On behalf of Racing Victoria, it gives me great pleasure to introduce this year’s Global Sprint Challenge.
Established in 2005, the Global Sprint Challenge pits the world’s best sprinters against each other in a 10-race, five country challenge stretching from February to December each year.
The inaugural series comprised of races in Australia, Japan and the UK, with Hong Kong and Dubai subsequently joining the series as the popularity of the unique race series continued to grow, further advancing its goal of bringing together
the world’s best sprinters.
The world’s best horses have been a feature of the series across the past decade. However no horse has been able to secure the US$1 million bonus for winning three legs in three different countries across a calendar year. That doesn’t mean that some horses haven’t gone close, though.
World champion sprinter Black Caviar won a number of legs of the series throughout her undefeated 25-start career, winning numerous GSC legs in Australia before travelling to the UK in 2012 to take out the prestigious Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Japanese speedster Lord Kanaloa successfully won GSC legs in two countries, while Aerovelocity was able to win three legs in three countries, however was not able to string his wins together within the one Global Sprint Challenge series. What he did prove, however, was that the bonus is not far out of reach for the right horse.
The 2017 Global Sprint Challenge kicks off at Flemington Racecourse, Australia, on 18 February with the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) – a race won by the world-beating mare on three occasions that was renamed in her honour in 2013.
This year, the second leg of the Global Sprint Challenge will be held on turf, with the Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) replacing the Dubai Golden Shaheen (dirt) as the United Arab Emirates’ sole leg of the Challenge.
As a result of this programming change, all legs of the Global Sprint Challenge will be held on turf in 2017.
The series then moves to Japan’s Chukyo Racecourse with the Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) on 26 March, before the focus shifts to Hong Kong for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) on 7 May, which was included in the Global Sprint Challenge for the first time in 2016 and won in devastating fashion by Australia’s “thunder from down under”, Chautauqua.
The United Kingdom hosts an uninterrupted trio of sprints in June and July with the King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) on 20 June, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) on 24 June, both at Royal Ascot, and the Darley July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket on 15 July.
The Challenge then returns to Japan for the Sprinters Stakes (1200m) on 1 October before the second Australian leg, the Darley Classic (1200m), is held at Flemington amid the glory of the Melbourne Cup Carnival on 11 November.
The final chance for sprinters to claim Global Sprint Challenge glory comes on 10 December when Hong Kong wraps up the series with the Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin.
As Committee Chairman of the Global Sprint Challenge, it brings me great pride to see the continued development of the series, and I look forward to welcoming horses from across the globe to each leg of the challenge.
In keeping with the Global Sprint Challenge ethos, Racing Victoria has a longstanding and wholehearted commitment to horse racing’s internationalisation at the elite level. That being so, it is a pleasure to partner with fellow racing jurisdictions that are not only synonymous with world class racing but also share the Club’s vision of racing as an international sport.
The Global Sprint Challenge, with its lucrative rewards and attendant prestige, succeeds in encouraging the racing world to take up the challenge and in turn deliver an engaging global narrative to horse racing’s exciting speed division.
I trust you will enjoy another fantastic series in 2017, and hopefully we will see the emergence of a sprinter dominant enough across the globe to secure that US$1 million bonus.
Global Sprint Challenge Committee