World Pool

World Pool Days extended to 25 races to build on 2022 success

In pursuit of its goal of supporting and expanding horse racing, the World Pools has announced the addition of four new race days. 

The World Pool – set up as an international parimutuel betting community by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) – has set up new days in Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Ireland, expanding the number of days to 25 throughout the year.

These are the Australia’s Lightning Stakes Day, The Saudi Cup, South Africa’s Met Day and the Irish Derby, whilst last year’s ‘World Pool Moment of the Year’ concept has been extended to all 25 days. 

Michael Fitzsimons, HKJC Executive Director Wagering Products, 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.”

Targeting growth for the sport, the HKJC, UK Tote Group, Racecourse Media Group (RMG) and Ascot Racecourse invested HK$1m (£103,000) as a prize for ‘Moment of the Year’ winning stable staff. 

The updated schedule will begin with Met Day at South Africa’s Kenilworth racecourse on 28 January, followed by the Lightning Stakes Day at Melbourne’s Flemington on 18 February and the Saudi Cup in Riyadh on 25 February.

In the UK and Ireland, where the ‘Moment of the Year’ was first initiated, one World Pool day has been added in both countries – the Lockinge Stakes Day on 20 May in the former, and the Irish Derby Day on 2 July in the latter. 

In a further international boost for the Pool, Germany’s Deutsches Derby at Hamburg-Horn will be included in coverage of the Irish Derby Day, marking the first World Pool raceday in the country. 

Alex Frost, Chief Executive of the UK Tote Group, remarked: “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 £521m 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 horse racing 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.”

By expanding its international scope, the World Pool aims to capitalise on the successes of last year, which saw turnover hit a new high of HK$6bn (£622m), up from HK$4.8bn (£498m) in 2021. 

Meanwhile, the UK’s Epsom Derby Day recorded the single highest turnover in one day at HK$66.1m (£6.8m), whilst as Frost noted, UK and Ireland-wide turnover for the pool hit £521m.

To read UK Tote Group CEO Alex Frost’s interview with the latest SBC Leaders magazine about the future of horse racing and the role of pool betting, click here

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