Hong Kong International Races hit HK$100 million in prize money boost

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The four marquee contests at the Hong Kong International Races will be worth a combined HK$100 million for the first time in 2021 after the Jockey Club announced a raft of prize-money increases on Friday.

While the Hong Kong Vase remains at HK$20 million, the Cup jumps from HK$28 million to HK$30 million, the Sprint from HK$22 million to HK$24 million and the Mile from HK$25 million to HK$26 million.

The increases mean Hong Kong boasts the world’s richest Group One races over 1,200m, 1,400m, 1,600m and 2,000m on turf.

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“The Longines Hong Kong International Races will offer a record total of HK$100 million across the four Group One races held on the day, which underlines the club’s commitment to attracting and rewarding the world’s best,” said executive director of racing Andrew Harding.

“That commitment is evident in the prize money increases for the Hong Kong Cup, Hong Kong Sprint and Hong Kong Mile.”

The Chairman’s Sprint Prize is the other Group One race to receive a boost, jumping 11.1 per cent to HK$20 million.

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Recognising rising bloodstock prices across the globe, the Jockey Club has also increased prize money for all other Group and handicap races, with Class Two contests jumping the most with a 9.1 per cent rise from HK$2.2 million to HK$2.4 million.

Group Two races are up 5.6 per cent to HK$4.75 million, Group Three jumps 5.7 per cent HK$3.7 million and the Class One purse has hit HK$3.15 million, up 5 per cent.

Jockey Club executive director of racing Andrew Harding.

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Class Three races have risen 4.7 per cent to HK$1.57 million while Class Four and Five events have received a 4 per cent boost.

Overall, prize money has been increased by 5.25 per cent to a total of HK$1.46 billion.

“Key to Hong Kong’s world-class racing is the club’s significant investment in prize money,” Harding said.

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“Despite the issues associated with the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty in world economies, we are committed to continuing our strategy of strong increases in purse levels 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 horse racing and has enabled us to achieve between 17 and 26 horses in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings for each of the past eight years.

Jockey Club posts record HK$136.3 billion in turnover

“For next season, the club has increased prize money to a record overall sum, including a significant injection across all Class One to Class Five handicap races and Group Two and Group Three contests. “We believe this will help to enhance competition and assist our owners in their attempts to purchase and import the best possible horses in a difficult economic climate.”

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The announcement comes 24 hours after the Jockey Club finalised turnover figures from a number 2020-21 season, with punters wagering a total of HK$136.3 billion for the season which finished on Wednesday night, an increase of 12.1 per cent on the last campaign.

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