HK Mile to regain title as world's richest race
The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile will regain its place as the world's richest mile on turf in December after the Jockey Club boosted prize money to HK$20 million.
Currency market fluctuations have pushed Japan's Yasuda Kinen and Kyoto Mile Championship and even Sydney's Doncaster Mile past the HK$16 million previously on offer at the international meeting.
'The HK$20 million will make the Hong Kong Mile the richest race again, and hopefully, act as an incentive for owners to buy the kind of high-quality horses that will keep our mile racing at a very high level,' executive director of racing Bill Nader said as he announced changes for the new term yesterday. 'That brings our prize money increases to a total of HK$40 million across the board.'
The Sa Sa Ladies Purse and January Cup have been raised to HK$2.4 million and to Group Three status, while the Sha Tin Trophy and Premier Bowl will gain Group Two status and a HK$3 million price tag.
Nader also confirmed Australian authorities had approved Sha Tin as a quarantine centre, which will facilitate the preparation of horses for campaigns in Australia and smooth the way for Australian stars, such as Black Caviar, to run at Sha Tin.
'That approval is good for two years and is a big result,' he said. 'A horse like Bear Hero, for example, if he goes to Melbourne for the Coolmore Stud Stakes, can do two weeks pre-export quarantine at Sha Tin, then go to Melbourne where he would train out of the Werribee quarantine facility before running the race and then he would need to do another two weeks' quarantine here.
'It does get more complicated if the trainer wants to base the horse somewhere other than the Werribee centre. On the flip side, the Australian horses do not need to do pre-export quarantine there before coming to Hong Kong, but they would do two weeks here afterwards before another two weeks of quarantine when they return home.'
Nader said griffin racing, which has suffered with the shifting of the international sale from December to March, would get a boost from three events in October to November which would serve as a lead-in to a HK$2 million championship griffin race over 1,400m in December.