After a series of cross-boundary horse movement trial runs over a two-year period, Conghua Training Centre (CTC) became operational today (Tuesday, 12 June) when the first horses to be stabled at CTC arrived at 10:38am to mark the beginning of the Hong Kong Jockey Club's dual-site operations in Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland.
The first shipment of 14 horses departed Sha Tin at 6:30am and arrived at the main entrance of Conghua Training Centre four hours and eight minutes later at 10:38am to take up their new residence. The horses are retired Hong Kong thoroughbreds that belong to the Club's Racing Development Board (RDB) and perform an important role in the education of new staff. The next shipment will take place on Thursday (14 June) when 21 RDB horses cross the boundary on their journey to Conghua.
This major achievement paves the way for Hong Kong Jockey Club racehorses currently in training to make the move to CTC next month. The highly anticipated opening of CTC is one of the biggest developments within the global horse racing industry, featuring top-class facilities throughout the venue.
Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Chief Executive Officer, said: “This is a historic moment for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The commencement of the dual-site operations represents a significant achievement made possible by the establishment of the Equine Disease Free Zone. Hong Kong horses will enjoy the same health status whether they are stabled and trained in Sha Tin or at CTC. They can travel between both locations and race in Hong Kong, including against overseas horses in international races. The permanent stabling of the first batch of horses today came after the successful inspection of CTC's quarantine facilities and operations by Guangzhou Customs and the Conghua Agricultural Bureau. I would like to thank the various government departments in Hong Kong and the Mainland for their support.
“The CTC is a world-class facility that will allow for the continued growth of Hong Kong racing. The centre will offer new options to our Owners and Trainers and will enable us to expand Hong Kong's horse population as we look to future development. The opening of the Conghua Training Centre will also make it possible for us to commence the important work of further refurbishment of the Sha Tin stabling.”
Mr. Andrew Harding, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Executive Director, Racing said: “The Club has worked closely with the relevant agencies in Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland to ensure that the proper systems are in place to ensure the safe and efficient movement of horses along the quarantine corridor between Sha Tin and Conghua, and that the CTC site is entirely biosecure. Today's convoy is the culmination of years of work and is an important step as we integrate CTC into Hong Kong's training system.
“The RDB horses that have arrived in Conghua today will play an important role in ensuring that our state-of-the-art facilities are ready for the arrival of our in-training horses next month. In the future, these horses will assist in the training of new staff at CTC.”
The first horses in-training will be shipped to CTC in mid-July, with nine Club trainers set to move to a dual-site model at the beginning of the new racing season. The training centre will officially open on 28 August with a special ceremony.
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