In racing terms, Hong Kong punches well above its weight. With approximately 800 races per year, or around 0.6% of the global total, Hong Kong hosts 12 international Group 1 races. Of these, nine featured in the World’s Top 100 Group 1 Races for 2017, with five in the top 50 – making Hong Kong fifth among all jurisdictions, just behind fourth-ranked Japan (12 races) and ahead of France (six) and Ireland (four), all of which have far more races and many more racehorses than Hong Kong.
The most prestigious of Hong Kong’s international Group 1s are the Hong Kong Cup, Mile, Sprint and Vase, which are all held on a single day each December — the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races (HKIR). Widely recognised as the Turf World Championships, the HKIR attracts horses from across the globe to compete for some of the most attractive prize money in racing. They are the culmination of a week-long festival of racing, which includes the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship, now one of the top jockeys’ contests in the world.
The quality of Hong Kong racing is such that it has a growing international fan base. Hong Kong race meetings are now broadcast in the United States, Canada, Australia, Macau, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Commingling also allows overseas fans to place bets on Hong Kong races with overseas partners.