The Hong Kong Jockey Club will offer a record HK$1.16 billion (€129 million) in prize money across its 88 race meetings in the 2017/18 season, scheduled to commence on Sunday, September 3rd at Sha Tin Racecourse, while also increasing purses for all three of Hong Kong’s spring Group 1 features.
The Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m), Champions Mile (1600m) and Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m), are all in line for prize money boosts. The 2018 QEII Cup will carry a purse of HK$24 million (€2.7 million), a rise of HK$4 million (€446,000), while both the Champions Mile and Chairman’s Sprint Prize will receive HK$2 million (€223,000) increases to HK$18 million (€2 million) and HK$16 million (€1.8 million), respectively.
Under current exchange rates, these increases make Hong Kong the home to the world’s two richest Group 1 races on turf at 2000m, 1600m and 1200m. The Longines Hong Kong Cup, Mile and Sprint hold the top positions in each of those categories while the second richest at each distance would be the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Champions Mile and Chairman’s Sprint Prize, respectively.
The staying test of the Longines Hong Kong International Races, the Hong Kong Vase, has seen its prize money bolstered by HK$1.5 million (€167,000) to HK$18 million (€2 million).
In total, the 2017 HKIR, scheduled for 10 December at Sha Tin Racecourse, will offer a total of HK$84.5 million (€9.4 million) for the four year-ending Group 1 contests.
“Hong Kong’s major racing festivals have always been popular destinations for some of the world’s top horses and horseman, and these increases, particularly the $4 million boost to the QEII Cup, are designed to further enhance the attractiveness of travelling horses to Hong Kong for our premier pattern events,” said Mr. Anthony Kelly, Executive Director, Racing Business and Operations.
Approximately 98% of Hong Kong’s class-level handicap races will enjoy prize money increases in the new term, with Class 1 handicaps remaining unchanged. The total prize money enhancements represent an increase of approximately 5% from the 2016/17 campaign.
Bonus schemes first initiated in the 2014/15 season will continue in the 2017/18 season. A High Achievement Bonus (HAB) of HK$750,000 (€83,700) is awarded to the owner of any horse with a minimum rating of 80, which is successful in a Class 2 race before reaching the age of five. Within this same timescale, a top-up bonuses of $250,000 (€28,000) is awarded if the horse subsequently wins for the first time in Class 1 or above.
A one-time, International Sale Griffin Bonus (ISGB) of HK$600,000 (€67,000) is awarded to the Owner of any graduate from the Hong Kong International Sale following its first win in a Class 3 race before the end of its first full season in Hong Kong. Further top-up bonuses of HK$400,000 (€45,000) are available to ISGB winners should they claim a Class 1 race subject to the same timeline for HAB winners. To date, more than HK$70 million has been awarded via these schemes.
“The Club is keen to reward Owners appropriately for their significant investment in sourcing quality horses to race in Hong Kong, and these increases across the vast majority of races go a long way towards accomplishing that,” said Mr. Kelly. “We fully recognise the worldwide pressure our owners face on the bloodstock market. These enhancements are necessary for Hong Kong to remain competitive on the global stage, providing our owners with the necessary incentives to pursue the purchase of some of the world’s finest horses.”
The full Hong Kong schedule for the 2017/18 racing season will be released soon.