Correspondents in China (reporters for the U.K. newspaper, the Telegraph) note that an ambitious 10-year project aims to create a “Tianjin Horse City” (see photo of the city above) with an international equestrian college, horse-breeding centre, auction base, animal feed factory, racetrack, and 7-star hotel with sweeping, phoenix-shaped grandstand.
How is it gonna be financed? Oil money (Dubai) of course.
The Dubai-based Meydan group, the developer of the world’s biggest horse racing complex, said it had been invited by the Chinese government to use its know-how to take horse racing in China to the next level.
“Horse racing is a brand-new industry in China,” said Teo Ah Khing, the managing director of the Malaysian TAK Design Consultants, which is raising finance for the project.
Comparisons are being drawn with Dubai which held its first race in 1992 with virtually no infrastructure in place, but within a decade was hosting the world’s richest race, the $10m Dubai World Cup.
China is hoping to emulate that success, having legalised horse racing in 2008.
So we’ll see. But I wouldn’t bet against the chinese.
Previous attempts to kick-start racing in China ran into difficulties, with the government shutting down a number of racecourse in 2000 in an anti-gambling campaign.
Racing was introduced in China by the British in the 19th and early 20th century, with the sport becoming a popular pastime.
However the sport was banned after the Communist revolution.
Work on the Tianjin Horse City is slated to begin in May, with plans to complete the 660-acre equestrian college, stud farm and animal feed factory by the end of 2011.
The Chinese racing industry has argued that legalising on-track betting could generate up to three million jobs, clean up illegal gambling and generate some £4bn in tax revenues.
We’ll see. But the plans look very promising. To say the least.