Growing up in Paris, my children knew they didn’t have the same upbringing as their Hong Kong peers.


Growing up in Paris, my children knew they didn’t have the same upbringing as their Hong Kong peers.

Their cousins and friends in Asia were on a familiar path of secondary education, followed by MIT, Harvard or Oxbridge, and with the majority returning to Hong Kong to launch careers.

I knew my children wondered why things had to be different.

Why were they ‘exiled’ to Paris, removed from their comfort zone, grandparents, and extended family?

Christopher at a French class.
Christine with a mask at a home party.
Christopher at school party with classmates and new friends.
Ling Tsui celebrating Christine’s birthday at school with french classmates.

Aside from the social and cultural benefits of becoming fluent in French, my objective was to give Christine and Christopher greater opportunities in handling their future careers and lives.

Naturally, a mother’s desire for her children to do well doesn’t always translate into understanding or immediate happiness for her young offspring.

Cambridge University
Oxford University
Harvard University

Thankfully, my serendipitous encounter with Jean Lesbordes and the decision to buy all those racehorses was not just a smart business move; it also changed my children’s lives completely.

As M. Lesbordes trained the horses, his charming family welcomed my children into their social circle.

M. Lesbordes’ son, Clément was eight years older than Christopher, but the two hit it off straight away, and Clement soon became the big brother he never had.

Thick as thieves, the two friends spent wonderful weekends in Chantilly, with Christopher captivated by all things equestrian.

The Lesbordes family taught my son how to ride, and he gradually became au fait with the world of stables and horse racing.

Jean Lesbordes' home, Chantilly.

M. Lesbordes taught Christopher how to ride.

Clément with Urban Sea

A friendship has blossomed colours between the young Christopher and Jean Lesbordes

Clément Lesbordes with his parents wearing the Tsui’s official

Christopher and Jean Lesbordes greet Urban Sea after her victory in Le prix the Piaget d'Or

It was obvious that Christopher loved the racing life. He accompanied Clement and M. Lesbordes to all the weekend meetings, and when Urban Sea won the 1992 Piaget d’Or, it was my young son who led her in after the race!

Christopher was learning what it meant to be part of a winning team; a valuable lesson, and one that would be of great benefit to him later in life.


My son’s cherished memories of those victories didn’t just centre on Urban Sea, although M. Lesbordes’ instincts had proven right, and she was an extraordinary creature.
Other horses from our stable held treasured places in my children’s hearts – if only for a fleeting moment.

Take Risks winning le Prix Edmond Blanc by 7 lengths

Adieu au Roi by Hubert de Watrigant 1992

Adieu au Roi won le prix Hocquart: From left to right,
Walter Swinburn, Ling Tsui, Christine, Christopher and David Tsui

Laughters from Paris racing society

Losing face, humiliation

Take Risks came first in several Group 3 races, including winning le Prix Edmond Blanc at Saint-Cloud by an impressive seven lengths.

However, we believe he felt humiliated by his role as Urban Sea’s lead horse in morning gallops.

Insulted at playing second fiddle to a mere mare, he never fulfilled his real potential.

Adieu au Roi was a powerful yet nervous stallion. The son of Kenmare, he showed early promise, with Walter Swinburn riding him to victory in the 1992 le Prix Hocquart on just his second outing! As a 3-year-old, he was named as “one to watch” for the 1992 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but mood swings began to interfere with his performance.

His lacklustre eighth-place finish at the Prix du Jockey-Club was a foreshadowing of further embarrassment, and when M. Lesbordes took him to the big Deauville meeting in August, as the gates opened, he refused to jump off with the other runners!

The final shock came at the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt. We arrived at Longchamp in all our finery, with Christopher wearing his ‘lucky’ red suit, hoping fortune would smile on us. As the gates opened, thankfully, Adieu au Roi did jump out with the rest of the field, but immediately dug his hooves in and refused to go any further.

We were humiliated in front of all Parisian racing society.


I was always concerned about Adieu au Roi’s name.

In Chinese culture, it’s vitally important that you always strive to be “the King” in every endeavour, be it “King of Diamonds,” “King of Real Estate” or “King of Karaoke!” Unfortunately, when Adieu au Roi is translated from the French, it means “farewell to the King.”

If we contemplate the beliefs of Chinese feng shui, this is not an auspicious name for a racehorse owned by a successful Chinese family!

As I continued to further immerse myself in the horse training business, my husband, David Tsui was having doubts. Disenchanted, he believed this venture to be the cause of too many sleepless nights and with no tangible, top-flight success to show for it. But what of our fantastic filly, Urban Sea?

Terms of Use - Privacy Policy - © 2016 Sea The Stars. All Rights Reserved.