The Champions Mile will be given a major lift in prizemoney next season and open to international competition as part of the foundation of an Asian Racing Federation mile series. The Hong Kong Jockey Club has agreed to lift stakemoney from $4.5 million to $8 million for the 2005 Champions Mile and it will join with Tokyo's Yasuda Kinen as the start of an Asian mile series. 'We are in discussion with Singapore, Australia and Dubai about their participation in the series and we are confident other races will be added,' said executive director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges yesterday. 'But we can start the proposed series with two established events like our Champions Mile and the Yasuda Kinen and the Japanese are very keen. 'There was a thought that we could easily extend this idea to sprints as well, but we would first like to establish the mile series. 'The Racing Committee also considered the Champion Sprinter series and other stakes structures. We decided that no distances will be changed for the Group One sprints. We hold a traditional view that sprints are races up to 1,200m, not 1400m,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said. 'But the races will be slightly earlier in the season, allowing the possibility for horses to come through the series, then step up to the Champions Mile.' The Sha Tin Mile has been downgraded from Group Three to Class One in October, and prize money for Class Five, Griffin and Class Three races will alter too. Class Five races will drop $50,000 to $450,000 and Griffin events will fall from $700,000 to $570,000, while Class Three prize money will rise by $50,000 to $750,000. 'This is a net prizemoney increase, as there are 85 Class Five races and relatively few griffin races that drop, while there are around 175 Class Three races which will rise,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said. 'The changes are linked to the turnover in these kinds of races, and also the quality of the runners - many of our promising young horses come through Class Three.' The change will also be linked to a rearrangement in the replacement policies under which Private Purchase Griffins (PPGs) will now have to be replaced by Private Purchases (PPs). 'Our figures show PPGs being replaced within a year are being replaced by new PPGs, with no increase in the quality of horse,' he said. 'With this change, we expect owners will have to pay more for the replacement PPs, many of which are probably going to be Class Three horses.'