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HKJC Rule Change To Affect NZ Industry

Tuesday, 17th March 2015

Prominent New Zealand bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo says a change in the criteria for importing horses into Hong Kong may have serious repercussions for the local thoroughbred industry, reports NZ Racing Desk. A new Hong Kong Jockey Club rule has recently raised the minimum rating to 70 for incoming private purchases. "I sold Super Jockey up there after his first start at Hawke's Bay, which he won impressively, and he wouldn't qualify now," Cataldo said. "Neither would Paul O'Sullivan's Aerovelocity so they are two pretty compelling examples. It's going to affect our whole industry – pinhookers who go out and buy nice colts to try to make them into race winners will find it tough." He added, "It basically means they now have to be two win horses and they have to do that within a certain amount of starts. These horses are going to cost more and we have to see whether Hong Kong buyers are prepared to pay any more, a lot of them won't. It's going to have a serious ripple effect - people here are surviving by selling and that's the harsh reality with our level of prize money." Cataldo also said the rating changes could impact on the overseas-owned population of horses in New Zealand. "There are so many here that are trying to qualify and it's a big jump from a maiden to a Saturday win so we all need to be concerned. Hopefully, Hong Kong will reassess it." Waikato Bloodstock principal Bryce Tankard is another who is predicting major implications for the New Zealand market. "At this stage we are still trying to get firm details on the rule but from what we have heard it will make sourcing horses a lot harder. I do think it will make it much more expensive for the client as those horses good enough to qualify under that criteria will now come at a real premium," he said. "I think you will also see a large number of horses going to the trials rather than racing so they can try and qualify under a different permit type which will have a knock-on effect on our racing which is already struggling with field sizes." He added, "We will also have to re-evaluate how we best service the requirements of our clients which could mean we look more at what is available in Australia or other markets who have different qualifying criteria."

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