THE HORSE WHIS­PERER

Kyan Yap, Rac­ing Man­ager of Raf­fles Rac­ing

The Peak (Malaysia) - - Collector’s Issue -

For as long as he can re­mem­ber, Kyan Yap has al­ways been fas­ci­nated by an­i­mals. As a child, one could find the young chap glued to the tele­vi­sion when­ever a wildlife doc­u­men­tary was on. Soon, he found him­self when his fa­ther, Dato’ Yap Kim San, started rac­ing horses in the 1980s. Glee­fully tag­ging along, he would visit the sta­bles and at­tend races, fas­ci­nated by the horses’ be­hav­iour, phys­i­ol­ogy and pow­er­ful move­ments.

While the young boy dreamt of be­ing a zo­ol­o­gist or a marine bi­ol­o­gist, his love for an­i­mals found an­other way to man­i­fest it­self when his fa­ther and as­so­ci­ates took over the op­er­a­tions of Saigon Race­course in Viet­nam back in 2005. “Dur­ing the open­ing of the Saigon Rac­ing Club, dad asked me to pick a horse from his sta­ble and kindly gave him to me as a gift. That horse be­came my first race­horse and my first win­ner too!” re­calls Yap. The stal­lion, Sa­cred Falls, won the Group 1 Don­caster Mile in Aus­tralia and Yap was over­joyed. “It was a very spe­cial mo­ment be­cause I was there when we se­lected and bought the horse. To see him grow and win­ning at the top level in the world’s rich­est mile race was im­mensely re­ward­ing and val­i­dat­ing. Fur­ther­more, he was the dark horse in that race and de­feated an un­beaten cham­pion. My whole fam­ily was with me that day and, I can hon­estly say, it was amaz­ing to cel­e­brate the win with them by my side.”

Shortly af­ter ac­quir­ing Sa­cred Falls, the fa­ther-son duo pur­chased Raf­fles Farm in Cam­bridge, New Zea­land. As he started get­ting more in­volved in the breed­ing and rac­ing op­er­a­tion in­ter­na­tion­ally, Yap knew he was on the right path and, to­gether with his fa­ther, started Raf­fles Rac­ing. “I still wanted to be close to an­i­mals reg­u­larly and, thus, when the op­por­tu­nity of be­ing in­volved with such a ma­jes­tic an­i­mal came along, I im­me­di­ately jumped on board. Be­sides, I loved how it be­came a sport that my fam­ily and I can en­joy to­gether.”

While the sport proved to be a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate spe­cial mem­o­ries with friends and fam­ily, Yap finds this pas­sion bol­ster­ing his pro­fes­sional cir­cle as well. “Be­ing an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in a sport that at­tracts elites and suc­cess­ful in­di­vid­u­als has pro­vided me with a plat­form to meet and net­work. This has led to many busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties out­side of the world of horse rac­ing. Con­versely, shar­ing a sim­i­lar pas­sion in this sport of kings has also al­lowed me to race horses in part­ner­ship with top busi­ness ty­coons, aris­to­crats and roy­alty, which broad­ened my life ex­pe­ri­ences both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally.”

It’s not all a field of roses though. “This is a sport that can give you the high­est high one day and bring you to the low­est low on an­other. There­fore, I hold this ad­vice dear to heart – win with hu­mil­ity and lose with grace,” ex­plains Yap. “Once you are able to mas­ter this, you will not only en­joy the wins but also the process as well, and this is some­thing that is ap­pli­ca­ble to all facets of life.”

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