JOCKEY Club bosses promised racing would continue to grow after 1997 when revamped Happy Valley Racecourse re-opened yesterday. A total of 45,815 punters turned up for the eight-race twilight meeting, with fears over crowd control unfounded. At Sha Tin, 12,044 turned up for the cross-betting. When the 110-year-old course closed for its $1 billion redevelopment on February 2 this year, a record-breaking 52,000 flocked to the last race. Many were crushed as fans scrambled to get in. But yesterday spectators arrived early to get a look at the new track. The redevelopment has brought the racecourse up to international standards. There are now 14 tracks as opposed to nine and the bends are not so sharp. Director of Betting Henry Chan Shing-kai said around $1.1 billion in bets had been placed during the twilight meeting. Although gambling is illegal in China, RHKJC Jockey Club chief executive Major-General Guy Watkins promised Hong Kong's number one sport would continue to prosper beyond the handover. He added: 'I have spoken to people at the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. They understand racing is part of the Hong Kong way of life and betting is part of racing.' A second trial before the big day was cancelled after too much turf was kicked up in the first test run. Phase Two of the redevelopment, which includes a museum and stables complex, is already under way.