Cash jump possible for Derby Trial
The Jockey Club may look at sharply upgrading the status and prizemoney of the Mercedes-Benz Derby Trial after Tuesday's renewal - firmly establishing its place on the calendar as a significant feature.
The Group Two race is relatively young, with King Dancer winning just the fifth staging of the event, but as a dress rehearsal for the Derby on March 14 it appears to have matured.
Racing director Bill Nader said yesterday that the idea was still in the discussion stage, but observed that the middle pin of the classic Triple Crown could be ready for a lift to Group One standing as part of a general reconsideration of the four-year-old events.
'If you look at the three races - the Classic mile, Derby Trial and Derby - we have HK$27 million in stake money across them, which is significant,' Nader said. 'But the Classic Mile is HK$8 million, then the same horses come back to a Group Two for HK$3 million then a Derby at HK$16 million. It is out of alignment.'
The changes may include a Group One upgrade for the Derby Trial and prizemoney injections for it and the Classic Mile.
'The Derby is already the second-richest Derby in the world, but the prizemoney for the other two might have to be looked at,' Nader said.
'The open Triple Crown of the Stewards' Cup, Gold Cup and Champions And Chater carries HK$8 million on each race and the Speed Series races for the sprinters are all HK$4.5 million, so to have the four-year-old races at such varying levels doesn't make real sense.'
Unlike international Group race status, which requires application to regional and world bodies for permission to upgrade, the status of domestic events is wholly up to the club's Racing Committee.
In other news, leading rider Matthew Chadwick will not take mounts at Sha Tin this Sunday after failing to gain clearance yesterday from the club's doctors.
Chadwick injured his right shoulder when dumped from No More Green before the start of race four on Tuesday and was later stood down from his last two rides.
Yesterday, doctors cleared Chadwick for trackwork, but not to ride in races.
However, apprentice Keith Yeung Ming-lun, who also injured his right shoulder in a trackwork fall on Tuesday last week, has been cleared for his return from suspension on Sunday.