Racing officials from Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Japan unveiled plans for an expanded Asian Mile Challenge, a four-race series of turf fixtures that will offer prize money and bonuses totaling $12.6 million beginning in March 2006.
The series expansion, announced during a press conference at Tokyo Race Course Nov. 26, now consists of four grade I races: the US$527,000 Futurity Stakes at Caufield in Melbourne, Australia, on March 4; $5-million Dubai Duty Free at Nad al Sheba, Dubai, on March 25; $1,033,000 Champions Mile at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, on May 7; and the $1,867,000 Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo, Japan, on June 4.
The races are run over 1,600 meters (about one mile), with the exception of the Dubai Duty Free, which is contested at 1,777 meters (about nine furlongs).
Any horse to win all four races would receive a $4-million bonus, with three wins worth a $2-million bonus, and two worth $1,000,000 (and is divided in the event there area two horses with two wins each).
The Asian Mile Challenge was launched in 2005 as a two-race promotion between the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Japan Racing Association. The series benefited from the participation of Hong Kong's star sprinter, Silent Witness, who tried unsuccessfully to stretch his speed out to a mile in the Champions Mile and Yasuda Kinen.
Joining the series in 2006 are the Melbourne Racing Club, which conducts racing at Caufield, and the Dubai Racing Club.
Early nominations to the series are free and close Jan. 11, 2006. For further information, visit www.asianmilechallenge.com