A new era in international racing got off to a strong start on day one of Royal Ascot (June 18) with the Hong Kong Jockey Club reporting a significant increase in turnover compared to the corresponding day in 2018.
In partnership with Ascot and Totepool, the HKJC has created the first ever pari-mutuel-based World Pool in which overseas wagers from the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Europe and the USA are commingled into Hong Kong’s pools directly or via Totepool to ensure maximum liquidity for a growing international audience.
Hong Kong has traditionally offered strong pools for Britain’s most famous Flat fixture but opening the market to international customers created significant extra interest, with total turnover on the six-race card up from HK$163.2m (NZ$31.8m) to HK$223.9m (NZ$43.6m).
The year-on-year increase of 37 percent resulted in almost HK$50m (NZ$9.7m) wagered on the Gr.1 St James’s Palace Stakes (1400m) alone as Circus Maximus was returned at 11/1 to complete a double for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.
“It was a very encouraging start, with total turnover of HK$223m (NZ$43.4m) including HK$52m (NZ$10.1m) from our international commingling partners,” HKJC chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
“Our thanks go out to all those who have worked so hard to make our joint vision of World Pools come true and I am convinced that we have a very strong foundation to build on.”
Ascot CEO Guy Henderson was also pleased with the success of the pool.
“It is a tremendous honour to provide the focus for the world’s first truly global pool," he said. "It is gratifying to see such increased engagement with the Hong Kong audience.”
At this stage, the World Pool consists of four markets, namely those for Win, Place, Quinella and Quinella Place. However, Engelbrecht-Bresges feels the scope for expansion is notable.
“In time I hope our next step is to also open up our exotic bets to the World Pool,” he said.
“Exotic pools such as the Tierce (first three in correct order) and Quartet (first four in correct order) offer high liquidity with large dividends and these areas represent another significant growth opportunity.”