The prestigious Chairman’s Sprint Prize is now Hong Kong’s 11th international Group 1 race. The International Grading and Race Planning Advisory Committee (IRPAC) has elevated the 1200m contest to the highest grade and the race will now be staged on G1 Champions Mile day, Sunday 1 May, at Sha Tin Racecourse.
The Chairman’s Sprint Prize was initially calendared for Sunday, 24 April, the same afternoon as the G1 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin. The recent Singapore Turf Club announcement confirming the discontinuation of the Singapore International Races, specifically the G1 KrisFlyer International Sprint (1200m), prompted the Chairman’s Sprint Prize’s promotion to full G1 status from its hitherto local G1 designation.
“We are thrilled to announce that the Chairman’s Sprint Prize is now Hong Kong’s 11th international Group 1 race,” said Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Executive Officer. “The loss of the KrisFlyer International Sprint left a significant void in the Group 1 sprint programme, particularly here, in Asia. Following our application, we appreciate the swift action of the Asian Pattern Committee and IRPAC to recognise the exceptional and unforeseen circumstances by promoting the Chairman’s Sprint Prize to the highest level.”
The Club announced that commensurate with the immediate status increase, the purse of the Chairman’s Sprint Prize will enjoy a HK$2 million rise, to HK$10 million.
“The Chairman’s Sprint Prize has a storied recent history and the race’s consistently high ratings meant that it met the criteria for international Group 1 status,” added Mr. William A. Nader, Executive Director of Racing. “As it was slated to take place in the last week of April, 2016, moving the race to a slot a week later, to fit more closely with the Singapore race’s previous mid-May position, was not difficult. We are excited that Hong Kong’s world class spring programme has been further enhanced in this way.”
The great Silent Witness, fellow world champion Sacred Kingdom, the brilliant Fairy King Prawn, and the globe-trotting G1 star Lucky Nine have all won the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, which is the third and final leg of the Hong Kong Speed Series.
Hong Kong staged six fully-fledged G1 races prior to the 2014/2015 season, during which that number expanded to 10. The Stewards’ Cup (1600m), Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m), Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) and Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) were all upgraded to the highest level, so joining the well-established LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m), Vase (2400m), Sprint (1200m) and Mile, and the traditional spring standouts, the APQEII Cup (2000m) and the Champions Mile.