Time Warp’s victory in the HK$25 million LONGINES Hong Kong Cup capped an outstanding day of international sport at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, said: “We want the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races to be the greatest show on turf and today we witnessed some sensational performances. I think we are at a very high level, we have a very attractive global product, but we know that resting on laurels never works and we will sit down and see how we can develop this meeting going forward – we think this meeting has further potential as one of the sport’s great world events.”
Attendance was 94,560 and the day’s turnover came in 5.4% higher than last year at HK$1.6 billion, a new record for the meeting.
Highland Reel, Europe’s all-time leading earner, won a second LONGINES Hong Kong Vase for Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien and will now retire to Coolmore Stud, while Hong Kong’s top-rated horse Mr Stunning took the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint.
“The depth of quality in this year’s races has shown again that Hong Kong is able to attract world-class horses, and in particular it was probably the best Hong Kong Vase we have ever had,” Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges said. “When we see a champion like Highland Reel coming to Hong Kong for his last race, with his trainer Aidan O’Brien and his record 28 Group 1 wins here in person, it speaks volumes for the meeting’s international status.”
The biggest cheer from the crowd almost lifted the grandstand roof. It came when local rider Derek Leung made all to win the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile atop Beauty Generation.
“Derek Leung’s win was tremendous – he rode a perfect race,” Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges said. “We have invested in our Apprentice Jockeys’ School in the last 10 to 15 years and it’s great to see a local Hong Kong talent hold his own in international company – the reaction from the crowd was fantastic.”
The attendance was the second-highest ever for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races, and Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges was pleased with the big turn-out and the day’s business results.
“It was the second-highest attendance – only a little down on last year – and that really produced a great atmosphere. We also had record turnover – HK$82 million more than last year. That’s an extremely satisfactory result,” the CEO said.
Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges thanked the event’s sponsor LONGINES, as well as Hong Kong’s race fans, the world’s horsemen, the international media, and the Jockey Club’s staff.
“My many thanks to LONGINES for their continual support, they bring elegance, class and style and play a role in making this one of the world’s best race meetings, and one of the truly ‘can’t miss’ events each year,” he said.
“International racing brings people from across the world together for the passion and love of horseracing and this is what we see every December at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.”