There are approximately 180,000 thoroughbred racehorses in training around the world, but of these just 1,200, or 0.7% of the total, race in Hong Kong. Despite this, and despite Hong Kong having no breeding industry, Hong Kong horses rank among the world’s best.
In 2016, Hong Kong had a record 26 of the world’s top 300 racehorses according to the LONGINES World's Best Racehorse Rankings. This included eight in the top 50, which was more than France and Australia and only slightly behind Japan and Ireland, all of whom have far larger racehorse populations.
Werther, ranked eighth in the world overall and the fifth highest on turf, was Hong Kong’s highest rated horse in 2016 following wins in the BMW Hong Kong Derby and the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
Hong Kong has trained many famous horses over the years, including the legendary Silent Witness, whose 17 straight wins made him the world’s top sprinter in 2004 and 2005. Following in his footsteps Sacred Kingdom was the world’s top turf sprinter 2007-2009 and Vengeance of Rain was the winner of the World Racing Championships Series in 2005.
Hong Kong horses have also tasted success overseas. Following Fairy King Prawn’s breakthrough victory in the 2000 Yasuda Kinen in Japan, 25 Hong Kong horses have won 32 overseas races, including 17 at the international Group 1 level.