Acting globally: Preparing to cover the Hong Kong International Races

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

November 28th, 2016

Think globally, act locally. That phrase, generally associated with being environmentally conscious, is also apt at describing my past experience in covering Thoroughbred racing. Next week, I'll have the opportunity to act globally as's representative during Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) week at Sha Tin and Happy Valley racecourses.

Visits to Happy Valley and Sha Tin (in that order) will be my first to non-U.S. tracks since 1991 when I took in a day of racing while in Australia. There was also that little excursion to Epsom Downs in England in 2005 that didn't turn out so well and which I don't officially count.

Acting globally will now require me to think locally, and that admittedly will involve a bit of a learning curve. In addition to my duties covering the racing scene in the U.S. and Canada for and, I do my best to keep tab of what's happening in the five major European racing countries during their turf flat season. Throughout the year I'll also dabble on Australian racing, primarily during the Melbourne Spring Carnival, Dubai World Cup night and, if I'm feeling adventurous, Argentina for the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini (G1) every December.

However, the racing scenes in Hong Kong and Japan, from which approximately 75 percent of the HKIR fields originate, while not exactly foreign to me, are ones I have paid only peripheral attention to over the years. The 12-14 hour time difference I think plays a part, as does the limited amount of time and brainpower I generally have after focusing on these other circuits.

With that full disclosure out of the way, I'm ready to brush up on the contenders from Hong Kong and Japan in the lead-up to next week's action. I've also been analyzing the results from both Sha Tin and Happy Valley in recent weeks in the hopes of sharpening my Hong Kong handicapping skills.

With handle on 80+ days of racing in Hong Kong approximating the amount wagered on the thousands of race cards held annually in the U.S., there's nothing quite like diving into something the size of the Hong Kong pools through I'll do my best to extract a personal share on both racing days of HKIR week, and will provide thoughts on both cards at the blog.

In addition to handicapping features and other observations on the blog, stay tuned next week to @TwinSpires as I bring the sights and sounds of HKIR week (all times and days local): the morning trackwork from Sha Tin Wednesday through Saturday mornings; the International Jockey Challenge from Happy Valley on Wednesday night; the HKIR barrier draw Thursday morning; the HKIR Gala Dinner from the Hong Kong Convention and Entertainment Centre on Friday night; and the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin on Sunday afternoon. I'm also sure to have an observation or two (probably more) on the local experience and flavor of Hong Kong at my personal Twitter handle.

I'll be getting a highly able assist at the blog and on Twitter from Kellie Reilly, who'll provide a general overview of the HKIR features and her own personal insight into these four multi-million dollar features. You won't want to miss it.

Until next week from the other side of the world...