The Jockey Club has suffered its first ever drop in betting turnover. In the season that ended yesterday, turnover was $91.5 billion, compared with last season's $92.3 billion. Final-day turnover was down sharply - $1.69 billion compared to last season's $2.54 billion - but much of that could be attributed to the monster Triple Trio jackpot that was up for grabs on the final day last season. Club chief executive Lawrence Wong blamed the economic downturn for the 0.87 per cent drop. 'When you compare the turnover to the property and stock markets, we've weathered the downturn rather well,' he said. But things were likely to get worse. 'Based on trends over the past two months - turnover has been down between five and six per cent - we expect this situation to continue next season,' Mr Wong said. More worrying for the club was the drop in attendance figures. About 3.12 million went through the turnstiles this season compared with 3.26 million in 1996-97. Final-day attendance figures were also well down. Only 75,902 went through the gates yesterday - 62,636 at Sha Tin and 13,266 cross-betting at Happy Valley - compared with 112,069 on the final day last season. On the track, record-breaking Australian trainer David Hayes and South African stable jockey Basil Marcus were celebrating. They combined for a treble to give Marcus his sixth title and Hayes his first. In Tokyo, the Ivan Allan-trained local hero Oriental Express ran the race of his life to finish a second to Japanese super-horse Taiki Shuttle in the US$1.2 million (HK$9.3 million) Yasuda Kinen, under jockey Douglas Whyte.