The significant co-operation between Asian Racing Federation countries was on display last Sunday at Hong Kong's Sha Tin racecourse for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) race meeting when the turnover on the meeting was assisted by a record co-mingling turnover and a substantial additional turnover on the meeting from Japan.
The meeting turnover for the Sha Tin 10-race card was HK$1.605 billion, a new record for the day and a slight rise on 2017, while co-mingling turnover came in at HK$258 million.
The overall turnover was the highest ever turnover for the the international meeting with co-mingling turnover a record with a figure of HK$258 million being 30% more than last year. That co-mingling turnover did not include HK$215 million which was bet in Japan on the four international Group 1 races.
“This all shows that there is a great international interest in Hong Kong racing among customers across the globe," said Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Executive Officer.
“Offering world-class sport is essential to help racing grow and one of the innovations that is coming out of this tremendous co-mingling turnover is that we will have the World Pool invested here in Hong Kong, which shows the liquidity we have in our pools and the confidence in our technology.”
The result of the LONGINES HKIR international races was a first ever Hong Kong clean-sweep and capped a stellar occasion of world class sport at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday.
The John Moore trained Beauty Generation (NZ) with Zac Purton was sensational in destroying a top-class field in the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile; Frankie Lor sealed a breakthrough Group 1 with Mr Stunning (AUS) with Karis Teetan in the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint and achieved a remarkable double thanks to Glorious Forever (GB) with Silvesta de Sousa; all after Tony Cuz's Exultant (IRE) under Zac Purton set the ball rolling with a head-bobbing victory in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase.
Beauty Generation and Mr Stunning were bred in ARF countries New Zealand and Australia respectively, and Purton and Teetan learnt their world class skills riding in their home countries of Australian and South Africa before leaving to ride in Hong Kong.
“This is a dream result and it is extremely satisfying to see the depth and quality of Hong Kong horses rising to the fore to win four Group 1 races against top-class overseas challengers. It is an amazing achievement and I will stress again that we have only 0.7% of the world’s horse population here in Hong Kong,” said Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges.
Second-season trainer Frankie Lor, a stable hand’s son and former jockey in Hong Kong, achieved a Group 1 breakthrough with Mr Stunning in the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint before doubling up with Glorious Forever in the HK$28 million feature.
Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges said that Lor’s rise “shows the Jockey Club’s dedication to developing Hong Kong talent to a world class standard.”
The meeting’s four feature races carried record purses, being worth a total of HK$93 million, and crowned a week which also featured Silvestre de Sousa’s exciting triumph on Wednesday night at a star-packed LONGINES International Jockeys Championship, as well as Frankie Dettori receiving the LONGINES World’s Best Jockey Award at Friday night’s gala dinner.
“This week is a feast of sport, not only for Hong Kong but also for the whole racing world,” Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
“Today we have seen four astonishing performances with Hong Kong the centre of attention and looking back at Wednesday, I think we were privileged to see the best International Jockeys Championship we have ever had, with a brilliant winner.”
The LONGINES Hong Kong International Races is established as horse racing’s year-end extravaganza and attracted many world-elite horsemen, with 24 overseas horses competing from Japan, Britain, France, Ireland, Australia and Singapore.
“If you look at the quality of horses we have seen today, we have to be very satisfied,” Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges said. “We had 21 individual Group 1 winners and seven horses rated 120 or above; Japan sent a very strong team of nine contenders and we are extremely happy that we have again attracted horses from some of the world’s top class trainers, like Sir Michael Stoute, Aidan O’Brien and Andre Fabre, and global giants like Godolphin, the Aga Khan and Juddmonte.”