Hong Kong – Hong Kong’s record prize money increase includes world’s richest Group 1 turf sprintBy Phil - 18 June 2020
Hong Kong racing will offer record prize money of HK$1.4bn (£143.5m) for the 2020/21 season, with the Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint and BMW Hong Kong Derby featuring prominently among the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s upward adjustments.
The LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (6f) will regain its position as the world’s most richly-endowed Group 1 turf sprint with a value this year of HK$22m (£2.2m), an increase of HK$2 million (£205,000). Five other Group 1 races – Centenary Sprint Cup (6f), Stewards’ Cup (1m), Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (7f), Hong Kong Gold Cup (1m2f) and Champions & Chater Cup (1m4f) – will receive HK$2 million (£205,000) increases, taking their value to HK$12 million (£1.2m).
The historic BMW Hong Kong Derby is Hong Kong’s most important domestic contest and will be worth HK$24 million (£2.4m), a HK$4 million (£400,000) increase on the 2020 renewal. The 1m2f contest is a key race each year, being a vital springboard for the next crop of Hong Kong’s stars, and regains its position as the second-richest Derby in the world, behind only Japan’s equivalent and ahead of the Kentucky Derby, the UAE Derby and the original Derby at Epsom.
The Hong Kong Derby is the final leg in the three-race Four-Year-Old Classic Series and the Club has also taken the decision to up prize money for first two legs: the Hong Kong Classic Mile and Hong Kong Classic Cup will both be worth HK$12 million (£1.2m) in 2021, an increase of HK$2 million (£200,000) to each race.
Andrew Harding, Executive Director, Racing, at the Hong Kong Jockey Club said: “Hong Kong racing is among the best in the world and part of what makes it such a competitive sports environment is the excellent prize money available from Class 5 right up to Group 1. Despite the issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty in world economies, we will continue our successful strategy of recent years to increase purse levels as necessary in order to reward and encourage our owners and to ensure Hong Kong’s elite races are attractive to overseas competitors. This approach has been a core element in Hong Kong being able to maintain its position as a world leader in providing quality horseracing and has enabled us to achieve between 20 and 26 horses in the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings for each of the past seven years.