Hong Kong racing up and up

Some 67,153 fans crowded into Sha Tin to witness a hugely successful Hong Kong International Races. The crowd, up 24% from a year
ago, rooted home locals to victories in three of the four International races, the first time that’s happened since 2002. Handle, meanwhile, reached levels not seen since 1998. A total of HK$443 million was wagered on the International races alone, up 17% from last year’s HK$385 million, with the turnover for the 10-race card reaching HK$1.2 billion.

“Looking at today’s result from both a business point of view and a sporting point of view, it was an absolutely outstanding meeting,” said Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, who hailed the event as “the greatest show on turf.

Engelbrecht-Bresges said the afternoon’s success was an example of why the sport and the local government, needs to embrace globalization. “It

shows that our strategy of having simulcast races, familiarizing people with overseas horses, is key,” he said. “I would like to use this again as an appeal to our government that we need to embrace the internationalization of racing so that, hopefully, people worldwide can bet in the pool of one of the biggest–if not the biggest–international race meetings in the world. This race meeting generated HK$145 million tax revenue for the Hong Kong government, so the biggest benefactor of this race meeting is definitely the government. We had a terrific day for Hong Kong racing, and a terrific day for Hong Kong.

Engelbrecht-Bresges singled out jockey Matthew Chadwick for praise. The 21-year-old newcomer, a graduate of the HKJC Apprentice Jockeys’ School, booted home the Tony Cruz-trained California Memory (Highest Honor {Fr}) with a savvy ride in the G1 Hong Kong Cup.”It is a fantastic result for Hong Kong and a fantastic result for our academy,” commented Engelbrecht- Bresges. “Matthew Chadwick is the first homegrown jockey from the academy to win an international Group 1 race here in Hong Kong. This is definitely the reward of a very good program.

William Nader, the HKJC’s executive director of racing, said from beginning to end, the local crowd helped make the past week special. “The one thing that stood out today, is the great atmosphere in Hong Kong racing at our big races. When you think of the great occasions worldwide, this has to stand up among the top, in among the elite, and we are very proud of that.”

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