Hong Kong rides to SA’s aid over ex­port ob­sta­cle

Business Day - - SPORT - David Mol­lett Rac­ing Writer

The saga seems to have been go­ing on as long as the UK soapie Corona­tion Street: at­tempts to send South African thor­ough­breds di­rectly to other coun­tries have al­ways been met with red tape. Now, Hong Kong has emerged as an ally with its Jockey Club CEO Win­fried En­gel­brecht-Bres­ges say­ing that the club is “sup­port­ing ef­forts to open up the South African mar­ket for di­rect ex­port to ma­jor ju­ris­dic­tions” in an ef­fort “to pro­vide own­ers with more choice”.

En­gel­brecht-Bres­ges said in his an­nual re­port, “To sus­tain the suc­cess of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s in­te­grated model, and its com­mit­ment to the bet­ter­ment of so­ci­ety, the club must con­tinue in in­vest­ing in its world-class rac­ing prod­uct.”

“This means we need to keep in­creas­ing prize money, both to in­cen­tivise horse own­ers and to main­tain the at­trac­tive­ness of our in­ter­na­tional races for over­seas horses,” he said.

To com­pete in Europe, top South African horses have to make the long quar­an­tine haul through Mau­ri­tius. It can have a detri­men­tal ef­fect in the longterm. Smart Call, win­ner of the Sun Met in Jan­uary, took this route and has bat­tled to shape in Eng­land and Ire­land. The daugh­ter of Ideal World ran un­placed in Sun­day’s grade 2 Moyglare Stakes at the Cur­ragh.

Mean­while, Hong Kong rac­ing con­tin­ues to thrive. To­tal turnover for the 2016-17 sea­son hit a new record of $27.93bn, a 10.7% in­crease for the sea­son.

Turf­fontein host their third meet­ing of the week on Satur­day and 2016’s Grand Her­itage

win­ner, Ir­ish Pride, makes his first ap­pear­ance of the sea­son.

The five-year-old takes on 12 ri­vals in the sev­enth race, but will not have his reg­u­lar pilot, Gavin Ler­ena, in the sad­dle.

Mark Khan has been booked for the six-time win­ner.

With Ir­ish Pride un­placed in his last two out­ings, it may be safer to row in with Or­mond Fer­raris’s con­sis­tent geld­ing, Shukamisa, who has not fin­ished out of the money in his seven starts in 2017.

The price of a new­comer from the Azzie sta­ble, Ar­gentina-bred colt Hat Pun­tano, should be closely mon­i­tored.

Toro Rosso, born in Brazil, rep­re­sents the Mike de Kock sta­ble and, drawn in pole po­si­tion, can im­prove in just his third out­ing in 2017.

Cham­pion trainer Sean Tarry sends out the five-time win­ner Count Tas­silo, who is on the short list of pos­si­ble win­ners.

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