Hong Kong – Hong Kong’s prize money hits record levelsBy Phil - 25 April 2022
Hong Kong racing will offer record total prize money and incentives of HK$1.62bn, approx.. £158.6m, across the 2022/23 season with the overall purse bolstered by a record single-season increase of 11.5 per cent (HK$167.2m) and featuring an exciting range of innovations, including stunning increases in prize money across middle-distance races and a new bonus system.
In announcing this major investment, the Club has made a clear statement that it is looking beyond the current challenges created by the pandemic and reaffirming its long-term strategy of providing the right incentives structure to reward owners who invest in the high-quality horses that are the foundation of Hong Kong’s world-class racing.
Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, talked through the challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic: “The last two and a half years have been among the most challenging times in Hong Kong racing history. Despite this, we have been able to continue racing and we would like to thank everybody in the industry for working together to make it happen.
“With various kinds of COVID-19 measures including overseas travel restrictions, it has made it difficult for Owners and Trainers to go to the sales to source horses for two racing seasons. Furthermore, we are facing an increased competition to source good horses due to prize money increases around the world, especially Australia which is the main source of our bloodstock. The popularity of overseas racing syndicates, which are less willing to sell horses as well as highly competitive power from gulf countries also makes the issue harder.
“We recognise all of these factors, but firmly believe that the impacts of this will be short-term. We have seen Hong Kong emerge as one of the world leaders in racing both in terms of its quality and its international recognition. We have also successfully pioneered large scale international commingling, and now the World Pool. We firmly believe that Hong Kong racing will have room for further growth and we are fully committed to making the necessary investments to achieve this, both through major plans for significant capital investments in our racecourses and training facilities in Sha Tin and Conghua, as well as in a prize money pool that rewards owners who invest in high-quality horses.
“We have had a complete review of our prize money and incentive structure and have decided to make continuous investment into the future, which has resulted in significant increases in prize money and additional incentives in the bonus system with special focus on certain distance categories,” Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
Hong Kong will continue to be the home of the world’s richest Group 1 turf races over 1200m, 1600m and 2000m when the collective prize money of the four G1 features at the LONGINES HKIR rises to a new high of HK$110m, pprox.. £10.7m, a boost of HK$10m on 2021.
The G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) – won by Loves Only You in 2021 – will carry HK$34m in prizemoney, an increase of 13.3 per cent, while the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) grows by 15.4 per cent increase to HK$30m and the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m) advances 10 per cent to HK$22m, which is the sixth richest G1 2400m in the world.
Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges noted the importance of Hong Kong’s elite races on the big stage, especially the flagship LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.
“The LONGINES Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) have been widely recognised as the Turf World Championships and the HK$110m total prize money also highlights the Club’s commitment to attracting and rewarding the world’s best,” he said.