Macau’s still in business but Chin moves on

There is a smidgen of hope in Macau as the MJC announces a 2023-24 season fixture list, but former champion trainer Stanley Chin won’t be involved in any of the action.

Racing in Macau is set to resume on September 29. (Photo by MJC)

David Morgan

Chief Journalist


“Business as usual” is the line from the Macau Jockey Club (MJC) since last week it released its full 2023-24 season race programme, starting September 29. The schedule will run alongside a recently signed deal with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, enabling the continuation of a longstanding arrangement to allow incoming simulcasts of twice-weekly Hong Kong racing.

Such is the concern for racing in Macau that those standard actions are things of hope for the participants whose livelihoods depend on the sport’s continuation there. Flickers of positivity amid the doubts.

The calendar, published on September 7, features one race meeting per week through December, and seven per month thereafter, while the Hong Kong commingling deal runs alongside an ongoing agreement to simulcast races from Malaysia.

But the hope ‘business as usual’ brings is brittle in the world of Macau racing, where the unusual is par for the course these days. Just ask former champion trainer Stanley Chin who has lost his licence to train and right to work in Macau, for an undisclosed reason.


It is evident that MJC officials, trainers and staff are working ‘as usual’ to keep the circuit going, but any view of the future remains clouded.

It should be noted, too, that Singapore’s impending demise will see the racing industry there shut down and the void filled by betting on simulcast races beamed in from other countries. That must be a warning to struggling circuits like Macau where the racing club’s year on year losses are high – an accumulated US$260 million since the company was incorporated – turnover is down, and horse numbers are in dangerous decline.

The Macau government’s block on horse imports in June this year means the earliest new horses might arrive is October, and there is uncertainty about whether any will land then. The government took that damaging measure because the MJC’s stakeholders, including the biggest of all, Angela Leong, failed to fulfil obligations attached to the Taipa Racecourse lease, including investment in infrastructure in and around the site.

The situation, with the start of the season being a couple of weeks away, is that there are only 213 horses listed in training. If horses are not imported in good time before Christmas, sources say that the planned expansion to seven meetings per month in January will not be possible.

Macau right now has 16 licensed jockeys, and the number of trainers is down to 12 following retirements, plus the unexpected departure of Chin.   

Stanley Chin at Sha Tin with Hong Kong trainer Frankie Lor, May 2023. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit)

Stanley Chin wins the the Magnolia Stakes at Kempton in 2004. (Photo by Julian Herbet/Getty Images)

Chin’s career as a jockey in Hong Kong, Macau, Europe, and the Middle East was a tale of tarnished reputation and partial redemption: he was a star apprentice in Hong Kong, handed a three and a half-year prison sentence more than 20 years ago for race fixing; his release was followed by spells working for Aidan O’Brien and Mark Johnston; and then came Group 1 glory in Germany.

Having returned to Asia to ride in Macau, the MJC granted Chin a licence to train in 2014 and he enjoyed notable success. He was champion trainer in 2018-19 and 2020-21, and had among his owners such notable figures as Simon Kwok and Zhang Yusheng.

No official statement is expected, but officials at the MJC speaking under anonymity suggested Chin’s departure was agreed upon mutually and was due to personal reasons they did not wish to divulge. Chin responded to Asian Racing Report via WhatsApp messages, but did not reveal any details.

Chin’s Macau career looks to be over, but racing is hanging on under its current management structure, albeit ‘by its fingernails,’ as one participant put it.




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