The Hong Kong Jockey Club will offer 10 international group I races during its 2014-15 racing season and has increased total purses 10%.
During a July 2 press conference, officials said the Asian Pattern Committee has opened the Stewards' Cup at 1,600 meters, the Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup at 2,000 meters, the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup at 2,400 meters, and the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup at 1,400 meters to overseas horses. The committee made the decision in May.
Each race will be worth HK$10 million (US$1.3 million), up HK$2 million.
"The Asian Pattern Committee's ratification of the four new international group I races rewards those contests for their consistently high average ratings over a number of years and confirms the strength of Hong Kong racing at the elite level," said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, chief executive officer of the HKJC. "In the year 2000, the Hong Kong Jockey Club made a strategic decision to elevate the status and standard of Hong Kong racing. The vision was, and remains, very clear: to focus especially on turf races from sprint distances up to 2,000 meters, and to attract the best horses, trainers, and jockeys to Hong Kong to create the best racing product in the world.
"One of the initiatives to achieve the vision is to incentivize owners to invest in bringing the best horses to race here."
Purses for some group I stakes also were increased. Prize money for the Longines Hong Kong Cup at 2,000 meters will increase HK$3 million to HK$25 million; the Longines Hong Kong Mile will be worth HK$23 million, up HK$3 million; the Longines Hong Kong Sprint at 1,200 meters is now worth HK$18.5 million, up HK$3.5 million; and the Longines Hong Kong Vase at 2,400 meters will go for HK$16.5 million, up HK$1.5 million.
"The increases to the Longines Hong Kong International Races re-emphasize their status as the Turf World Championships," HKJC executive director of racing Bill Nader said. "With this latest purse increase, the Longines Hong Kong Sprint is at the moment the richest sprint race anywhere in the world, the Mile is the richest turf mile, and the Cup is one of the two most lucrative contests over 2,000 meters on turf."
The Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (HK-I) will receive the largest purse increase. It will be valued at HK$20 million, up from HK$14 million.
Total purse money will rise to HK$990 million, up from HK$900 million during the 2013-14 season, which ends July 6.