Record $203 million prize money for new HK season
Hong Kong Jockey Club increases stakes to reward horse owners as well as boost racing
The Hong Kong Jockey Club will offer a record HK$1.16 billion (S$203 million) in prize money across its 88 race meetings in the 2017/18 season, which starts on Sept 3.
The purses for all three of Hong Kong's spring Group 1 features will also be increased.
The Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2,000m), Champions Mile (1,600m) and Chairman's Sprint Prize (1,200m) are all in line for prize money boosts.
The 2018 QEII Cup will carry a purse of HK$24 million, a rise of HK$4 million, while both the Champions Mile and Chairman's Sprint Prize will receive HK$2 million increases to HK$18 million and HK$16 million, respectively.
The staying test of the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races (HKIR), the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase, has seen its prize money bolstered by HK$1.5 million to HK$18 million.
In total, the 2017 HKIR, scheduled for Dec 10 at Sha Tin Racecourse, will offer a total of HK$84.5 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 HK$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 Anthony Kelly, the HKJC's executive director of racing business and operations.
Approximately 98 per cent of Hong Kong's class-level handicap races will enjoy prize money increases in the new term, with Class 1 handicaps remaining unchanged.
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. Anthony Kelly, Hong Kong Jockey Club's executive director of racing business and operations.
The total prize money enhancements represent an increase of approximately five per cent from the 2016/17 campaign.
The 2017/18 season prize money:
Class 1: HK$2,500,000 (unchanged)
Class 2: HK$1,860,000 (HK$110,000 increase)
Class 3: HK$1,310,000 (HK$75,000 increase)
Class 4: HK$880,000 (HK$40,000 increase)
Class 5: HK$660,000 (HK$30,000 increase)
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 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 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 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 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 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." - HKJC