Jean-Baptiste Hemel: My Life as a Jockey in Macau

Hong Kong and Macau are famous for their horse racing. I had a chance to meet Jean-Baptiste Hemel, who works as a jockey there. During races, trips and action, he bears an extraordinary testimony.

Since antiquity, horse racing has been a popular activity. In the Middle Ages, horse racing was conducted in cities, on the streets or around squares, riding barefoot. The kings of France and England disputed the paternity of renewal of horse racing in the 17th century, but the race seems to have come from the emulation of saddle horse producers used for hunting in England. The racetrack multiplied in the 18th and 19th centuries: horse racing was clearly the most watched sport on both sides of the channel during this period. In Hong Kong, the sport was naturally pitched by a British presence in the second half of the 19th century, with competitions in the Happy Valley. Nearby Macau, which attracts many punters, has naturally become a very famous place for horse racing.

“600 wins to my victory”

I started this profession at the age of 21 after studying sports (STAPS) in the city of Chantilly, which is the provenance of horse racing in France. I am 36 years old, have over 600 wins worldwide. I left France for Qatar 6 years ago because I had a very good job opportunity, I stayed there for 4 years and I arrived in Macau in June 2019 for emotional reasons .. being able to be close to my girlfriend and be with her for. .

“For a jockey, Asia is a holy grail”

For a jockey, the holy comb has to be run in Asia and is still more accurately up in Japan, it is the most popular place to visit, although there are several mandatory steps to get there which are as follows: Gateway is to walk first to Macau To be in the top 5 for using the Singapore race to repeatedly make it a “winner” to go to Hong Kong. Which is already a great platform .. As I said it is a must to walk in Japan, but it is very hard for 2 reasons, the level is high in Hong Kong and it is challenging to be a part of the top 5 but on the other hand you absolutely have to speak Japanese. is.

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You will also have to be nervous to get there. For example my approach to coming to Macao was quite simple: first I sent my application for a work visa to the Macao government with my CV, it was approved within a few weeks. Note that I did not know anyone before all these steps. I just went to the Macao Jockey Club to find an employer .. Then I had a person who once rode me a horse, it went very well .. Since then I run every week.

Life of adventures … More hiccups

This job has allowed me to travel a lot exploring Europe and many countries in the world to name a part: Spain, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar. .. C ‘is actually going on an adventure because you are free, you have to prove yourself on track, and then you will be paid according to your results.

The hardest thing in a jockey’s life is maintaining a light weight … I’m 163 cm for 54 kg. So we have to be careful with our food every day. I eat very little to lose weight, it is 4 pm today and I ate protein equivalent to 3 eggs with avocado and bacon.

Hong kong horse racing

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About the Author: Piers Parker

Alcohol maven. Incurable pop culture specialist. Communicator. Gamer. Certified explorer.

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