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Plans for international racing in China

By ROBERT KIECKHEFER, UPI Racing Writer   |   March 28, 2013 at 6:39 AM   |   Comments

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, March 28 (UPI) -- Officials from Dubai and China announced plans Thursday for an international race meeting in Chengdu, China, in October.

While few details of the plans were available, representatives of Chengdu and the Dubai's Meydan Group said they hope to grow Chinese racing to international status.

Earlier plans to have horse racing on mainland China have stalled. Meydan, by contrast, has grown in 18 years from a startup venture to become an annual highlight of the world racing calendar. Sunday's $10 million Dubai World Cup and eight supporting races have drawn top horses from around the world.

"We think China deserves world-class racing," Saeed Al Tayer, chairman of the Meydan Group, told a news conference at the Royal Enclosure at the Meydan Racecourse.

The event was attended by officials from Chengdu and the Wenjiang District of the Sichuan Province.

Al Tayer said details remain to be worked out, including the number and conditions of races, purse money and quarantine issues.

The proposed October date could put a Chinese meeting in conflict with several top racing meetings around the world, including those in France, England, Japan and the United States. Al Tayer said international racing officials gathered for Saturday's World Cup will be consulted about scheduling and other issues.

He said an October meeting would use facilities already in place in Chengdu, which has been the site of several recent Chinese equestrian festivals. A turf course is in place at the proposed site.

Wagering is illegal in China and Al Tayer said he believes a Chinese racing program can thrive without it. There also is no wagering in Dubai.

Ultimately, Al Tayer said, the goal is to jump-start a racing industry in mainland China.

"Racing is not enough by itself," he said. "We intend to bring in the industry of horse racing. We intend to bring in breeding, sales. The whole industry of horse racing will go there."

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