The quarantine issue preventing Australian horses from travelling to Hong Kong has been resolved, meaning we could see some of our stars compete in next month's Champions Day.
In October 2017, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources introduced strict biosecurity measures that forced horses returning from Hong Kong to spend six months in another country before being let back into the country.
This was due to the Hong Kong Jockey Club creating a new racecourse training facility in Conghua, China, which posed a potential risk to biosecurity as there was evidence of equine diseases in China that would devastate Australia’s horse industries if they arrived here.
However, following a thorough inspection of new quarantine measures put in place by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, DAWR have lifted the existing quarantine laws and agreed to an interim arrangement that will come into effect on Tuesday, March 12.
The new quarantine arrangement will allow Australian horses to travel to Hong Kong and return to Australia with a quarantine period of just 14 days, rather than having to spend 180 days in another country.
The ruling only applies to Australian horses racing in Hong Kong; Hong Kong horses travelling to Australia will still have to serve the six-month quarantine period.
The news is a massive boost to both the Australian racing industry and the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Australians get to see their stars compete on the world stage in some of the globe’s richest races, while Hong Kong receives a boost to the depth of their Group 1 races, which have been lacking Australian representation for the past 18 months.
Chautauqua was the last Australian horse to win in Hong Kong, when he produced a breathtaking performance to win the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize in 2017. That could be about to change, with a handful of Australian horses earmarked to compete in next month’s Champion’s Day at Sha Tin.
After returning with a 5th placing in last Saturday’s Newmarket Handicap, four-time Group 1 winner Santa Ana Lane is a chance of heading over for the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m).
He could be joined by both Viddora and Brave Smash on their way back from running in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night (March 30) in Dubai.
It has also been rumoured that the Lindsay Park-trained three-year-old filly Fundamentalist could line up in the G1 Champions Mile (1600m), where she would meet Hong Kong’s highest-rated horse and six-time Group 1 winner Beauty Generation.
Lindsay Park trainer David Hayes formerly trained in Hong Kong and Fundamentalist is raced by the Hong Kong-owned Aquis Farm.
The filly is a four-time Group 1 placegetter, with three of those defeats by 0.2L or less. She was nailed on the line by superstar colt The Autumn Sun in last Saturday’s Randwick Guineas.
Speaking of horses heading to Hong Kong, it seems a matter of when rather than if for rising star Classique Legend, who backed up an effortless win on debut with a 6L demolition job last week.
Classique Legend is owned in the same interests of Southern Legend, who left Australia for Hong Kong after nine starts. Classique Legend is rumoured to have just one more start in Australia before taking off and it’s understood he will be trained by Casper Fownes, who also trains Southern Legend.
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