Jockey Sherman Brown’s trip to China proved fruitful on Sunday when he won the feature race of the day on Australian bred Hales.
Brown was invited to participate in the China Equine Cultural Festival in Ordos where he was joined by three other international jockeys in Daniel Moor (Australia), Alexander Ivanskoy (Russia) and Sheldon Rodrigo (Trinidad and Tobago). They competed against some of China’s best young riders in four races.
The main race was the CECF North Dakota Classic and Brown had a comfortable ride on Hales who won easily.
The bay gelding is no stranger to the festival as last year he won the Yitai Cup during the same event.
Earlier on the card, the aptly named Ordos Coat won the Anglo Hibernian CECF International Breeders’ Cup, Seymour was victorious in the Australian Turf Club CECF Champions Cup with female jockey Zhang Ruirui in the irons and Villequier narrowly took the Sir Owen Glenn CECF Genghis Khan Cup.
During an off-and-on rainy afternoon an estimated 16,000 patrons came to the racecourse which was lower than last year when more than 20,000 attended. However, more than two million people live-streamed the event, a figure which was up significantly from 2016.
In addition to drawing international racing industry leaders, there were a number of governmental officials on hand for Sunday’s racing, including Wang Bo, vice president of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; Bao Manda, director of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region National Development and Reform Commission; Niu Junyan, secretary of the CPC Ordos Municipal Committee; and Gong Minzhu, mayor of Ordos, and deputy secretary of the CPC Ordos Municipal Committee.
Betting is not allowed in China, but Teo Ah Khing, chairman of China Horse Club, does not view that as a stumbling block to his vision, which is in part displayed through the day of racing.
“We are developing a module that will hopefully work by itself without wagering,” he said. “For 65 years, there was no racing. We have to understand that. Things have opened up now in the past couple of years.
They just love the animal, as a start, and are not treating the Thoroughbred as a tool for betting. Betting is in, on, and around the agenda, but it is not the main agenda, as of now. It will be gravy, a bonus. To enter into racing for them is already a big step forward.”
CECF was created in 2013 as part of Teo’s efforts to promote, educate and encourage a love of thoroughbred racing within mainland China. Thoroughbreddaily.com