Racing

HKIR set new highs

Records fell, new benchmarks were set and heroes were lauded at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong last Sunday, on an exemplary day of sport at the annual HK$83 million (S$15.2 million) LONGINES Hong Kong International Races (HKIR).

"This was one of the most astonishing days of international racing we have seen in Hong Kong," said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's chief executive officer.

A vibrant and vocal crowd of 100,710 turned out to savour the four Group 1 races at the end-of-year showcase, generating an electric atmosphere.

That figure was a new high for the event and 17.4 per cent up on the previous year.

Turnover for the 10-race card came in at HK$1.518 billion.

"It's the highest turnover ever for this day, and an increase of 4.7 per cent on last year," Engelbrecht-Bresges said.

"But the attendance was even more pleasing, with a record for the day of more than 100,000 people, combining Sha Tin and Happy Valley. The atmosphere on course was outstanding. The reaction from our customers and racing fans was exceptional today,"

Ten years ago, the HKIR meeting had turnover of just HK$930 million and a crowd of 56,000.

A total of 53 horses competed in the four LONGINES HKIR contests this year, 26 from overseas, and a total of 23 Group 1 winners.

Japan won the Cup and Vase with Maurice and Satono Crown respectively, while Hong Kong captured the Sprint with Aerovelocity and the Mile with Beauty Only. - HKJC