In 2008 a new Triple Crown series burst onto the international racing scene, this time proudly brought to you by the region of Macau, China's second special administrative region after Hong Kong. The three races are all held at Macau's Taipa Racecourse.
In its first year of running, 2008, the Triple Crown consisted of the Director's Cup, the Macau Cup and the Macau Gold Cup; the latter being the only Group 1 race of the series. As it is tradition the races were open for three-year-old colts and fillies.
In 2009 however, the Macau Jockey Club (MJC) changed the rules, opening the competition to four-year-olds - distinguishing Macau as the only country hosting a Triple Crown for over-threes. While the Macau Gold Cup was kept as a part of the competition, the other two series were replaced - in the spirit of traditionalism - with the Macau Guineas and the Macau Derby.
Thus far there have been no Macau Triple Crown champions; however, as the race is only in its third series in 2010, hope remains that there will be a champion in the near future.
The Macau Guineas is held in March at the Taipa Racecourse. It is run over a distance of 1500 metres, a little over one mile, and offers an impressive purse of HK$ 800,000. It's inaugural race, in 2009, was won by Sunshine Sure Win, ridden by Manoel Nunes.
The Macau Derby, the newly appointed second leg of the Macau Triple Crown series, takes place in May, also at Taipan Racecourse. The distance of the Macau Derby measures 1800 metres, about 1 ½ miles, and awards the startling prize money of HK$2.6 million, which makes it the most valuable of the three Triple Crown races. It was also won by Sunshine Sure Win in 2009, who seemed set to become the first Macau Triple Crown Champion before falling short in the final race.
The Macau Gold Cup is the only original race of from the 2008 Macau Triple Crown series. It is staged in late May and runs over a distance of 1800 metres, roughly 1 ½ miles. The purse of the Macau Gold Cup is worth HK$1.2 million. While this seems a little odd next to the massive purse of the second leg of the Macau Triple Crown, the MJC offers a HK$1 million bonus should a horse win the entire series, bumping up the prize money considerably.