China: 600 horses had to die…

China: 600 horses had to die…

A massive investment in Beijing´s racetrack, with the hope of making more millions from a gambling-obsessed nation. But the Chinese government was never persuaded, and some of the losers had to pay – with their lives.

About 600 healthy thoroughbreds are reported to have been slaughtered in the past month in the Chinese capital as a consequence of the official reluctance by the Communist Party to tolerate gambling.

The cull is unprecedented even in the harsh world of horseracing. It has caused waves of outrage among horse lovers and comes as the huge punt taken by the Hong Kong businessman Yun Pung Cheng, the man behind Tongshun racetrack in Beijing, appears to have hit the buffers with spectacular effect.

Tongshun racetrack seemed to have it all. The state-of-the-art facility, the laboratories and the huge breeding operation were developed by a man whose factories in China and Vietnam spew out the sort of promotional toys you might find tipping out of a cereal box.
It is thought Mr Cheng, might have invested as much as $100m into the establishment of the racing and breeding empire, all on one single, do or die, premise: That one day the hardline rulers of the Communist Party would bow to the inevitable and allow a billion Chinese indulge in their passion for gambling. After all gambling is legal in Hong Kong, now part of China.

Beijing racetrack is currently shut down, with the lingering promise that it might open up again in 18- to 24-months´ time. It is all rotten public relations for a country that is preparing to stage the 2008 Olympics, for which the equestrian events will be held in Hong Kong as China cannot offer adequate quarantine provision.

Categories: Horse Racing, News