Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges knows horse racing is not immune from the political unrest rife in Hong Kong, saying the organisation will remain “vigilant” against any potential threats.
Despite the unsettled environment, it was business as usual for the Jockey Club at Sunday’s season opening meeting at Sha Tin, which went off virtually unaffected.
Engelbrecht-Bresges admitted he was relieved at how the day unfolded, hoping to unite people behind the sport and the community benefits the Jockey Club provides – it is the largest single taxpayer in Hong Kong and one of the world’s top 10 charity donors.
“It is a volatile time and you never know what happens next, but we were pleased the way we were able to conduct [Sunday’s] race meeting,” said Engelbrecht-Bresges.
“But I don’t make predictions for the future so we have to be vigilant.
“If you look at the racetrack itself you have a lot of people who come here from all parts of society … we didn’t have any threats we were looking at.
“I think a lot of people probably see the positive things Hong Kong racing does for the community and that we can create community benefits but that’s my perspective and not everybody shares it.”
For the first time since the handover in 1997, no government officials took part in the season opening festivities.