Record-Breaking Turnover Marks Spectacular Finale to Hong Kong Horse Racing Season
The 2022/23 Hong Kong horse racing season concluded with a remarkable flourish on Sunday, 16th July at Sha Tin Racecourse, as the 88th and final meeting of the season set a new turnover record for both a single race meeting and the season finale. With a total turnover of HK$2.065 billion (approx. £202 million), the event witnessed a 1.3% year-on-year increase since the establishment of the HKSAR in 1997.
Throughout the season, a total of 88 meetings were held, featuring 835 Hong Kong races and 299 overseas simulcast races, generating a turnover of HK$141.1 billion (approx. £13.8 billion). Although this represents a slight 0.5% increase from the previous season, the growing popularity of simulcast overseas races contributed to a significant 12.5% growth in simulcast turnover, amounting to over HK$11.8 billion (approx. £1.2 billion).
The majority of simulcast turnover was driven by Hong Kong customers, reflecting an 11.3% growth to HK$10.5 billion (approx. £1 billion). Additionally, turnover generated via the World Pool from the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s (HKJC) overseas customers and partners experienced a remarkable 23% increase, reaching HK$1.3 billion (approx. £127 million).
The overall turnover of all simulcast races conducted under the World Pool Brand, including both Hong Kong and overseas customers, exhibited an 18.5% increase, rising from HK$6.2 billion (approx. £606 million) in the 2021/22 season to HK$7.3 billion (approx. £714 million).
This season, the HKJC expanded the number of World Pool races to 24 days, featuring prestigious LONGINES Top 100 Group 1 races. Furthermore, partnerships with racing events from Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Germany were established for the first time, enriching the global appeal of Hong Kong racing.
In addition to the remarkable achievements on the track, the season saw trainer John Size clinch his 12th Hong Kong trainers’ championship, solidifying his status as the most successful trainer in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, jockey Zac Purton secured his sixth Hong Kong jockeys’ championship, breaking the previous single-season record of 170 wins.
Furthermore, home-grown jockey Vincent Ho received the Tony Cruz Award for the leading local rider with the most wins in the season for the fourth time, showcasing his exceptional talent.
With just 1,250 horses in training, accounting for a mere 0.7% of the world’s horse population, Hong Kong’s racing continues to demonstrate its world-class quality. Standout performers such as Golden Sixty, the first-ever three-time recipient of the Horse of the Year award, along with G1 winners Lucky Sweynesse and Romantic Warrior, have earned their places among the top seven in the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.
An additional highlight of the 2022/23 season was the instrumental role played by Conghua Racecourse (CRC) in supporting Hong Kong’s racing and the development of the equine industry in the Greater Bay Area. CRC’s state-of-the-art facilities facilitated the training and preparation of horses, resulting in 172 wins by 138 horses during the past season.
The 2023/24 Hong Kong racing season is set to commence on 10th September, promising another exhilarating chapter in the rich history of this prestigious sport.
Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “Under such a challenging economic situation, our overall season racing turnover of HK$141.1 billion is very satisfactory. The strength of the turnover reflects the quality of our products and the on-going support of our customers. However, we will stay vigilant as there will be significant challenges from offshore bookmakers following the reopening of borders and also illegal bookmakers.
“To ensure our racing will stay competitive and maintain its world-class status, we will re-invest in racecourse assets and enhance customer experience. We will also grasp the unique development opportunity in the GBA under the ‘One Country Two Systems’ principle. After all, the Club is acting for the betterment of society. All we do is to contribute more to our community with a strategic focus that best meets the needs of Hong Kong people.
“Hong Kong’s world-class racing is not only built on our state-of-art racing facilities, but more importantly a rich and growing pool of racing talents across all levels from trainers, jockeys, veterinarians to stable assistants and farriers. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is committed to attracting world-class talents from overseas and nurturing high-potential home-grown talents. I am delighted to see our racing talents and the horses they train, and take care of, deliver remarkable performances this season to local and global fans. They are the future of Hong Kong’s racing.
“The importance of CRC will continue to grow further with the significant work we are undertaking with Sha Tin’s stable refurbishment to meet the future needs of trainers. CRC will also serve as the centre stage of international-standard racing in the Mainland, starting from the first race meeting in 2026 with the establishment of an iconic grandstand enabling visitors from all fronts to enjoy and experience Hong Kong’s world-class racing.”