The Chairman’s Sprint Prize in Hong Kong will fill the void left by the Singapore Turf Club’s shock decision to abandon its international sprint.
The STC made the announcement a week ago it was dropping the KrisFlyer International Sprint and the Singapore Airlines International Cup.
Hong Kong Jockey Club officials moved swiftly and succeeded in getting approval for the Chairman’s Sprint to be upgraded to Group One status and moved a week later to May 1.
“We are thrilled to announce that the Chairman’s Sprint Prize is now Hong Kong’s 11th international Group 1 race, HKJC chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
“The loss of the KrisFlyer International Sprint left a significant void in the Group 1 sprint programme, particularly here, in Asia.”
With the Group One upgrade, prize money has also increased by $HK 2 million ($364,871) to $HK 10 million.
Meanwhile the HKJC will review its policy on allowing riders to compete overseas on non Hong Kong race days.
Zac Purton and Joao Moreira were forced to miss Sunday’s Sha Tin meeting when their plane from Sydney was turned away from Hong Kong and diverted to Taipei.
The two were stranded for many hours with the absence of the two leading riders having a major effect on betting turnover.