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Hong Kong – New individual World Pool race turnover record and exceptional value at Royal Ascot

By - 26 June 2023

World Pool, the globe’s largest commingled horse racing pools developed and run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), delivered value for customers around the world like never before, with Tote+ Win beating SP in 83 per cent of the 35 races across the five-day meeting.

Saturday’s highlight, the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes, broke the record for single race turnover in a World Pool race. A total of HK$66.2m (£6.6m) was bet into the pool, eclipsing the HK$66.1m in the 2022 Derby.

The other two biggest pools of the week were in Friday’s Commonwealth Cup and the Ribblesdale Stakes on Thursday which both turned over HK$50.5m (£5.1m).

Saturday’s total turnover of HK$323.4m (£32.5m) rates as the third highest World Pool day of all time, behind the Friday (HK$351.8m) and Saturday (HK$340.9m) of Royal Ascot 2022.

Total World Pool turnover for Royal Ascot 2023 hit HK$1.5bn (£154m), only fractionally down on last year’s total of HK$1.6 billion, which was an increase on 2021’s figure of 35 per cent.

As a collaboration of global Totes, with customers from an expanding list of 28 countries betting into it, World Pool creates huge liquidity and excellent value for racing fans.

The Tote offered customers exceptional value across the 35 races at Royal Ascot:

  • Tote+ Win beat SP in 29 of the 35 races (and matched on the remaining 6 races with Tote Guarantee in place online)
  • Tote+ Win overround was 106 per cent vs SP overround of 125 per cent.
  • Tote+ Exacta beat the Forecast (1-2) in 32 out of 35 races, and averaged an 85 per cent better payout
  • Tote+ Trifecta beat Tricast (1-2-3) in 29 out of 32 races, paying more than double the Tricast on average

At each World Pool event there is a “Moment of the Day” which is awarded by an industry representative, with the moment decided by a standout performance.

The prize fund was significantly increased this season with each winning groom receiving £4,000 for their Moment of the Day prize, up from £1,000 in 2022, as well as being entered into the World Pool “Moment of the Year” where they could win a VIP trip to Hong Kong in 2024.

The winners were:

  • Tuesday:  Sydney Cale, groom of Bradsell, who won the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes, making Hollie Doyle the first female jockey to win a Group 1 at Royal Ascot.
  • Wednesday: Viktor Konya, groom of Mostahdaf, the impressive winner of the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
  • Thursday: Jack Abbey, groom of Desert Hero, winner of the King George V Stakes, who gave The King his first ever Royal Ascot winner.
  • Friday: Page Harrison, groom of Shaquille, who won the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup, giving trainer Julie Camacho her first ever Group 1 and first win at Ascot.
  • Saturday: Babu Singh, groom of Pyledriver, who landed the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, becoming the first horse to win the World Pool Moment of the Day for a second time, having been named the winner after his success in the 2022 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club partners with Ascot Racecourse and UK Tote for another five years

On Saturday, the HKJC announced that it has renewed a five-year World Pool partnership agreement with Ascot Racecourse to continue to promote racing as a global sport. 

The HKJC and Ascot Racecourse initiated the first World Pool partnership, with the UK Tote, in 2019 and the renewal agreement, signed at Royal Ascot on Friday 23 June, will run from 1 July 2023 until 2028. 

This followed on from the UK Tote signing a new five-year agreement with the HKJC at the start of the week, which sees the UK Tote become the exclusive partner for World Pool in the UK and Ireland.

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “Royal Ascot produced exceptional racing once again and it is clear that international racing fans have embraced the quality and depth of fields across the five days. World Pool offers the best international racing for customers across the globe. In the four years since we launched World Pool at Royal Ascot, the Hong Kong Jockey Club has forged – and enhanced – a host of World Pool partnerships around the world and we are delighted at the significant progress achieved so far.” 

Michael Fitzsimons, Executive Director, Wagering Products, at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “Royal Ascot delivered an unforgettable five days of world class sport for racing fans all over the world and we are absolutely delighted with the turnover figures and clear value proposition that World Pool has offered. Thursday will live long in the memory with Their Majesties The King and The Queen enjoying their first Royal Ascot winner and our very own World Pool ambassador Frankie Dettori winning the Gold Cup in his final ride in the race.

“The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes produced a record turnover figure for a World Pool race, and we were thrilled to see Wellington take up the challenge in addition to strong representation from other countries around the world. That is what World Pool is all about. It was launched to show how successful international collaboration can be for the very best international racing around the globe. We couldn’t be happier with how World Pool has progressed, and we would like to sincerely thank and congratulate Ascot Racecourse for putting on such a wonderful five days of racing.”

Alastair Warwick, Chief Executive at Ascot Racecourse, said: “Having announced our five year World Pool renewal with The Hong Kong Jockey Club this week, it was tremendous to end Royal Ascot with record breaking turnover in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes. That race really emphasised the impact that overseas challengers can have. It was a wonderful week of racing, with strong fields and intense competition which is what punters around the world want to see.

“Our grateful thanks to the Hong Kong Jockey Club, who we were delighted were so well represented at Ascot, and our colleagues at the Tote.”

Alex Frost, Chief Executive at the UK Tote Group, said: Once again Royal Ascot proved to be five days of incredible racing with both popular and surprising results each day. There were many highlights, but a winner for Their Majesties The King and The Queen, along with four for Frankie Dettori and more success at the highest level for Pyledriver were particular standout moments. With deep pools of over £30 million a day for customers to bet into, the Tote provided incredible value throughout the Royal meeting with 29 winners paying bigger than the industry Starting Price and the Tote operating with an overround of 106%, compared to 125% with bookmakers.

“We saw UK digital volumes into the pool double as racing fans recognise the exceptional value available on the Tote. This creates fantastic momentum for the rest of the 2023 World Pool season in the UK and Ireland as we continue to grow the Tote which is such a vital element to ensure a financially sustainable sport in the UK.

“We remain incredibly grateful to the Hong Kong Jockey Club for their global leadership of World Pool and support for the racing industry. On the back of signing our new five-year agreement we will be continuing to work together to grow World Pool and develop the pool betting experience for the betterment of the whole sport.

“Finally, congratulations to Alastair Warwick and the whole Ascot team for delivering a truly magical five days.”

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