The Hong Kong Jockey Club on Thursday announced insurance brand FWD as the new title sponsor for FWD Champions Day, one of the world’s top 10 richest race days.
FWD Champions Day is scheduled for Sunday, 28 April at Sha Tin Racecourse and the marquee fixture will carry prize money of HK$70 million across its 10 races. The premier day’s three Group 1 feature contests are the HK$24 million FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m), the HK$18 million FWD Champions Mile (1600m) and the HK$16 million Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m).
Each of the three Group 1 contests on FWD Champions Day ranks among the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities’ (IFHA) World’s Top 100 Group 1 Races.
Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “The Jockey Club and FWD share similar values and we are delighted to welcome them as title sponsor to this exciting event. Hong Kong racing is high-end lifestyle entertainment synonymous with the style and pace of the city. This event continues our effort to raise the Hong Kong brand globally and I would like to take this opportunity to thank FWD for joining us in this new partnership.”
Mr. Ken Lau, FWD Managing Director of Greater China and Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer, said: “ Horse racing is one of Hong Kong’s most established and world-class activities, and the unique atmosphere created by Hong Kong racing alongside the city’s dynamism attracts a huge fan base. We are proud to partner with the Hong Kong Jockey Club to host the FWD Champions Day and together we hope to bring a new level of racing excitement to local and international audiences.”
Last year marked the first time that the Hong Kong Jockey Club staged Champions Day. The Club made a strategic decision to present three of its most prestigious Group 1 contests on one race day, creating another championship occasion to complement its globally-renowned LONGINES Hong Kong International Races, staged in December each year.
The inaugural Champions Day saw Pakistan Star perform brilliantly to win the QEII Cup. Hong Kong’s popular galloper joined an esteemed list of past winners that includes international stars such as Japan’s Neorealism, Rulership and Eishin Preston, Germany’s Silvano, and Jim And Tonic from France, while locally-trained champions on the honour roll include Werther, Ambitious Dragon, Viva Pataca and Vengeance Of Rain.
The Champions Mile has an equally prestigious roll-call of past winners, notably Japan’s champion Maurice, South African star Variety Club and Hong Kong greats Able Friend and Good Ba Ba, while the 2018 renewal went to a horse still in process of creating an impressive legacy, the brilliant Beauty Generation.
Ivictory fulfilled his potential as one of the world’s most exciting young sprinters when winning the Chairman’s Sprint Prize. The contest was opened to international competition as recently as 2016 and has produced stellar results - Australian champion Chautauqua won that initial G1 version. Previous winners include Hong Kong’s world champion sprinters Silent Witness and Sacred Kingdom.
Beauty Generation (AUS) and Zac Purton, picture Liesl King