The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Executive Officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges has saluted Hong Kong’s “can-do” spirit and commitment after another successful staging of the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races (HKIR), which saw Group 1 glory shared between Japan and Hong Kong at Sha Tin on Sunday (12 December).
On a day when Golden Sixty charged into Hong Kong racing history with a record 19th win in the jurisdiction with a triumphant defence of his LONGINES Hong Kong Mile crown, Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges pointed to Hong Kong’s ability to compete with racing super-powers with much larger horse populations.
“Hong Kong has a horse population of 1,350 horses and we hold our own against the best in the world, we compete successfully against countries with a horse population of 8,000 or 14,000,” Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges said. “It is something Hong Kong can be very proud of.
“Golden Sixty is an incredible horse and he again showed today what a phenomenal horse he is. Francis Lui and Vincent Ho have done an incredible job and now he has bettered the record he shared with Beauty Generation and Silent Witness.”
Golden Sixty eclipsed world-class opposition to provide Hong Kong with pride and joy, Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
Caspar Fownes and Blake Shinn combined with Sky Field to win the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint, while Japan struck twice through Glory Vase (LONGINES Hong Kong Vase) and Loves Only You (LONGINES Hong Kong Cup).
The pair had previously prevailed at the HKIR.
“Today is a day which had tremendous sporting success and this is something everybody in the Club should be proud of,” Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges said. “There are people you do not see who make a big commitment to the Club and to this event.
“I am extremely grateful for their contributions and I commend them for their dedication.
“I also thank the Government for trusting us to stage LONGINES HKIR in such trying circumstances. The closed-loop racing bubble has worked extremely well.
“As wonderful as the racing was today, we also had the unfortunate and tragic circumstances in the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint, where there was an accident. Our thoughts are with the injured jockeys and we wish Zac Purton, Lyle Hewitson and Yuichi Fukunaga a speedy recovery. Nobody likes to see these accidents and the owners of the horses involved are also in our thoughts.”
“If this incident did not happen, it would probably have been one of the greatest achievements of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, to pull something like this off. Sometimes you have setbacks and you have to overcome challenges, which we have always proven to do.
“My thanks go to all the trainers and jockeys, especially from overseas, who have gone through tremendous sacrifices. I want to apologise to the owners because when your horses runs you want to see it but they still supported us, which shows that we have that trust. For us it is extremely important that we stage this event because if we had not staged it you lose your spot in the world scene. We are extremely proud that we have achieved this but there is definitely sadness which over-runs everything.”