8 Oct 2014

Mongolia keen on NZ thoroughbreds

7:19 am on 8 October 2014

An emerging market for New Zealand thoroughbred horses has opened in Inner Mongolia in Northern China.

Over the past 18 months, 400 New Zealand-bred horses have been shipped to the province.

A horse running in a paddock.

Photo: PHOTO NZ

Chief executive of New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing Andrew Birch said the horses had been bought by a group keen to establish a serious horse racing circuit in the region.

"I've actually been racing up there, so they do have a fairly basic track at this stage and they're looking to build a brand new race course over the next two years.

"Their track is currently a 1000 metre dirt track, which is a little bit tight turning from our perspective, but it's certainly a good start.

"You've only got to go back 35 years - Hong Kong was fairly primitive in its foundations and now they've become a racing super power. And I guess if China continues to become increasingly more westernised, then I see no reason why they wouldn't get involved in horse racing in a big way."

Mr Birch said the free trade agreement means there is an import tax advantage available for horses sold into China.

He said that country ever got seriously involved in racing, it could easily buy every single horse in New Zealand.