‘Winner alright’ as South Tipp stud farm lands huge Chinese deal
Coolmore lead player in €1.5 billion project

Eamonn Lacey

Eamonn Lacey

Coolmore Stud has been chosen to play a leading role in the creation of a horse racing industry in China further enhancing its reputation as a world leader.

Irish horseracing expertise and breeding stock from the world famous Tipperary stud is to be used to kick start the opening of a €1.5 billion national equine facility at Tianjin, China’s fourth largest city.

The deal and Coolmoore’s involvement was announced in China on Sunday by Minister Simon Coveney who unveiled a €37.5m Irish export project where Ireland has been chosen as China’s partner to establish their Tianjin Equine Culture City project.

As part of the project, Coolmore will host seven of China’s top agriculture graduates from various universities who will spend two months at Coolmore learning the industry and what is required to establish a top class equine operation.

Coolmore Stud’s JP Magnier said they were delighted to be one of the first Irish companies to be involved with the partnership and represent Ireland’s hugely successful horsebreeding and racing industries,

“The sector plays a huge part in the irish economy, currently generating €1.1bn annually. This industry is something we are good at and today one of the biggest markets in the world has recognised that and has chosen to partner with Ireland,” he said.

Ireland’s involvement in the project includes the initial establishment of a stud farm, stocked with broodmares which will be sourced in Ireland. The beginning of the breeding programme will involve the agreement to import over 100 mares in the next three years.

“Today’s announcement of a partnership involving Ireland to develop a major racing and breeding operation in China arises from the preeminent position that Ireland holds in the thoroughbred breeding world. This initiative should facilitate the development of a major export market for horses from Ireland and has the potential to provide a range of business opportunities for companies and individuals in Ireland who can bring a wide range of expertise to the project. Coolmore Stud is recognised as a world leader in thoroughbred breeding and is to be commended for their involvement in this major project,” said Minister Simon Coveney speaking at the anouncement of the partnership in China on Sunday.

On behalf of the Chinese government owned Tianjin State Farm Group, Mr. Bai Shisheng said -“I hope we could quickly enter into a strategic partnership with captains of the horse industries. Ireland is a world leader when it comes to best in class trainers and breeders and we are delighted to be partnershing with Coolmore as it helps ensure our new national project is firmly established in Tianjin,” he said.

Fine Gael TD Tom Hayes welcomed the deal.

“China recognises that Ireland is the world leader in this industry and they have turned to the best to help them develop a world class horse racing and breeding industry. The development of this facility in China will have great benefits for the industry in Ireland and it is expected to generate almost €40m in exports for Ireland within three years. The announcement is particularly welcome in South Tipperary, with Coolmore Stud, the world’s largest breeding operation of thoroughbred racehorses, is set to receive China’s top agriculture graduates who will spend two months on site learning from the best in the industry”, said Deputy Hayes.

He said the joint venture between Ireland and China would create a major export market for horses from Ireland and would create a major outlet for the many small breeders and farmers rights across Tipperary and the country.

“The announcement is a major boost for both the Tipperary and national economy, and it help stabilise and grow the industry in the future. Everyone involved in the equine industry will benefit from today’s announcement, from the farmers, farriers, young aspiring jockeys and breeders. The venture also will create the potential to provide a range of business opportunities for companies and individuals in Ireland”, said Deputy Hayes.

The Coolmore Stud link to and a new Chinese horse breeding centre will be of enduring benefit to Ireland, according to Tipperary-based MEP, Phil Prendergast.

MEP Prendergast said it was a great honour for Tipperary which will give a massive boost to the local economy

“Thanks to Coolmore’s status as a world leader in horse breeding, the Chinese and Irish authorities have chosen it to be at the forefront of this massive and prestigious development.

“This is a also a great boost for the Irish racing industry which has fallen victim to the recession just like every other sector in the economy.

“A lot of the money that came into the equine industry in recent years was from within Ireland and is now no longer there. But thanks to Coolmore’s outstanding reputation, and the Government’s work restoring our international standing and promoting our industries in new markets, we will be attracting foreign investment and boosting the economy at home,”

she said.