Hong Kong Riding For The Disabled Association Cup & Luncheon
On the 4th July, over 200 guests, community partners and avid supporters of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) gathered at the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s (HKJC) Shatin Racecourse to attend the inaugural Hong Kong Riding for the Disabled Association Cup & Luncheon. The honoured guests of the afternoon included the Under Secretary for Home Affairs, Ms. Florence Hui Hiu Fai; HKJC’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges; HKJC’s Executive Director, Racing, Mr William Nader; HKJC’s Executive Director, Betting, Mr. Henry Chan and Mrs. Jenny Fung of The Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKPC & SAPD).

The event was also well supported by distinguished horse owners who enjoyed an afternoon of betting in the HKJC Box. The horse owners included Mr. Wong King Keung, owner of “Bullish Cash”, “Bullish King” and “Bullish Win”; Mr. & Mrs. Rusy Shroff, owners of “Royal Panache” & “Royal Pumpkin”; Mr. Shi Lop Tak Allen, owner of “Mr Medici” and Mr. Chan Koon Sang Albert, owner of “Sapelli”.

The featured race of the afternoon was the 7th race, The Hong Kong Riding for the Disabled Cup, during which twelve race horses aimed for gold over 1650 metres on the All Weather Track. The winning combination was Smart Turn Syndicate owned Moonwalk, ridden by Mr. Douglas Whyte and trained by Mr. John Size. The highlight of the afternoon was the awards ceremony where the Smart Turn Syndicate was presented with the prize of an inaugural trophy of the Hong Kong Riding for the Disabled Association Cup by Dr. John Chan, President of RDA. Trophy miniatures were also given to the winning Owner, Trainer and Jockey by Mr KK Yeung, JP, Chairman of Riding for the Disabled Association; Mr Alan Ho, Honorary Treasurer of Riding for the Disabled Association and Mr. Apollo Ng, Chairman of the Hong Kong Riding for the Disabled Association Cup Organizing Committee respectively.

The afternoon was further marked by Dr. John Chan’s presentation of a plaque to the enthusiastic horse owner, Mr. Allen Shi Lop Tak in appreciation and recognition of his generous donation of HK$500,000 to RDA towards the development of the para-equestrian sport.

During the luncheon, Dr. John Chan extended his warm welcome to the guests and provided a brief summary of the RDA. Over the past thirty-five years, disabled children and adults alike have enjoyed therapeutic riding sessions provided by RDA at no charge. These sessions have contributed to the riders’ physical, physiological and mental improvements with noticable benefits such as an increase in self confidence, self esteem and a sense of empowerment.

Other than providing therapeutic sessions, the RDA also works in raising awareness on the development of equestrian sports and in providing focused training for their disabled riders. These riders will in turn represent Hong Kong in various events ranging from friendly social exchanges with neighbouring countries to international para-equestrian competitions and championships. In 2008, RDA athlete Mr. Nelson Yip brought tremendous pride and joy to Hong Kong as the first Hong Kong Paralympian in the equestrian sports. Building on past achievements, the RDA is currently working towards training athletes to, ultimately, represent our city at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Dr Chan went on to further express his appreciation to the HKJC for its long standing partnership with RDA, and explained that RDA’s first lesson was provided at the Club's Beas River Riding School in 1975 and in 1978, the Club built a dedicated centre for RDA at the Pokfulam Public Riding School. Today, RDA operates in three centres to provide sessions for the physically and mentally disabled with annual donations of over three million dollars from the HKJC. On that note, the Chairman of RDA, Mr. KK Yeung took the opportunity to present a plaque to the HKJC’s Executive Director, Racing, Mr. William Nader to express RDA’s appreciation and mark the thirty-five years relationship between the HKJC and RDA.