Club gets go-ahead to import horses from Australia
The importation of horses from Australia to Hong Kong has been given the green light to resume and two batches of thoroughbreds bound for Sha Tin are in quarantine in Melbourne awaiting shipment. The first group of horses - 12 Privately Purchased Horses (PPs) and Privately Purchased Griffins (PPGs) - will arrive on Wednesday.
The second group, set to arrive in mid-February, will include 12 for the Hong Kong International Sale (part two) and two horses for the subscription griffin ballot to take place after the HKIS on March 15 at Sha Tin.
Jockey Club executive director of racing Bill Nader yesterday expressed his delight, and considerable relief, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department had sanctioned the suggested protocols and allowed the movement of horses again.
'We are delighted that the effect of the equine influenza virus has run its course in Australia and soon we can return to our normal import protocols,' Nader said.
'At the start of the current season some 40 per cent of the Hong Kong racehorse population was Australian-bred; last season we imported over 120 racehorses from Australia.
'These figures illustrate how vital these shipments are to our industry and it has been six months since our last import from that country. It will be great to get things back to normal.'
Imports from Australia will initially depart only from Melbourne, which has been declared an equine influenza-free area by authorities.
Horses based in New South Wales or Queensland must first enter quarantine in their home states, then move to Melbourne for pre-export quarantine and eventually shipping to Hong Kong after that. Movement of any horses is subject to space being available at the approved quarantine centres.
Direct shipments from Sydney will recommence at a later date, to be decided by the Hong Kong agricultural authorities after that state becomes EI-free.