For the first time, Hong Kong racing fans will be able to bet on major British Group Ones including the Goodwood Cup, the International Stakes and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes after the Jockey Club confirmed its simulcast schedule for the off-season.
After being granted permission by the government to simulcast 14 extra meetings this year – going from 23 to 37 – the line-up has been revealed with meetings from Britain, France, South Africa and Japan getting the nod.
The move is significant because traditionally no overseas meetings were allowed to be simulcast during the Hong Kong racing off-season, which runs from July 17 to August 31.
That changed last year when a one-off allowance was made for the Kranji Mile card from Singapore, which was postponed to August 18 as a result of Covid-19.
The success of that meeting – with turnover of HK$223.9 million and HK$28.8 million in betting duty going to the government – “reflected the demand for simulcast betting and its popularity among racing fans”, opening the door for more expansion.
Of the extra 14 meetings, 12 are scheduled for the off-season, while two – the NHK Mile Cup day from Tokyo on May 9 and the Eclipse Stakes day from Sandown on July 3 – fit around the normal Hong Kong calendar.
Three days of the famous Glorious Goodwood meeting (July 27, 28 and 29) will be simulcast as well as three days of the Ebor Festival from York (August 18, 19 and 20), while there are two days from Ascot – the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes day (July 24) and the Shergar Cup card (August 7).
There will be three consecutive Sunday programmes from Deauville simulcast, starting with Prix Maurice de Gheest day on August 8, going onto the Prix Jacques le Marois card and finishing with the Prix Jean Romanet meeting.
The lone South African race day to be shown will be the Champions Cup card at Greyville on July 31.
In its proposal to the Betting and Lotteries Commission, the Jockey Club believes those 14 meetings will hold around HK$200 million in turnover each (HK$2.8 billion in total), delivering HK$350 million in additional betting duty for the government.
It also claims it will create 1,100 job opportunities at off-course betting branches and telebet centres, while also helping to combat illegal betting activities.
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