Leave Ladies' Purse Day as it is - a signature event

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2011, 12:00am


The success of Sa Sa Ladies' Purse Day was inescapable once again on Sunday. The meeting, which had been just another day's racing until the cosmetics company Sa Sa got involved with the Jockey Club to make it more of an event, now ranks third behind Lunar New Year and International Day in terms of crowd and atmosphere.

Where it can go next though is open to question. The handicapping and race programming staff tried to elevate the day beyond previous versions, bring their smoke and mirrors to bear by throwing HK$2.4 million at the Ladies' Purse prize money and calling the Class One race a Group Three.

Yes, fans of racing form, simply ignore the up or down in class arrows in your guides, the Ladies' Purse was a Class One. Calling it a Group Three was no different to putting a HK$2.4 million prize on the first race at Sha Tin tonight and calling it a Group Three.

Not that there's anything wrong with Class One horses, it's just that the difficulty in legitimately taking the Ladies' Purse meeting any higher is its position in the calendar.

On October 1, the National Day Cup at 1,400m is a real Group Three. On October 30, the Sha Tin Trophy is a real Group Three at 1,600m for the same group of horses.

To have a proper Group Three at 1,800m in the middle of October wouldn't serve any purpose - or perhaps more correctly would find lack of demand a problem - thus the programmers sought an alternative group of lesser-ranked runners, then put a more expensive hat on them.

Maybe the solution is to shift the Ladies' Purse Day to the end of the month and allow the title race to consume the legitimate Group Three Sha Tin Trophy - or you could just leave it where it is, call a spade a spade, and admit the Ladies' Purse is a successful Class One feature day with its own flavour.