Hong Kong’s Chairman’s Sprint Prize to fill Asian Group 1 sprint void

The recent Singapore Turf Club announcement confirming the discontinuation of the Singapore International Races, specifically the Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint (1200m), prompted the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Chairman’s Sprint Prize’s promotion to full Group 1 status from its hitherto local Group 1 designation.

The prestigious Chairman’s Sprint Prize is now Hong Kong’s 11th international Group 1 race. The International Grading and Race Planning Advisory Committee (IRPAC) has elevated the 1200m contest to the highest grade and the race will now be staged on Group 1 Champions Mile day, Sunday 1 May, at Sha Tin Racecourse.

“We are thrilled to announce that the Chairman’s Sprint Prize is now Hong Kong’s 11th international Group 1 race,” said Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Executive Officer.

“The loss of the KrisFlyer International Sprint left a significant void in the Group 1 sprint programme, particularly here, in Asia. Following our application, we appreciate the swift action of the Asian Pattern Committee and IRPAC to recognise the exceptional and unforeseen circumstances by promoting the Chairman’s Sprint Prize to the highest level.”

The Club announced that commensurate with the immediate status increase, the purse of the Chairman’s Sprint Prize will enjoy a HK$2 million rise, to HK$10 million.

Hong Kong staged six fully-fledged Group 1 races prior to the 2014/2015 season, during which that number expanded to 10. The Stewards’ Cup (1600m), Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m), Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) and Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) were all upgraded to the highest level, so joining the well-established LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m), Vase (2400m), Sprint (1200m) and Mile, and the traditional spring standouts, the APQEII Cup (2000m) and the Champions Mile.