Horse racing is regarded as the sport of kings, and with prize money continuing to climb on an annual basis, owners and trainers are understandably keen to get their hands on one of these lucrative prize pots. With regular race-days taking place across the southern hemisphere, there are ample opportunities to achieve this feat, and we take a closer look at three of the most rewarding contests on the calendar.
Hong Kong Derby
The popular thoroughbred contest has been held on an annual basis since 1973 and comes with a purse of $2million. This four-year-old contest is held over ten furlongs and is currently staged at Sha Tin racecourse.
The inaugural event was held at Happy Valley, a picturesque track which is located on Hong Kong Island; however, the contest was moved to the New Territories-based venue in 1979. The country has just two racetracks, with regular race-days taking place at both courses, and with the occasional former British and Irish runner taking part, fans of the sport can check the horse racing results from today to find out if any of their former favourites have managed to get their head in front.
Several household names have triumphed in the Hong Kong Derby including River Verdon and Football, and this lucrative contest also has the tendency to produce dramatic finishes. The 2020 edition of the race generated another thrilling finale with Golden Sixty prevailing by a neck. Former Irish raider Playa Del Puente ran a cracker in second at fairly sizeable odds.
The race also tends to attract horses from further afield with competitors travelling from Australia, France, New Zealand and South Africa to take part.
Prior to 2017, the Melbourne Cup had been able to lay claim to hosting the richest race-day in Australia. However, with a purse of $4.8million, the Everest is now officially the most lucrative contest on the calendar. Held at Randwick Racecourse, this weight-for-age thoroughbred contest is now the richest turf race in the world, and despite not being eligible for group race status, it still manages to attract a hugely eye-catching field.
Redzel was victorious in the first two stagings of the event, triumphing for Peter and Paul Snowden, before Chris Waller’s Yes Yes Yes upset the odds to triumph in 2019.
The race itself is inspired by another recent addition to the sporting calendar; the Pegasus World Cup. The two contests have a very similar entry process in which ‘Slots’ can be purchased for around $600,000 each, with the owner then able to lease this position if necessary.
The Everest may still be finding it feet, and it may lack the history of many other top-class Australian events, but its hefty prize purse will undoubtedly help it attract a high-quality field on an annual basis.
The highlight of Tokyo’s racing calendar is the Japan Cup and this popular invitational event tends to be held in late November. With $5.8million on offer, this contest always attracts a high-quality field and with an 18-strong field comprising of both locally trained runners and international competitors, it makes for a very watchable event.
The mile-and-a-half contest has been staged every year since 1981, and Japanese-trained runners have a superb recent record in the event. Competitors from the UAE, North America and France have previously been successful in Fuchu; however, local thoroughbreds have had the monopoly in recent years. UK jockey Oisin Murphy bagged his first success in the race at the end of 2019, coming from behind on Suave Richard to win by three-quarters of a length.
There’s an exhaustive list of lucrative races taking place in the southern hemisphere each year, with the Hong Kong Derby, the Everest, and the Japan Cup all offering significant prize money to the winners. High-quality fields are a given and with many participants traveling half-way across the world in order to take their chance, this trio of fruitful contests continue to go from strength to strength.