Thursday 13 June 2024

Hong Kong International Races

The Hong Kong International Races meeting is staged, under the auspices of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, at Sha Tin Racecourse, in the New Territories region of Hong Kong, in December each year. Currently sponsored by Swiss watchmaker Longines and billed as the 'Turf World Championships', Hong Kong International Races comprises the four most prestigious races run in the region, namely the Hong Kong Cup, Hong Kong Mile, Hong Kong Sprint and Hong Kong Vase.

Unsurprisingly, all four races are nowadays Group 1 contests but, while all four are open to horses aged three years and upwards, they did not come into existence at the same time. The Hong Kong Cup, which is run over 2,000 metres, or approximately a mile and a quarter, was first run in its current guise in 1999. So, too, was the Hong Kong Mile, which is run over 1,600 metres, or approximately one mile, although it was not upgraded to Group 1 status until the following year. The Hong Kong Sprint, nowadays run over 1,200 metres, or approximately six furlongs, was also inaugurated in 1999, albeit over 1,000 metres, or approximately five furlongs, but did not achieve Group 1 status until 2002 and was not lengthened to its current distance until 2006. The Hong Kong Vase, run over 2,400 metres, or approximately a mile and a half, was first staged in 1994, but similarly did not achieve Group 1 status until 2000.