The Hong Kong Jockey Club has revealed that it is going to offer a ‘record total’ prize money and incentives of HK$1.62 billion (approximately £158.6 million) across the 2022/23 racing season.
The overall purse will be bolstered by a record single-season increase of 11.5% (HK$167.2 million) and feature a range of innovations, including increases in prize money across middle-distance races and a new bonus system.
Furthermore, the club explained that it is looking beyond the current challenges created by COVID-19 and looks to reaffirm its long-term strategy of providing the ‘right incentives structure’ to reward owners who invest in Hong Kong racing’s horses.
Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, explained: “The last two and a half years have been among the most challenging times in Hong Kong racing history. Despite this, we have been able to continue racing and we would like to thank everybody in the industry for working together to make it happen.
“We are facing an increased competition to source good horses due to prize money increases around the world, especially Australia which is the main source of our bloodstock. The popularity of overseas racing syndicates, which are less willing to sell horses, as well as the highly competitive power from gulf countries are also making the issue harder.
“We recognise all of these factors, but firmly believe that the impacts of this will be short-term. We have seen Hong Kong emerge as one of the world leaders in racing, both in terms of its quality and its international recognition.”
The G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup will carry HK$34 million in prize money – an increase of 13.3% – while the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile grows by a 15.4% increase to HK$30 million The G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase advances 10% to HK$22 million, which is the sixth richest G1 2400m in the world.
Engelbrecht-Bresges continued: “We have had a complete review of our prize money and incentive structure and have decided to make continuous investment into the future, which has resulted in significant increases in prize money and additional incentives in the bonus system, with special focus on certain distance categories.”
On the flagship Longines Hong Kong International Races, he added: “The Longines Hong Kong International Races have been widely recognised as the Turf World Championships, and the HK$110 million total prize money also highlights the Club’s commitment to attracting and rewarding the world’s best.”
The G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup remains the most endowed seven-furlong contest in the world at HK$12 million, while the upcoming HK$20 million G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize on FWD Champions Day is the world’s second most-valuable 1200m Group 1 on turf behind the HK$24 million Longines Hong Kong Sprint.
The club has also lifted Group 2 and 3 contests to HK$5 million and HK$3.9 million – increases of 5.3% and 5.4%, respectively.
“The Club is committed to make the strategic investments to prize money and the incentives system, as well as to our racecourses and training facilities, to provide an attractive value proposition for Owners to invest in high-quality horses,” Engelbrecht-Bresges concluded.
“It is also a reflection of our confidence in Hong Kong racing and will help the customer experience and protect the upward trend in betting duty, which has increased over the past 10 years to a record HK$23.8 billion last season.”