The Hong Kong 2018/2019 season once again ended with increases in several betting categories. Turnover for the finale was HK$1.966 billion, a new record for the card, which caused overall betting turnover to rise by 0.4% to $HK124,819 million from $HK124,282 million, which equates to just over £12.7 billion. Sunday’s attendance was 51,000 bringing the seasonal total to 2.21 million, a rise of 3.3%. Commingling also increased to $HK18,823 million (+13.5%) from $HK16,577 million, or around £1.9 billion, with gross margin rising by 1% to HK$5.54 billion.
“The major growth driver was definitely commingling, which showed fantastic results and increased by 13%,” said Hong Kong Jockey Club Chief Executive Officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges. “But what counts is the gross margin, and, in the circumstances of a challenging environment we are very satisfied that we have seen that increase by 1% to HK$5.54 billion.”
The HKJC also had reason to celebrate the performance of Conghua Racecourse, which opened in August of 2018. A total of 78 winners were prepared at the new training centre, winning 109 races between them. The first raceday at the facility was conducted in March.
“Conghua has far exceeded our expectations,” Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges said. “For the future growth of Hong Kong racing, Conghua is very important. Opening up a facility is one thing but filling it with life and getting acceptance from trainers and owners for such a huge new project is something we knew would be very challenging. This project gives us plenty of opportunities and we have to thank our owners and trainers for making this vision come true and embracing it.
“Our commitment to world-class racing is demonstrated by a significant prize money increase to HK$1.3 billion next season. If you look at average prize money we have the highest in the world and we want to keep that status in order to incentivise owners to bring top class horses here and also to maintain our contributions to the community through tax, employment and last but not least our charity contributions.”