Leading global racing officials visited the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Conghua Racecourse on Monday (10 December) for a glimpse of the future of the sport in Hong Kong and equestrian pursuits in the Mainland as a whole.
The party made the 200km trip north from Hong Kong after attending Sunday’s HK$93 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Chief Executive Officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges led the two-hour tour along with Andrew Harding (Executive Director, Racing) and William Nader (Director of Racing Business and Operations) and guests’ reactions provided a ringing endorsement of the HK$3.7 billion project.
Louis Romanet, Chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, described the Conghua site as “truly exceptional,” while Racing Australia Chief Executive Officer Barry O’Farrell summed it up as “world class and revolutionary.”
Dr Makoto Inoue, Vice-Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation and the JRA’s Presidential Counsellor for International Affairs, said “the Jockey Club always has a vision of how to move forward,” while Ascot Racecourse Chief Executive Officer Guy Henderson declared “this is a gamechanger.”
John Ridley, the Club’s Director of Racing Capital Projects, conducted the tour which started at Conghua’s equine swimming pool. An inspection of the sweeping turf and all-weather tracks followed, viewed from high in the Trainers’ Stand.
A close look at the 1100m uphill turf gallop came next, and then a swift downhill swing to see 20 tranquil spelling paddocks. A move indoors took the group around an inspection of an ultra-modern equine hospital narrated by the Club’s Head of Veterinary Clinical Services Dr. Chris Riggs.
Next up came a visit to the blacksmith’s forge and the upper level of a two-storey stable block, complete with stallion boxes, followed by a trip to the Rehab Stable’s equine spa and water treadmill. The tour rounded off with a visit to the luxurious new Owners’ Lounge.