World Pool, the globe’s largest commingled horse racing pools created and powered by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), will be extended further in 2023 with the addition of major fixtures, including Lightning Stakes Day in Australia, The Saudi Cup and the Irish Derby.
Following the successful introduction of World Pool Moment of the Year in 2022 in Great Britain and Ireland, this has now been extended to all global World Pool meetings and will reward stable staff with a total of over HK$1 million (approx. £103,000) in prizes, as well as a VIP trip to Hong Kong, thanks to additional funding from the HKJC, UK Tote Group, Racecourse Media Group (RMG) and Ascot Racecourse.
Starting on Saturday 28 January with Met Day at Kenilworth in South Africa, the first meeting where racing fans from over 20 countries will be able to bet into the World Pool, and ending on Melbourne Cup Day on 7 February in Australia, one World Pool Moment of the Day will be selected at each World Pool meeting to win a prize of £4,000 (HK$38,785).
Each winning groom from the season’s 25 World Pool days will also enter the chance to be named World Pool Moment of the Year and win a VIP trip for four to Hong Kong for either the 2024 Hong Kong Derby or 2024 FWD Champions Day.
The 25 individual World Pool Moment of the Day winners will be narrowed down to a final four by a panel of global racing experts, before being voted on by the public for World Pool Moment of the Year, which will be revealed at the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin in December.
Last year’s World Pool Moment of the Year winner was Alpinista and winning groom Annabel Willis, who lit up the Knavesmire at York Racecourse when landing the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks before going on to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The Saudi Cup and Lightning Stakes to make World Pool debuts in Q1 2023
Lightning Stakes Day at Flemington on 18 February and Saudi Cup night in Riyadh on 25 February have been confirmed as the two new additions to the first quarter of World Pool races for 2023.
The opening quarter of the year now boasts five fixtures, with two visits to Meydan for Super Saturday (4 March) and Dubai World Cup Night (25 March), as well as the aforementioned Met Day (28 January) at Kenilworth.
Irish Derby and Lockinge Stakes among 18 UK and Irish World Pool events
For the first time, World Pool will be in operation at Newbury Racecourse in the UK with two races added to the World Pool season on Lockinge Stakes Day on 20 May, while Irish Derby Day is also set to feature amongst 18 UK and Irish events on 2 July. Coverage of Irish Derby Day will also include the Deutsches Derby at Hamburg-Horn, marking the first World Pool race from Germany.
In 2022, World Pool betting turnover hit a new high of HK$6 billion (approx. £622m), up from HK$4.8 billion (approx. £498m) in 2021, across the 21 racedays that were commingled, while Derby Day at Epsom recorded the single highest day of turnover with HK$66.1 million (approx. £6.8m) – *note: turnover is recorded in HK$, and approximate pound sterling figures are therefore based on current exchange rates.
Michael Fitzsimons, Executive Director Wagering Products of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “We were absolutely thrilled with the results from our 21 World Pool meetings in 2022 and are excited to be extending that offering to 25 days this year.
“Having Australia and Saudi Arabia on the fixture list of 2023 World Pool meetings is another important step in the globalisation of World Pool, while adding some high-profile British and Irish meetings to the schedule is another exciting advancement.
“To complement our expanding list of World Pool meetings are the Moment of the Day and Moment of the Year initiatives, which for the first time will reward winning stable staff from all countries hosting World Pool races.
“Last year’s launch of the competition in the UK and Ireland was met with great feedback from yards across the region and we look forward to opening that up to our World Pool days in South Africa, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Dubai.”
Alex Frost, Chief Executive of the UK Tote Group, said: “We are looking forward to another World Pool season which now extends its reach across eight countries worldwide. For the UK and Ireland, it is welcome to see new additions to this year’s schedule, with two races from Newbury’s Lockinge Day added, along with Irish Derby Day, taking World Pool events hosted in the UK and Ireland to a total of 18.
“The ambitions for a global wagering platform are already being realised with over 20 pool betting operators now part of World Pool. Last year alone, the UK and Ireland saw record turnover of £521 million across 17 World Pool events, showcasing the best of our racing to a global audience, ensuring an improved value proposition for our own wagering customers and creating a more sustainable funding mechanism for horseracing in the future, with additional income for our racecourse partners.
“Our continued thanks go to our partners the Hong Kong Jockey Club, and in collaboration with RMG and Ascot, we are delighted to see Moment of the Day and Moment of the Year now extended to include all countries hosting World Pool races.”
Martin Stevenson, Chief Executive Officer of Racecourse Media Group (RMG), which represents the media interests of The Jockey Club, Newbury, Goodwood, and York racecourses, said: “RMG is delighted to partner with Hong Kong Jockey Club, UK Tote and our racecourses to bring 11 high-quality British and Irish days to the innovative and important World Pool schedule.
“RMG looks forward to working with all the parties in growing both the sport’s revenues and global appeal. We’re also excited to see the World Pool Moment of the Day and Year awards increase in prize money and evolve into a global initiative for stable staff – the real unsung heroes of our sport.”
Alastair Warwick, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ascot Racecourse, said: “It’s fantastic to see this truly global expansion of the meetings included in the World Pool for 2023. The continued growth of World Pool since launching at Royal Ascot in 2019 has been very impressive and hugely important for British racing. We look forward to being involved again across our major meetings this year.”
Gregory Bortz, the Executive Chairman of Cape Racing, the operator of racing in the Western Cape of South Africa, said: “We are honoured to have WSB Met Day, one of the biggest and most prestigious days on the South African racing calendar, be included as a World Pool event. We believe the sight and sounds of nineteen of our finest equine athletes competing for this prestigious Grade 1 race, with the views and sounds of Cape Town playing out in the background, will make for an unforgettable experience for the countless racing enthusiasts around the globe betting into the World Pool.
“The Hong Kong Jockey Club represents the gold standard for racing operators around the world, and we at Cape Racing look forward to following their lead by ensuring our top-class racing provides the entertainment and turnover befitting of World Pool status.”
Provisional World Pool events to be hosted on the following days in 2023:
Saturday 28: Met Day – Kenilworth Racecourse, South Africa
Saturday 18: Black Caviar Lightning Race Day – Flemington Racecourse, Australia
Saturday 25: Saudi Cup – King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Saturday 4 March: Super Saturday – Meydan Racecourse, Dubai
Saturday 25 March: Dubai World Cup – Meydan Racecourse, Dubai
Other key fixtures will be finalised later in the year, but major meetings including Royal Ascot, King George Day, Goodwood Festival, York Ebor Meeting, British Champions Day and Melbourne Cup Day will also form part of World Pool 2023.