quickly after the start and data shows that those drawn low to middle hold a valuable edge. Those drawn towards the inner also hold the advantage in races over 1200m and, depending on how the track is riding, horses with the early speed to take up a handy position can prove tough to peg back.
Happy Valley is a tight, right-handed track of a little under 1600m in circumference with rail movements enabling races to be run on the A, B, C and C+3 courses. Most races are run at 1650m or shorter with a maximum field of 12 and the draw, luck in running and jockeyship play very important roles. The bend after the winning post is sweeping and leads to a back straight which has a marked dip in the middle. That leads into a tighter but well-cambered final bend and a home straight of just over 300m. A swift break can help offset a wide gate but those drawn low to middle tend to have an advantage, especially in races over 1200m and 1650m where runners head swiftly into a turn.