Chinese mavericks set to amaze global racing world

Updated: 2014-09-13 07:54

By Mei Ling Young(China Daily)

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Chinese mavericks set to amaze global racing world 

Horses and riders at an equestrian club in Beijing. CHINA DAILY 

For example, standard-sized horse trailers are forbidden on expressways, and the country has just one Equine Disease Free Zone (Conghua City of Guangdong province), meaning that horses imported for international meetings are unlikely to be reaccepted by their home countries.

Teo says it is the ambition of the China Horse Club to change this: "We are in the business of starting an industry, not just a club."

Pedigree is paramount among thoroughbreds, with the offspring of successful racehorses commanding astronomical prices. According to Fu Peipei, the CHC's Customer Relationship Manager, "Most people in China think the income comes from betting, but for horse owners, the real money comes from breeding."

An indigenous thoroughbred nursery industry is vital to a self-sustaining horseracing industry. For China to compete at an international level, an initial investment in high-quality bloodstock is needed, and the right training.

Fu says that in China some horse buyers don't care about how much they spend. "They may fly overseas several times to visit stables and spend a huge amount on buying good horses, only to keep them for show and not train them. For this reason some overseas stables are hesitant about selling to Chinese buyers," said Fu.

Teo adds that in recent years his team has seen more Chinese at the yearling auctions, but they rarely go for high-value horses, they just wait for the rejects. Chinese buyers tend to buy horses in number, but low quality will be perpetuated down the generations, he said.

Thus, a key part of the CHC's mission is to educate its members. Prospective owners can become minor shareholders before graduating to a full purchase.

Eden Harrington, general manager, says that the club's horses are carefully selected so that "members just dipping their toes into the racing world have a good experience" with healthy, proven thoroughbreds.

So far, the CHC is the only club in China to race domestically and abroad. It has 39 horses in China running domestic races. In addition, it also has horses in five other jurisdictions around the world: Australia, the US, France, Ireland and Singapore. Each is a premium racing location, within reach of other premium racing locations, which enables easy transport, the club says.

While CHC resources and aims are expansive, its top-tier membership is limited to just 2,000.

"With horses, it's a worldwide commodity that we're dealing in that is universally coveted, and it's not just an exciting sport but also a great connector of people," Warren says.