By Bob Kieckhefer
Longines has assumed sponsorship of the Hong Kong International Races after an eight-year partnership between Cathay Pacific and the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The deal, which was announced June 27 at Happy Valley Racecourse, also includes sponsorship of the International Jockeys' Challenge, a run-up to the December races.
The four races will be run at Sha Tin Race Course this year on Dec. 9. The 2,000-meter Longines Hong Kong Cup (HK-I) is worth HK$22 million (U.S.$2.84 million). The 2,400-meter Longines Hong Kong Vase (HK-I) and the 1,200-meter Longines Hong Kong Sprint (HK-I) each will get a purse increase to HK$15 million (U.S.$1.93 million). The 1,600-meter Longines Hong Kong Mile (HK-I), offers HK$20 million (U.S.$2.58 million).
“This partnership with HKJC shows our worldwide commitment to equestrian sports, reflecting our devotion to, and passion for, these exciting, dynamic, yet elegant sports, which match perfectly with our watch making heritage of 180 years,” said Longines president Walter von Känel.
Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of HKJC, said the new sponsorship "reinforces the world-class standing of the Longines Hong Kong International Races, widely recognized and respected as the 'Turf World Championships.' Our approaches continue to raise the Hong Kong brand globally."