FWD Champions Day delivers fantastic Group 1 sport

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of the Hong Kong Jockey Club (2nd left), Andrew Harding, Executive Director, Racing (2nd right); Bill Nader, Director of Racing Business and Operations (1st left); and Nigel Gray, Head of Handicapping, Race Planning and International Racing (1st right), toast a successful FWD Champions Day.
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Beauty Generation dazzled, Win Bright shone and Beat The Clock scorched the turf on FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin Racecourse today, Sunday, 28 April.

A crowd of 44,564 – the second-highest in the past decade – enjoyed the thrill of three Group 1 contests, with Hong Kong champion Beauty Generation receiving a rapturous reception after cruising to an imperious win in the HK$18 million FWD Champions Mile.

Turnover of HK$1.449 billion was marginally down on Champions Day 2018 but was still the second-highest ever.

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Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Today was the second edition of Champions Day and the name lived up to all the expectation. We have seen real champions today at a wonderful sporting event.”

Beauty Generation set a new record for most wins in a Hong Kong season with his eighth success this term and also surpassed Viva Pataca’s all-time prize money record, taking his earnings to HK$84.77 million.

Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges noted the athletic brilliance of Hong Kong’s world-acclaimed champion.

“If you see a real champion, it is something special,” he said. “Beauty Generation dominated that race and the sections he ran were fantastic: he ran, practically unextended, the last section in 22.36 seconds, which is amazing.”

The Club’s CEO was “extremely happy” with the afternoon’s sport which he said was “a platform which we can build on.”

He continued: “We are aiming to make this race day a similar flagship to the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races in December. We know that the timing is more challenging, especially as the European season is just starting, but if you look at today’s races, we are very satisfied with the quality of the horses we saw competing here. We had 15 international Group 1 winners including the world’s best miler and co-top rated horse Beauty Generation, and the world’s highest-rated sprinter Santa Ana Lane.

“The (HK$16 million) Chairman’s Sprint Prize was a fantastic race. It was not run to suit Santa Ana Lane but it was a terrific winning performance from Beat The Clock.

“We saw a lot of depth in the (HK$24 million) FWD QEII Cup and Win Bright put in an extraordinary performance for Japan. It’s important we have overseas horses coming and winning and we are very happy to have seen some exceptional performances today.”