The 2022-23 Hong Kong racing season will still feature 88 meetings despite the Jockey Club shortening the campaign by a week.
Chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges confirmed in April the Jockey Club’s intention to extend the off-season, a move made to reward riders, trainers and key racing industry workers for the sacrifices made during the fifth Covid-19 wave.
Hong Kong racing’s key participants and their families were subjected to harsher restrictions than most, with the Jockey Club’s “racing bubble” preventing them from leaving home – except to go to work – and from mixing with anyone they didn’t live with for almost three months.
To give everyone the best possible chance of escaping Hong Kong during the break, the new season will start on Sunday, September 11 – a week later than usual.
The Longines Hong Kong International Races are set for December 11 – the same weekend as usual – but many of this season’s other key races are due to take place exactly a week later than last term and the Jockey Club has tweaked the running order of some of the jurisdiction’s main fixtures.
Last season, the Group One Centenary Sprint Cup was held on the same day as the Group One Stewards’ Cup but the milers will showcase their talents a week earlier than the sprinters in season 2022-23, with the Stewards’ Cup to be held on January 29 alongside the Classic Mile and the Centenary Sprint Cup taking place on February 5.
This season’s Derby will take place a day before the 2022 running on March 19 and will be supported by the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup, which takes place a month later than last season.
Hong Kong’s other Group One races – the Gold Cup, Champions & Chater Cup and those taking place on FWD Champions Day – are all scheduled for a week later than last season.
Happy Valley will host one fewer day meeting this season with its single afternoon fixture taking place on Sunday, October 30, while there will also be one Thursday night Valley card on April 6.