Ireland signs racing & breeding contract with China

Horse Racing Ireland has stolen a march on the rest of the world with the announcement it has signed a US$2 billion deal with China to develop an equine breeding and training facility at Tianjin.

The Tianjin Equine Culture City will open in 2013.  It marks the first Chinese government involvement with an overseas joint-venture in racing and breeding.

The racing venture will require between 600 and 800 horses for its inaugural year which is targeted to have around 40 race days.  Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and its bloodstock industry will ship over 100 broodmares and a selection of stallions over the next three years to lay the foundations for a domestic breeding operation.

Coolmore Stud will play a key role as an initial joint-venture partner.  “We are delighted to be one of the first Irish companies to kick-start this partnership and represent Ireland’s hugely successful horse breeding and racing industries,” Coolmore’s J P Magnier said.  “It’s the culmination of huge efforts by the Irish Government who have been trying to develop new trade links with China.”

The facility will encompass two racetracks, five training tracks, 150 training bases, 4,000 horse stalls, horse clinic, equestrian college and an auction house.  It will occupy a 3.3 million square metre site in Tianjin which is China’s fourth most populated city.

“HRI has an international marketing wing and we’ve been entertaining delegations from China for some years,” HRI director Michael O’Rourke said.  “They’ve seen our stud farms, come to our sales and have been saying very nice things about us.

“Coolmore Stud is recognised as a world leader in thoroughbred breeding and is to be commended for its involvement in this major project.”