Australia-Hong Kong deadlock set to end

POSTED ON  |  07-03-2019

HK Racing Sha Tin
Australian horses are set to resume competing at major Hong Kong meetings with the near-18-month quarantine deadlock between the two countries set to end. Direct imports from Hong Kong to Australia were banned in October 2017 due to quarantine regulations as the Australian Government had biosecurity concerns over the Hong Kong Jockey Club's new racing facility at Conghua in mainland China. Any horses that visited Hong Kong and were attempting to enter Australia had to do so through another country, six months after their date of departure from Hong Kong.

In effect, those regulations made it extremely unappealing for Australia's best horses to race in Hong Kong's Group 1 features as they would be forced to continue their career abroad for the rest of the season.

For example, the Chris Waller-trained Comin' Through contested last year's Group 1 Hong Kong International Mile (1600m) and finished 12th in the 14-horse field. He then raced twice at Group 2 level in Dubai, finishing seventh at Meydan racecourse during the first two months of this year.

But the Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong issued a statement on Thursday afternoon, announcing an interim agreement.
  • "The implementation of the interim arrangement will allow Australian racehorses to compete in the Champions Day races at Sha Tin in April 2019," the Australian Consulate-General Hong Kong said in a statement.
  • "[DAWR] appreciates the efforts of both the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Hong Kong Jockey Club in reaching this interim arrangement.
  • "[DAWR] continues to progress an assessment of the equine disease-free zone in Conghua, China."
As the DAWR is still yet to complete their assessment, any horse that visits Conghua, on mainland China, must re-enter Australia after six months through another country. But horses that remain on the Hong Kong island will be allowed to return home immediately, therefore encouraging connections of Australian horses to participate in this year's International meeting in December.

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