Racing New South Wales’ plans to host a Breeders Cup style festival highlighted by the $6 million Sydney International Champions Cup have already hit a roadblock with respected Hong Kong-based journalist Alan Aitken questioning whether the race would be able to attract high quality international gallopers.
News Limited released details of the new-look Sydney autumn carnival this morning that could see twelve Group 1 races contested at Randwick over a fortnight and the renamed Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) become the most valuable race in New South Wales.
It was reported ‘the carnival is well-placed to attract the best gallopers from Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore’ but former Sydney Morning Herald Racing Journalist Alan Aitken, who now works at the South China Morning Post, took to Twitter to argue that this would not be the case.
“Build all they like: won’t get a horse from HK, Japan so from where,” Aitken questioned.
“Int. racing isn’t a given for participation, Japan has scores of Int. races – nobody goes.
“Japanese can’t get there in spring why is autumn more likely.”
Aitken argued that the lengthy quarantine period required for horses to get into Australia from Hong Kong and Japan would keep all the leading Asian horses away.
Connections of star gallopers from these countries would be limited to one run in Sydney and because of the time required in quarantine would miss out on the opportunity to attend other lucrative race meetings including the Dubai World Cup Night, which offers a total purse of $27.25 million including the $10 million Group 1 Dubai World Cup – the world’s richest horse race.
Other major international races that could clash with the plans to attract international quality horses for Sydney International Champions Cup are the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong in April and the Singapore International Cup in May.
These racing jurisdictions have much more relaxed quarantine laws and according to Aitken connections have the opportunity to have their horses attend all three events.
Long-time Melbourne racing journalist Danny Power from thethoroughbred.com.au echoed Aitken’s sentiments.
“I doubt HKJC would take too kindly if HK’s best horses missed QU II Cup for a race in Oz,” Power posted on Twitter.
“If it doesn’t work, which is probable, it will be a total disaster.”
Racing New South Wales have refused to comment on the autumn carnival proposal.
“I’m under a confidentiality regime and I won’t be making any comment,” Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys told News Limited last night.