Quiet times in wake of tragic1918 fire
Forty years after his death, two of Bruce Lee's siblings reminisce about their famous brother's life and a legacy that is inspiring a whole new generation of fighters. Jo Baker reports.
The great Derby Day fire catastrophe (above) on February 26, 1918, was a black day for Hong Kong. Hundreds were trapped underneath matsheds consumed by flames and perished in the fire, or when would-be rescuers clambered over the debris. In 1920, the Club was still trying to regain favour with Chinese racegoers after the disaster, and the stake money for the four days' racing over Chinese New Year was quite niggardly.
The Derby run on the second day was a sweepstakes of $20 each with $2,000 added; otherwise the Cup events were the races of choice to win because of the gorgeous trophies that went to the winners. These included the Governor's Cup, Lusitano Cup, Foochow Cup, Professional Cup, Jockey Cup, Royal Navy Cup and Gymkhana Club Cup.
The quality of the horseflesh deteriorated for the fourth day, as did stake money. The two best-funded races carried total stakes of $900, with only $400 given for the remaining seven events. The names of the seven races indicated the type of pony running: Lucky Stakes, All-Out Stakes, Also-Ran Stakes, Loiterers Stakes, Hay and Corn Stakes, Finale Stakes and Last Chance Plate.