Australia’s Global Sprint Challenge Suspended in 2018

Kerrin McEvoy returns to the mounting yard aboard Redzel after winning the Darley Classic at Flemington Racecourse on November 11, 2017 in Flemington, Australia. (John Donegan/Racing Photos)

18 January 2018, Racing Victoria ~ Due to the restrictions placed on the movement of horses between Hong Kong and Australia, organisers have taken the decision to suspend the Global Sprint Challenge in 2018, with a view to resuming the series in 12 months’ time.

With these restrictions – which were imposed late last year – likely to have a continued impact on equine movement in 2018, the Global Sprint Challenge will not take place until 2019.

“The partners in the Global Sprint Challenge felt it would be unfair to stage a series of races in which some horses were unable to compete in certain legs, therefore we have regrettably decided to suspend the Challenge in 2018,” said Leigh Jordon, Global Sprint Challenge Committee Chairman.

“However, the partners remain committed to the Challenge, which operates in a sphere where intercontinental horse movement is particularly strong.

“Once the restrictions between Hong Kong and Australia have been lifted, we intend to re-launch with a bigger and better series in 2019.

“The break also gives us the chance to review the current format, bonus structure and sponsorship, and to explore some exciting new marketing initiatives.”

The Global Sprint Challenge was inaugurated in 2005 with the aim of bringing together the fastest horses from around the world to compete in Group 1 sprint races. Last year the series staged ten races across Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai, Japan and England, offering more than US$12 million in bonuses and prize money. []

Details: In September 2017 the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) decided to suspend the movement of horses between Hong Kong and Australia.

“The DAWR has informed the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) that it intends to suspend horse movements to Australia from 2 October 2017 pending a review of the biosecurity controls related to the Equine Disease Free Zone (EDFZ) between Hong Kong and Conghua in the Chinese Mainland. The HKJC is scheduled to open the Conghua Training Centre (CTC) in the third quarter of 2018.

Implications of this suspension include:

Horses cannot be transported directly from Hong Kong to Australia for participation in racing events or for retirement purposes.
Australian horses will not be permitted to travel to compete in Hong Kong’s international races.
Hong Kong horses transported to Australia via New Zealand will require 180 days residency in New Zealand.