Horse Racing Betting Tips

Sha Tin Tips: How to bet on Hong Kong Racing

While we await the return of Horse racing in South Africa, there is still top class action overseas. Read on for The Punter’s Overview of Hong Kong Horse Racing.

I had a bit of fun together with members of The Punter’s SA Horse Racing Tips this weekend.

We’re all eagerly awaiting SA Horse Racing to resume on 1 May (hopefully), and existing clients have their tips memberships paused in the meantime.

I don’t normally play Hong Kong Horse Racing, but racing behind closed doors is working well over there. And this weekend’s Grade 1 action was just too irresistible to ignore!

So I shared some free Sha Tin Tips with clients, and as it turns out, we delivered a big strike on the day! In total, 3 out of 3 Outsiders arrived, including a 20-1 winner and 2 places.

In this blog, I’ll explain my form study methods to find outsiders in Hong Kong. I’ll also share some general tips on how to bet on Hong Kong Horse Racing.

Sha Tin Tips

How to Bet on Hong Kong Horse Racing

Let’s start with the basics. You’re sitting in South Africa with an online betting account and want to have a bet. What do you do?

Here’s some pointers:

  • They race twice a week in Hong Kong. The Happy Valley night meetings run on Wednesdays (around noon SA time). Sha Tin race meetings run mostly on Sundays (first race around 6.30am, PA off around 8am). There are occasional Saturday and Wednesday meetings at Sha Tin. The track, much like Greyville, has both a grass and an all-weather course.
  • Download a free Hong Kong Race Card on the Jockey Club’s website. This is an extremely high quality race card, with lots of helpful statistics. The first version of a race card is normally available 3 days ahead of a race meeting.
  • Race day is well covered on Tellytrack with overseas presenting. There’s plenty of time for discussion and canter downs with SA racing still on break.
  • Our local tote and bookies offer selected exotics bets on Hong Kong racing. The Place Accumulator is normally the last 7 races. The Bipot is mostly the last 6 races (sometimes the first 6), and the Jackpot is the last 4 races. Quartets are normally offered from Race 4 or 5 onwards, and you can also play Trifectas in these races. Quinellas (exactas), Swingers and Straight Bets are normally available for all races.
  • Full Betting goes up on SA websites from late in the evening before a race meeting. Or set an early alarm if you’re not a night owl!

That covers the basics of how to actually get a bet on in Hong Kong. Now for some interesting facts on how Hong Kong racing differs from SA Horse Racing.

Sha Tin Tips
Exultant wins the Grade 1 FWD QEII Cup over 2000m at Sha Tin on Sunday, 26 April.
[Photo: Sporting Life]

Hong Kong Horse Racing Overview

Hong Kong is an island off the coast of mainland China. They have a very unique and successful racing industry.

Millions of dollars in stakes are regularly up for grabs. The trainer and jockey ranks also have strong international influence from South Africa, Australia, UK and Europe.

Hong Kong Horse Racing Tips
Here’s some important things you may not know about Hong Kong racing:
  • Almost all the horses are male: Since the island is too small for a local breeding industry. Racing is therefore dominated by Male horses.
  • There are barely any maiden plates and no juvenile races: 100% of the horses in Hong Kong are imported. They’re generally bought ready to run and earn Hong Kong dollars. Unraced horses imported to Hong Kong may compete in the odd “Griffin” race, but there are not many of these.
  • 3 year olds compete in older company: There are no restricted races for 3-year-olds. Even maiden 3 year olds may race against older horses. This can be a tough task for average horses that lack experience, especially over further distances.
  • Horses are in their prime between 4 – 7 years old: In SA, I regard 3 – 4 years old as being in their prime. Horses tend to start their careers later in Hong Kong. As a result, 5 year-olds have far more regular success. Sometimes horses only start reaching peak earning ability at this age or even later, after having raced for a couple seasons already.
  • Merit Ratings are easy to understand: Horses are allocated a rating of 1 – 105+ and compete in class levels. Class 5 races are for horses in the <40 range, Class 4 is the 40 – 60 range, Class 3 is 60 – 80, Class 2 is 80 – 105, and Class 1 is 100+. In Grade 1 races, 4 year olds and upwards tend to race at level weights.
  • Racing uses the metric system, except for weights: Thank goodness they use metres and lengths to measure racing performances! Unfortunately the weights are still in pounds. It’s easy enough though to see which horses have heavy and light mass. To get an idea of weight in kilograms, you can just multiply the number by 0.45.
  • Most races at Sha Tin have 4 (bookie) places: Always useful for the all-to-come player. The maximum field size is 14 runners at Hong Kong’s Sha Tin track. This gives you 4 places on the books for most Class 2 – 5 races.
  • The Money can be smart: It’s arguably more valuable watching betting market movements in Hong Kong than SA. The international money is smarter and there’s a lot at stake. So if you see odds shortening, generally try to include that horse or at least check what the fuss is about. But remember, don’t outsource all your common sense to the market!
Different, but Similar!

Because it’s quite similar, Hong Kong racing is relatively easy to understand for the South African punter. More especially when compared to overseas venues which use unfamiliar measurement and rating systems, or strange formats like carts and hurdles.

Now let’s take a look at how I found 3 out of 3 Outsiders for my clients this Sunday.

Sha Tin Tips

Sha Tin Tips: How The Punter found 3/3 Outsiders

I’m going to take you through my 3 outsiders one by one. As we go, I’ll explain my form study methods and provide some useful Hong Kong Horse Racing Statistics.

1. Relentless Me – 20-1 win; 9-2 place (race 2)

Man I shouted this one home at 7.15am this morning! Even sweeter that it’s trained by South African jockey legend, Dougie Whyte.

There’s a few things I liked about this horse, which you can see in my form study markings below.

The Punter’s form study highlights for 20-1 winner, Relentless Me, at Sha Tin on 26 April

Firstly, I think the reason the horse jumped at 20-1 was partly because of a tough 10 draw and apprentice jockey up.

That and, of course, the betting market generally follows top jocks Joao Moreira, Zac Purton, Karis Teetan and a few other local favourites.

Sha Tin track design. All races are around the bend except the 1000m sprint.
[Source: Sporting Life]

But appy KH Chan had won on this horse previously, and run into the first four on 7/13 starts for the Whyte stable. The horse was also showing vast improvement this season, with 2 wins from 6, compared to zero from 13 in 2018/19.

The trainer must’ve known something about the horse’s ability, because he had top jocks up for the previous two starts. I also noticed that the horse had previously earned from a bad draw in both these starts.

In a weak field, with top jocks luring betting support for average horses, this one had a fair chance at 9-2 place! But it did us one better, and won at a big price.

Hong Kong Jockey Statistics for the season to date (1 Sep 2019 – 25 Apr 2020)
[Source: Hong Kong Jockey Club]
2. Casa De Forca – 7-10 place (race 3)

In the Jockey’s table above, you’ll see that the top 8 or so Jocks really dominate the win and place statistics.

I therefore take special notice when one of them is riding a horse in Hong Kong.

sha tin tips casa de forca
The Punter’s form study highlights for 7-10 placed Casa De Forca, at Sha Tin on 26 April

Casa De Forca had form SA jock Chad Schofield up, who notched up 3 wins midweek at Happy Valley. Trainer AS Cruz also sits high on the Trainers log, and bagged the Grade 1 QEII Cup on the day.

I was slightly concerned that Schofield’s overall record for trainer Cruz was not that consistent. But Schofield’s recent riding form, and the horse’s consistency of late, was good enough for me in a generally weak field.

The favourite also looked beatable since it was a badly drawn, 1-time winning 3 year old with top weight and only two starts under its belt, despite the popular jockey up.

sha tin tips race 3
Form of the favourite, Good Luck Friend, which was beaten into 2nd by a roughie.
Sha Tin Track Bias

Finally, Casa De Forca had a plum draw of 2 around the 1200 bend.

As you’ll see from the Sha Tin track bias stats below, there’s a significant place bias to inside draws at Sha Tin, particularly over 1200m sprints.

Draw Statistics for the 1200m sprint around the bend at Sha Tin race track.
[Source: HK Jockey Club]

In the end, we managed a 7-10 placed 4th for this selection, which was all I was looking for really.

At this point in our selections, all-to-come players could’ve called it a day. In back to back races, we’d scored a 35-1 win-place, or an 8-1 place double using our first two outsiders.

But there was one more outsider to come still.

3. Shining Ace – 11-10 place (race 9)

Shining Ace was our final outsider for the day. This horse had a couple of standout factors, including a nice draw and very consistent recent form.

Sha Tin Tips Shining Ace
The Punter’s form study highlights for 11-10 placed Shining Ace, at Sha Tin on 26 April

I was quite surprised to see Shining Ace at 8-1 in the betting. But there was a worthy favourite in Computer Patch, which ended up winning.

I was really happy to get 11-10 a place, given that Shining Ace was a 3 time winner from 4 starts over the course and distance.

Top jockey Karis Teetan (Mauritius and SA) added to the appeal, as did the Trainer, Hong Kong legend John Size (Australia).

Leading Hong Kong Trainers

Check out Hong Kong’s leading racehorse Trainers for this season in the table below.

Notice that certain Trainers in Hong Kong have a significant track bias to either Sha Tin or Happy Valley.

Many horses in Hong Kong also tend to perform, or even just run, on only one of the two major tracks. This will generally be apparent from a horse’s career stats in the race card.

Hong Kong Trainer Statistics for the season to date (1 Sep 2019 – 25 Apr 2020)
[Source: Hong Kong Jockey Club]

Ready for more Horse Racing Analysis?

And that’s the tale of how The Punter tipped a 74-1 Win-Place-Place bet in Hong Kong!

I hope you enjoyed this Hong Kong Horse Racing Overview as much as I enjoyed preparing it for you!

If it’s South African racing advice you’re after, try this 3-part series on SA Horse Racing stats:

Part 1: Who’s bringing home the Tote Favourites?

Part 2: Trainer-Jockey Combo’s to Follow 2019/20

Part 3: Top SA Racehorse Breeders to Follow 2019/20

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All the Best,
The Punter