Rides ready for Games horses

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 July, 2008, 12:00am

Air-conditioned horse transporters escorted by police motorcades will carry the animals from the airport to the Olympic equestrian venues in Sha Tin from a week from Saturday.

The Jockey Club yesterday displayed some of the fleet it will provide - two transporters, an equine ambulance, a veterinary van, a maintenance car and a lead van.

Horses will enjoy a cool journey in the transporters, which are equipped with air conditioning to keep the air around 21 degrees Celsius.

The transporters, 17 metres long and 2.3 metres wide, have rubber mats along with a kicking board on the walls and floors to protect horses. Each transporter can carry six horses.

The club's administration manager, Vincent Wong Ming-hay, said horses could easily become upset in a vehicle. 'In case of any emergency, grooms sitting in the compartment can ask the driver to stop, through the intercom,' he said.

The club bought 11 horse transporters 15 years ago.

Mr Wong said the club had held several rehearsals with the police and drivers had been trained. 'Now all our staff are excited and really looking forward to welcoming the overseas guests.' There will be 225 horses in the Olympics and 73 in the Paralympics over the next two months. The first batch will arrive a week from Saturday.

Mr Wong said the club would assign two to five horse transporters for each trip, and they would be accompanied by other vehicles. Between 20 and 30 police vehicles would clear the way, he said.

'We expect the transportation will go even more smoothly than our daily transports, with fewer stopovers on the route.'