21st September 2013

With representatives from all corners of the globe the first internationally endorsed thoroughbred event was held in Mainland China today. The inaugural 2013 China Equine Cultural Festival Race Day burst into life under sunny skies in Hohhot, China and, by the end of a day of colour, celebration and star power those on track left with smiles and aspirations of what may be.

Core to the goals of promoters, the China Horse Club and the Hohhot Sports Bureau, was a desire to bring racing excitement to a new audience at this first offering. And with world class jockeys and trainers and with thoroughbreds from both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere the occasion met its mark.

Jockeys Joao Moreira (Brazil), Kevin Shea (South Africa), Thierry Thulliez (France), Danny Beasley (Australia), Gavin Lerena (South Africa), Michael Cahill (Australia), Darryll Holland (Great Britain), Jim Byrne (Australia), S’MangaKhumalo (South Africa), Ryan Wiggins (Australia), KB Soo (Malaysia) and Ryan Plumb (Australia) provided star power on the track while Longines Ambassador and movie star, Aaron Kwok, was charismatic off the track, with crowds swarming at every occasion.

Joining them were stewards, racing officials, race day staff, veterinarians, trainers, training staff, sponsors, vendors and media from all corners of the globe.

“The response to the CECF Race Meeting has been tremendous. It is an important step for China and the emergence of a thoroughbred industry here," said Mr Teo Ah Khing, Chairman of the co-host China Horse Club today.

"Our friends from other thoroughbred regions have provided fantastic support and we thank them for it. Not only have the Singapore Turf Club, Irish Turf Club, France Galop, Macau Jockey Club and Arena Racing provided staff for today, but we have had on track Mr Louis Romanet (President of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities), His Excellency Professor Joseph Deiss (Former President of the United Nations General Assembly), Mr Juan-Carlos Capelli (Vice-President and Head of International Marketing for Longines), John Warren (Bloodstock Advisor to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth), Eddie Irwin (Financial Director of Coolmore), Sir Owen Glenn (Founder of the Glenn Family Foundation), Lord Howard of Lympne (Chairman of Arena Racing), Mark Webster (Managing Director of Inglis), Antony Thompson (Chairman of Aushorse), Rogers Beasley (Vice-President of Racing at Keeneland) and world class riders and vendors. We are very thankful for their support.”

On the track riding honours were shared between fourinternational riders (three from the Singapore Turf Club) while Ireland’s Coolmore’swere the star vendor with three of the four winners coming from their team. The Irish also found a silver lining in the win of Nassau (Aus) in the Longines Mile with the mare a daughter of Coolmore’s very own Rock of Gibraltar.

The RMB 1,000,000 Pengxin National Breeders Cup (1600m) proved to be a one act affair with Beat of the Drum (Ire) leading throughout for KB Soo (Malaysia) in the most dominant display of the day. The three-year-old filly has thrived in China under the care of her trainer Gerard Houriganand his team, producing a career best performance in the feature event. Australian Hales (Aus) and stakes winner and G1 placegetter Parliament Square (Ire) filled the minor placings.

The staying feature, the RMB 800,000 France Galop Gold Cup (2000m), saw Joao Moreira (Brazil) at his glittering best. The Singapore based superstar slipped off the back off his rivals to dash clear on former French based performer Surrealist (Ire). The colt accounted for ‘stablemates’ Smoke Screen and Everglades Island.

The fairer sex also prevailed in the RMB 500,000 Longines Mile (1600m) with Nassau (Aus) stretching out under the guidance of Danny Beasley (Australia) to defy‘stablemates’ Endzone (Aus) and Alcott (NZ). All three placegetters were prepared by John Thompson and his team.

The sprint feature, the Sir Owen Glenn Spring Cup (1000m), looked set to be in the keeping of the Australians until South Africa’s Gavin Lerena delivered Outpost (Ire) with a well-timed run shoot passed Flaming Aura (Aus) and Vinson Massif (Ire).