Hong Kong racing will get a 7% prize money increase next season, according to William Nader, executive director of racing at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Nader outlined the purse structure during a June 10 press briefing at Sha Tin racecourse.
Total prize money for next season, which starts in mid-September 2014, will be HK$963 million, an increase of HK$63 million (7%) on the HK$900 million available in season 2013-14, Nader said. Next season's total equates to an increase of HK$178 million, or 22%, from the amount available in 2009-10, when the fixture list was expanded to 83 race meets for the first time, and is a third higher than the 2007-08 season, when total prize money was HK$720 million.
"This season will be the first time that racing (handle) will go over the HK$100 billion mark, but more importantly it has also been the very best season in club history in terms of quality, with terrific performances of Hong Kong horses at the elite level at home and overseas," Nader said. "With that, the club will again increase prize money to keep that momentum going to offset rising costs for our owners."
By category, Nader said prize money for Class 1 races will increase 10% to HK$2,200,000 and Class 2 races 7.1% to HK$1,5 million. Other races will increase between 4.5% and 6.7%, with each Class 3 race in 2014-15 worth HK$1.06 million, each Class 4 race worth HK$760,000, each Class 5 race worth HK$575,000, and each Griffin Race worth HK$800,000.
"The club recognizes the costs associated with horse ownership and we want to give owners a fair return for their investment," Nader said. "We also want to produce the kind of talent on the racecourse that gives our customers the high-quality experience they deserve. We want to make sure the value proposition is properly balanced to ensure that Hong Kong racing continues to perform at a very high level in the years to come."
Prize money details were also revealed for four Hong Kong group I races.
Prize money for the Hong Kong Classic Mile and the BMW Hong Kong Derby will both increase HK$2 million to HK$8 million and HK$18 million, respectively, with the Kent & Curwen Centenary Sprint Cup and the Chairman's Sprint Prize both increasing HK$600,000 to HK$6.6 million. All International group II and Hong Kong group II races will see a rise in prize money of HK$375,000 to HK$3.875 million, and Hong Kong group III races are all up by 10% to HK$2.75 million.
The Hong Kong Macau Trophy will be worth an additional HK$400,000 at HK$2.4 million, but the bonus for any horse winning both legs of the interport challenge has been discontinued.