Hong Kong to stage three spring Group 1 Races on one day

Hong Kong to stage three spring Group 1 features at Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup meeting.

Neorealism (JPN) and Joao Moreira winning the 2016 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup, picture Liesl King
Neorealism (JPN) and Joao Moreira winning the 2016 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup, picture Liesl King

Hong Kong will for the first time stage three spring Group 1 features on a single day, the Hong Kong Jockey Club announced on Tuesday. The Champions Mile (1600m) and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) have been brought forward one week in the calendar, joining the Group 1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup to form an exciting Group 1 triple-header on Sunday, 29 April, 2018.

“This adjustment to the schedule unifies these three world-class features under the banner of the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup race meeting, so creating Hong Kong’s own spring festival,” said Mr. Anthony Kelly, Executive Director, Racing Business and Operations.

“These moves will create one of the most lucrative days of racing in Asia and offers overseas connections a single date at which to target their horses. We are already looking forward to an excellent day of international racing in Hong Kong on the last Sunday of April.”

As previously announced, all three races have received prize money increases. The Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) was boosted by HK$4 million to carry a purse of HK$24 million, making it the second-richest race run in Hong Kong. Increases of HK$2 million were applied to both the Champions Mile and Chairman’s Sprint Prize, bringing their total prizes to HK$18 million and HK$16 million, respectively.

In addition to these changes, the Group 3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup (2400m), originally scheduled for 29 April, will move back one week to Sunday, 6 May. One of only three Hong Kong races run over the distance, all at pattern level, the Queen Mother Memorial Cup is a traditional preparation for the final Group 1 of the season, the Standard Chartered Champions and Chater Cup (2400m), set for 27 May 2018.

The 2016 renewals of the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup, The Champions Mile (1600m) and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) were a celebration of powerful performances from around Asia and Australia.

Japan’s Neorealism (JPN), trained by Noriyuki Hori and ridden by Hong Kong’s champion jockey Joao Moreira, won the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup while Hong Kong stables took The Champions Mile (1600m) and Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m).

Hong Kong’s last season leading trainer John Size sent out Contentment (AUS) to win The Chairmans Mile under Brett Prebble and Hong Kong trainer France Lui provided Lucky Bubbles (AUS) with Sydney’s last season champion jockey Hugh Bowman to win the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.