HORSE racing's global spotlight will rest on Sha Tin on 9 December when some of the world’s brightest thoroughbred stars will compete at Hong Kong’s premier racecourse for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races 2012.

The four Group 1 races, sponsored for the first time this year by LONGINES, now boast increased total prize money of HK$72 million. The LONGINES Hong Kong Cup carries an increased purse of HK$22 million, both the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase and LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint have improved prize money of HK$15 million and the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile carries a lucrative HK$20 million pool. 25 G1 winners will contest the four championship events, and they represent 9 countries or regions spread across four continents.

A TOTAL of 80 internationally recognized Group 1 winners are among the 267 nominations for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday, 9 December.

The four prestigious Group 1 contests are staged under the LONGINES banner for the first time this year and carry total prize money of HK$72 million, placing the “Turf World Championships” among the top three most lucrative race days on the globe.

This year’s nominations read like a who’s who of thoroughbred superstars with the world’s highest rated horse in training Cirrus Des Aigles, recent Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe heroine Solemia and crack miler Excelebration leading a stellar provisional cast list that represents 13 nations and jurisdictions.

GLORIIOUS is a powerfully-emerging force in the mile ranks, and John Size’s big hope for December’s Longines Hong Kong International Races is all set to make his seasonal return alongside stable mate and Hong Kong Derby hero Fay Fay in Sunday’s (28 October) HKG2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy (Handicap).

Hong Kong’s champion trainer pitches his talented duo into a stellar renewal of the 1600m contest, one that also features Hong Kong’s brilliant Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon – set to shoulder top-weight of 133lbs – and two-time G1 Champions Mile victor Xtension (130lbs) among the 14 entries.

THE Hong Kong Jockey Club has announced that Mr Andrew Harding has been appointed to the newly-created position of Director of Racing Development, with effect from 1 August 2012.

Mr Harding leaves his position as Chief Executive of the Australian Racing Board and will continue in his current role as the Asian Racing Federation (ARF) Secretary-General.

DARREN BEADMAN is on a walking stick and may never ride again.

For the first time revealing the true extent of the injuries he suffered in a barrier trial crash last month, the hall-of-famer told CRAIG YOUNG of the SYDNEY SUN HERALD that the simple act of riding a racehorse again is of little concern.

The 46-year-old jockey is not even allowed to drive a car. He has been inundated with well-wishes from family, racing friends and strangers.

JOHN Ridley has overseen myriad aspects of racing in Hong Kong for the past 18 years, from maintaining the grass on the tracks to managing multimillion-dollar grandstand redevelopments.

Now, the Jockey Club's racing operations director is the logistical mastermind behind what could be the biggest challenge in more than 125 years of racing in Hong Kong - extending the Jockey Club's operations to the mainland.

MICHAEL COX reports in the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST that not only does the Conghua training complex in Guangdong mark the first time the club has established a significant presence beyond Hong Kong's borders, it is a strategic step to help make the long sought-after dream of HKJC-run racing in China a possibility.

THE thoroughbred world's betting benchmark is ominously rattling the co-mingling tin. Hong Kong authorities are even willing to leave the Chinese government behind in a bid to tap into new income streams.

Why else would the thoroughbred betting mecca be willing to set up offshore? asks CRAIG YOUNG, Racing Editor of THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD.

LUKE Nolen, who will participate in the Cathay Pacific International Jockeys’ Championship for the first time next Wednesday, is quiet and reserved by nature. Perhaps even shy would be the public perception.

He prefers to let his deeds in the saddle do the talking and, to that end, he’s made plenty of noise in the past couple of years.

FIRST it was the Whanganui Whizkid, later to become better known as “The Babe” Brent Thomson. Then it was “Billy Idol” alias Shane Dye. Young apprentice jockeys who left their New Zealand homes to take Australia, first, and then the wider racing world by storm.

And now it’s James McDonald - the kid from Kaipaki. He may not be quite as outgoing as his predecessors but few would disagree that he’s the most precocious young talent to emerge from the home of the All Blacks since the time of Thomson and Dye and Lance O’Sullivan (brother of Hong Kong-based trainer Paul).

THE eyes of the racing world will focus on Sha Tin on 11 December when some of the world’s finest thoroughbreds converge on Hong Kong’s premier racecourse for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races 2011.

The four Group 1 races, now with an increase in prize money to HK$20 million for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile to bring it to parity with the CXHK Cup, boast total purses of HK$68 million (US$8.7 million). Twenty six G1 winners will contest the four championship events, and they represent eleven countries on four continents.

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