LAST month leaders of the Chinese breeding and racing industry embarked on a two week tour of the Hunter Valley.
The group of eight were been hosted by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA), as part of an internship program aimed to develop the skills of those working in the growing thoroughbred sector in China.
As part of the program the group visited many of the region’s leading farms, including Widden Stud, Coolmore, Darley and Yarraman Park.
The group also recieved lectures from leaders in areas such as veterinary science, farriery, nutrition and equine reproduction.
The program is part of a broader strategy to develop relationships between Australia and China, and improve the knowledge of those working in the Asian powerhouse, according to chief executive Tom Reilly.
“I’ve been visiting China regularly for three years and I was frequently told by the major owners up there that they wanted their staff to have the opportunity to learn from the world’s best,” Mr Reilly said.
“So TBA has put in place a program that really gives the interns the opportunity to see how the Hunter farms operate and learn from the best.
“It’s been a great couple of weeks and the feedback from those on the program is that they’ve really learnt new skills.”
The internship lasted two weeks and the group recieved their completion certificates at Scone TAFE where they had been receiving lectures.
“Everything in Australia is done with such care and skill, everything is so organised,” said Lu Bingqiu, who works as a vet in the racing centre of Wuhan in central China.
“I will return to China with so much more knowledge that I didn’t have before.”
Everything in Australia is done with such care and skill, everything is so organised.Lu Bingqiu - vet in the racing centre of Wuhan in central China
Among those taking part were farm managers, veterinarians and horse trainers.
All the costs of the course and the interns travel was met by TBA and its sister company Aushorse, the marketing body for the thoroughbred industry.
Ms Xin Xin, who works in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, as a manager for the global racing operation China Horse Club said the most beneficial part of the internship was the practical part.
“To see exactly how things are done every day on an Australian farm, from the care for the mares and the stallions right through to the matings – the professionalism is so important,” she said.
“At the organisation where I work we started a breeding program only this year, so I have seen how much more experience we need to have.”
There are more than 100 new racecourses being built in China at the moment and the breeding industry is also growing rapidly.
In 2006 just one thoroughbred horse was exported to China, while in the last financial year that number has soared to almost 300.
Mr Reilly added that Australia has a great relationship with the major players in the Chinese thoroughbred industry.
“I’m sure programs like this will continue to deepen the ties between our countries,” he said.