Racing to take place at Conghua training centre in China but without betting
Hong Kong Jockey Club officials on Wednesday announced that the Conghua training centre, based in mainland China and set to be opened in August 2018, will host racing from 2019. However, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of the HKJC, stressed that no betting would take place.
The HKJC has spent HK$3.7 billion (£355,022,708) on the facility, situated an hour from Guangzhou and about four and a half hours by road from Sha Tin, in order to expand the horse population competing in Hong Kong and allow upgrades to be made to stabling facilities at Sha Tin.
But on the matter of the staging of racing – with contests at the two proposed meetings a year recorded in the formbook and run with prize-money on offer – Engelbrecht-Bresges was firm that the development is not intended to encourage the introduction of betting, which is against the law, in mainland China.
He said: "The Conghua training centre has a great potential to enhance Conghua and Guangzhou's branding by hosting showcase racing carnivals to demonstrate our world-class racing and its operations, ranging from world-class horses and jockeys to expertise in horse care.
"However, our development in Conghua is not for introducing racing with betting, especially as it is against the law in the Chinese mainland."
The quality of racing in Hong Kong has soared since the first International meeting in 1988 and it is hoped that this new state-of-the-art training centre will ensure further growth.
Engelbrecht-Bresges said: "By the end of 2016, a record 26 Hong Kong-trained horses were in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, representing eight per cent of the global total, while all 11 of the Club’s Group 1 races were in the World’s Top 100 Group 1 Races. But to ensure our future growth, we identified a need for more modern training facilities.”
In addition to the money spent on the Conghua facility the HKJC has committed HK$1.5 billion (£143,505,000) on renovations at Sha Tin, starting from 2018/19.
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