Average per race puts HK in big league

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 May, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 May, 2001, 12:00am

Money, money, money. Group One status used to be the main indicator of a race's status on the international stage, but there is no doubt now that prize-money is the key to putting a horse racing event on the world stage.

And yesterday's announcement of massive increases for Hong Kong's International meeting is sure to raise the stakes in a game where only high-rollers are invited to sit at the table.

In recent years, the tag of the world's richest race has been passed between the Dubai World Cup, Japan Cup and Breeders' Cup Classic - and the three events still stand head and shoulders above the rest. Hong Kong has not joined that battle, but overall the International meeting is now a serious rival to the world's other major racedays.

The combined value of the four International races is US$6.93 million - still way behind the Dubai World Cup meeting (US$15.25 million) and the Breeders' Cup (US$13 million). But Hong Kong's decision to concentrate on turf racing over Classic distances means that, on a pro-rata basis, it is in competition.

An average of US$1.73 million is on offer for each of the International races. The Dubai World Cup averages US$2.5 million for its six thoroughbred races on turf and dirt (plus US$250,000 for the Arabian race). Breeders' Cup day, a mix of eight dirt and turf races, averages US$1.63 million.