The Hong Kong Jockey Club will offer a record HK$1.16 billion in prize money across its 88 race meetings in the 2017/18 season, scheduled to commence on Sunday, 3 September at Sha Tin Racecourse, while also increasing purses for all three of Hong Kong’s spring Group 1 features.
The Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m), Champions Mile (1600m) and Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m), 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.
Under current exchange rates, these increases make Hong Kong the home to the world’s two richest Group 1 races on turf at 2000m, 1600m and 1200m. The LONGINES Hong Kong Cup, Mile and Sprint hold the top positions in each of those categories while the second richest at each distance would be the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Champions Mile and Chairman’s Sprint Prize, respectively.
The staying test of the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races, 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 10 December 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 $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 Mr. Anthony Kelly, Executive Director, Racing Business and Operations.
Approximately 98% of Hong Kong’s class-level handicap races will enjoy prize money increases in the new term, with Class 1 handicaps remaining unchanged. The total prize money enhancements represent an increase of approximately 5% from the 2016/17 campaign. The changes are outlined in the table below.