Hong Kong International Races

HKIR 2023

International Betting Guide
Date Sunday, December 10, 2023
Location Sha Tin Racecourse
Address Sha Tin District, Hong Kong
Group One Races Hong Kong Cup, Hong Kong Sprint, Hong Kong Mile, Hong Kong Vase

THE Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) is one of the world’s most lucrative racedays and the last true international meet of the calendar year.

As the name suggests, the HKIR is a truly international event. The cream of the crop from around the world travel to Sha Tin Racecourse in search of fame and fortune, and the acclaim that comes with registering a group one title in Hong Kong elevates the competitors to champion status.

There are four group one races ran over varying distances across the HKIR, which means punters get to see top-tier sprinters and stayers competing for champion status in the same day.

Also read:

Best bookmakers for HKIR 2023 betting

Any bookmaker worth their salt knows how important the HKIR are and frame their markets accordingly.

Below you can find comprehensive reviews on the bookmakers we trust, and each and every one of these companies has markets up well in advance of the international raceday.

United States Best HKIR Bookies

Best HKIR Bookies

Group One Racing on Hong Kong International Races Day

    • Distance 2000m
    • Prize money HK$36 million
    • Conditions 3yos and upwards

    Inaugurated in 1988, the Hong Kong Cup has undergone a multitude of changes since its inception.
    Originally ran over the 1800m distance, the journey was upped to 2000m in 1999 – the same year the race achieved Group 1 status. The Hong Kong Cup is currently the world’s richest 2000m turf race in the world.

    • Distance 1600m
    • Prize money HK$32 million
    • Conditions 3yos and upwards

    Originally ran in 1991 as the Hong Kong International Bowl, the Hong King Mile was originally over the 1400m distance. The race was eventually upgraded to the mile trip in 1999, the same year it received Group 1 status.

    • Distance 1200m
    • Prize money HK$26 million
    • Conditions 3yos and upwards

    Originally contested over the 1000m, the Hong Kong Sprint was the world’s richest race over that distance before it was upgraded to the current journey in 2006. Obtaining Group 1 status in 2002, the event sits comfortably as one of the premiere sprint races in the world.

    • Distance 2400m
    • Prize money HK$24 million
    • Conditions 3yos and upwards

    The freshest of the four group one races, the Hong Kong Vase was first run in 1994, and six years later was promoted to Group 1 status.

Leading jockeys in HKIR history

With so many talented horses racing in the Hong Kong International Races – more and more of the best jockeys are coming out to race. It’s no surprise to see Frankie Dettori at the top of the list of most successful hoops.

  • Frankie Dettori

    It’s little surprise to see Italian superstar Frankie Dettori’s name when it comes to champion jockeys taking part in HKIR.

    Regarded as the world’s best jockey, Dettori has recorded wins in three of the four group ones of the HKIR, including his 2004 triumph in the Hong Kong Mile, two victories in the Hong Kong Vase (1996 and 2010) as well as a record three successes in the Hong Kong Cup (2000, 2003 and 2007).

  • Olivier Peslier

    French sensation Olivier Peslier didn’t earn the nickname ‘Magic Peslier’ for nothing.

    Piloting horses to eight separate wins over three of the four HKIR races, Peslier has won the Hong Kong Vase a record four times (1995, 1999, 2007 and 2008), the two Hong Kong Mile successes (1999 and 2005) before taking out the Hong Kong Cup for the first time in 2009.

  • Brett Prebble

    Australian Brett Prebble has made a habit of riding winners in Hong Kong since taking up a riding residency in 2002, and success in the HKIR has been no exception.

    Prebble has won the most Hong Kong Sprint’s in the race’s history (2006, 2008 and 2011).

Most successful HKIR trainers

  • Tony Cruz

    A former star jockey in his own right, Tony Cruz has gone on to claim six HKIR titles – Hong Kong Mile (2003, 2010) Hong Kong Sprint (2003, 2004) Hong Kong Cup (2011, 2012) – across his prolific training career. As of 2017, the only race the veteran has not registered a win in is the Hong Kong Sprint.

    Beauty Only
    Beauty Only handed trainer Tony Cruz his sixth HKIR title after winning the 2016 Hong Kong Mile

  • Saeed bin Suroor

    Godolphin gun Saeed bin Suroor has nearly completed the HKIR foursome, recording wins in every group one event expect the Hong Kong Sprint. The only race he was won multiple times is the Hong Kong Cup (2000 and 2007), which complements his 2004 Hong King Mile win and his 2010 success in the Hong Kong Vase.

  • John Moore

    Australian trainer John Moore is another trainer that has won three out of the four group one titles throughout the HKIR. Two Hong Kong Mile wins (2011 and 2014) and single wins in the Hong Kong Sprint in 2008 and the Hong Kong Vase in 2013 place him in rarefied air.

Hong Kong International Races Timeline

  • 1988
    The first-ever Hong Kong Cup is run and won by Flying Dancer, which was owned by Lim Por Yen and trained by Ping Chee Kan.
  • 1991
    The Hong Kong Mile is run, initially over the 1400m trip to mark the staging of the 22nd Asian Racing Conference.
  • 1992
    Horses from all over the globe are allowed to compete in the Hong Kong Cup after Japan becomes the last jurisdiction to be granted the right to compete in the Cup.
  • 1994
    Red Bishop takes out the inaugural running of the Hong Kong Vase in a record time of 2:25.10.
  • 1999
    The Hong Kong Sprint is introduced. Fairy King Prawn took out the first-ever running of the event over the 1200m distance.

    In the same year the Hong Kong Cup is elevated to 2000m and is given group one status, while the Hong Kong Mile also gained group one status while changing its distance to the 1600m journey.

  • 2000
    The Hong Kong Vase is promoted to a group one race.
  • 2002
    The Hong Kong Sprint is elevated to group one status, completing the quartet of top-tier races throughout the HKIR
  • 2003
    Silent Witness claimed its first-ever group one crown by winning the Hong Kong Sprint. The horse would go on to win another eight G1 titles.
  • 2007
    Good Ba Ba won its first Hong Kong Mile in 2007 and went on to claim two more HKIR wins in the following two years to become the first and only horse to achieve three HKIR wins.
  • 2011
    Dunaden claimed the Hong Kong Vase and in the process became the first horse to complete the Melbourne Cup/Hong Kong Vase double.
  • 2012
    California Memory became the only horse in Hong Kong Cup history to win the race more than once after successfully defending its 2011 crown.
  • 2014
    Able Friend pulled off an astonishing four and a quarter length victory in the 2014 Hong Kong Mile, earning a rating of 127, the highest international rating ever achieved by a Hong Kong-trained racehorse.
  • 2015
    Highland Reel hands champion English trainer Aidan O’Brien his first-ever HKIR success in the Hong Kong Vase
  • 2016
    Japan’s Noriyuki Hori became the first overseas trainer to win two HKIR events in one day when Satono Crown took the Hong Kong Vase and Maurice won the Hong Kong Cup.
  • 2017
    Superstar jockey Zac Purton claims his first Hong Cup after steering home Time Warp in the Group 1 event to complete a sweep of all four HKIR races on Hong Kong’s big day.
  • 2018
    It was a local’s delight in 2018! Each of Beauty Generation, Mr Stunning, Exultant and Glorious Forever captured the four Group 1 events on HKIR day, and it was the first time four local gallopers won each of the featured events on the big day at Sha Tin.
  • 2019
    It was the locals in 2018, and then it was the Japnese’s turn in 2019 when they snared three of the four major events which saw Win Bright, Admire Mars and GLory Vase take out the Hong Kong Cup, Hong Mile and Hong Kong Vase respectively.
  • 2020
    Local marvel Golden Sixty made it 14 wins from 15 starts when taking out the Hong Kong Mile as a $1.30 favourite.
  • 2021
    Golden Sixty landed his second Hong Kong Mile is his typical fashion, but that was just it; it was typical.
  • 2022
    Ryan Moore landed further HKIR success when guiding Wellington to success in the Sprint, whilst California Spangle denied Golden Sixty a third straight win in the Mile.
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