For the first time, the Hong Kong Jockey Club will stage three of its spring features on the same program, it was announced Tuesday. The G1 Champions Mile and the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) will move forward by one week on the racing calendar to Apr. 29 and will serve as supporting events for the G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m).
“This adjustment to the schedule unifies these three world-class features under the banner of the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup race meeting, so creating Hong Kong’s own spring festival,” said Anthony Kelly, Executive Director, Racing Business and Operations for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. “These moves will create one of the most lucrative days of racing in Asia and offers overseas connections a single date at which to target their horses. We are already looking forward to an excellent day of international racing in Hong Kong on the last Sunday of April.”
The trio of races will offer total prizemoney of HK$58 million (£5.5 million/US$7.4 million). As previously announced, each of the three major spring features saw their purses raised for 2018. The QE II Cup, now worth HK$24 million, is the second-richest event in Hong Kong, second only to the HK$25-million Longines Hong Kong Cup held during December’s Longines Hong Kong International Races meeting. The purses for the Champions Mile and Chairman’s Sprint Prize have been hiked by HK$2 million to HK$18 million and HK$16 million, respectively, for the first time in 2018.
The G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup H. (2400m), originally scheduled for Apr. 29, has been moved back one week and will now take place Sunday, May 6. The race serves as a course-and-distance prep for the G1 Standard Chartered Champions and Chater Cup three weeks later.
Free entries for each of the three races close Mar. 19, 2018. The Hong Kong Jockey Club provides shipping incentives, including the normal costs of return air transport for selected overseas horses for these races, along with travel and accommodations packages for their connections.