Friday 20 October 2017

76 Irish thoroughbreds flown to China as horse racing links take off

One of the horses being transported on a Boeing 747 cargo plane from Shannon Airport to Beijing. Photo: PA
One of the horses being transported on a Boeing 747 cargo plane from Shannon Airport to Beijing. Photo: PA

David Young

Seventy six thoroughbred horses have been flown to Beijing in the largest ever single export of Irish racing bloodstock to China.

The animals transported in the €3m airlift have all been purchased by Chinese businessman Zhang Yuesheng. The transaction has been hailed as a major leap into the lucrative Chinese market. To date, more than 90pc of thoroughbreds imported into China have been sourced from Australia and New Zealand.

The horses were bought from Irish breeders on behalf of Mr Yuesheng by Kildare-based bloodstock agency BBA Ireland.

They were flown in a Boeing 747 cargo plane from Shannon airport with a team of professional flying grooms and a vet. On arrival, the horses were transported to stables where they will go into training before debuting in Chinese races.

BBA Ireland worked in conjunction with Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, the not-for-profit, Government-backed company that promotes Ireland as a leading source of quality thoroughbreds worldwide.

"This is really good business for the Irish equine industry, not least for small breeders from whom most of these horses were purchased," Declan Murray, managing director at BBA Ireland, said.

Irish Independent

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