The ongoing bio-security standoff between the Australian Government and Hong Kong Jockey Club has prompted organisers of the Global Sprint Challenge to suspend the lucrative series in 2018.

Global Sprint Challenge Chairman Leigh Jordon said the restrictions on the movement of horses from Hong Kong to Australia – heightened quarantine procedures were introduced in October after Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources downgraded the quarantine status of Sha Tin due to the construction of the Conghua Training Centre – would make the series unfeasible and unfair on the connections of particular horses.

“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,” Jordon said.

“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.

In 2017, the series staged ten races across Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai, Japan and England, offering more than US$12 million in bonuses and prizemoney although to date, no horse has been able to collect the bonus on offer for winning a nominated race in three individual countries.