| 7°C Dublin

Ireland in deal with China to set up horse racing industry there

Ireland has struck a deal with China to help set up a horse racing industry in the Asian giant.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said the partnership will be worth around 40 million euro to Ireland.

Under the agreement, top Irish stud farm Coolmore - owned by racing tycoon John Magnier and based in Fethard, Co Tipperary - will help China set up a similar operation.

Sited in Tianjin, China's fourth largest city, the planned world-class equine centre will be the first of its kind in the country.

It is due to open for business next year.

The facility will be stocked with broodmares from Ireland, with more than 100 mares to be exported over the next three years. Stallions will also be sent out.

Mr Coveney said while Coolmore was chosen as the initial partner for the venture, there will be huge opportunities for other Irish companies to get involved.

"This initiative should facilitate the development of a major export market for horses from Ireland and has the potential to provide a range of business opportunities for companies and individuals in Ireland who can bring a wide range of expertise to the project," he said, during a trade mission to China.

The deal will also see Coolmore hosting seven of China's top agriculture graduates on two-month stays to learn about the horse racing industry.

John Magnier's son JP said: "This industry is something we are good at, and today one of the biggest markets in the world has recognised that and has chosen to partner with Ireland."