The Jockey Club has acknowledged the growth of its mainland tourist market and also taken its first steps towards attempting to revive some of the exotic pools among a number of marketing initiatives for the new season.

Dedicated Putonghua rooms are part of the Jockey Club's refurbishments at both racecourses, but "to cater to the increasing tourists' demand" the club yesterday revealed it also planned to provide special Putonghua zones in selected off-course betting centres.

The club's executive director of customer and marketing, Richard Cheung Che-kit, said the first such zone will be at the Sheung Shui betting shop.

With exotic pools - the triple trio primary among them - struggling since rebates were offered to punters in the main four betting pools in 2006, the club will attempt some form of resuscitation in some of the pools, though not in the triple trio or six-up, by allowing $1 bets for the first time.

Bettors playing the double trio, treble, tierce, trio and first four pools, as well as all up betting, can now place wagers of $1 per combination provided they spend a minimum of $100 on their Flexi-bet ticket.

The triple trio and six-up will remain at a minimum $2 bet per combination.

The club has plans to expand on its promotions at Happy Valley, with themed nights that will take in nearly all the fixtures at the track this season.

"Building on the huge success of the Happy Wednesday Brand, the coming season will deliver even more popular themed nights at the city track entertainment hub, as the club aims to create a consistent Happy Wednesday experience for the rising young crowd," said Cheung.

He added the same approach would also become evident at Sha Tin, with a "luck day" on January 1 and the club will try to replicate the success of its Sa Sa Ladies' Day with a "Gentleman's Day" at the Kent & Curwen Centenary Sprint Cup meeting.

  • A special pre-season racing show will air tomorrow night on ATV World at 11.20pm and on Cable TV Channel 64 and HD Channel 204 from 6pm, looking at some of last season's highlights and looking ahead with some of the major players.