The Jockey Club is counting the cost in the millions after yesterday's 10-event programme at Sha Tin was abandoned at the 11th-hour because of Tropical Storm Leo. The stewards called off the races just 30 minutes before the start of the first event and refunded punters who had already placed their bets. It is now odds-on that the only remaining blank midweek in the season - Wednesday, May 12 - will be taken up to replace the meeting lost yesterday. Chairman of stewards Alan Li Fook-sum said: 'There was simply nothing we could do about it other than take this course of action. We were advised by the Observatory that Typhoon Signal number eight would be hoisted at 1.30 pm, so it was impossible to do anything other than abandon. 'The logical move now would seem to be fitting a meeting in on May 12 and that is what we will discuss. 'As this was also a sponsored meeting, we will give the option to Wharf Cable if they wish to sponsor the meeting on May 12. It is completely up to them,' added Li. Hong Kong has lost race meetings to the weather and typhoons before but it is extremely rare to have one called off in the exact circumstances which prevailed yesterday. There were 7,232 on course when the meeting was abandoned, but thousands more were en route to the New Territories course. Packed trains arriving at the Racecourse Station discharged passengers, who were met with recorded announcements that the meeting was abandoned. Hundreds of race fans milled around trying to get trains immediately back to the urban area. TV and radio stations, all represented on course, immediately cut into programmes to announce the abandonment and within 30 minutes the racecourse, which would have been a throbbing hive of activity, was empty - swept by rain and shrouded in mist. The Jockey Club refunded $169 million in bets but the real cost is in terms of hard cash paid out - with no income. 'It will cost us millions,' said information secretary, Wilson Cheng. Li added: 'I could not give you an exact figure but this is an expensive business. We have temporary staff on duty, food prepared for thousands of people and everything in readiness for a major race meeting.' Disappointment was in evidence everywhere as Sunday meetings have an added buzz to them. Jockey Wendyll Woods said: 'There's nothing one can do about it but when you have a good race meeting, there is a real build-up to it. I was just hopeful of a couple of my rides and you come with anticipation. Then it's suddenly all gone. A bit deflating - but what can you do?' Douglas Whyte is chasing the championship but was happy to hear that at least he won't lose a meeting in his bid to catch defending champion Basil Marcus. 'I do hope they put on another meeting to compensate for it. Nobody likes to lose out on race meetings,' he said.