Racing: China to host first international meeting - France Galop

China is to organise its first international flat racing event in Inner Mongolia later this year, featuring top riders from France, the Republic of Ireland, Australia and Singapore, horse-racing body France Galop said on Friday.

The thoroughbred meeting in north central China, to take place on September 21 at Hohhot, comes after an agreement struck in August last year between France Galop and a number of partners.

Seven races over a number of distances will be held with about a dozen participants in each, France Galop added.

"The aim is to encourage equestrian activity in China and to develop race courses but there will be no betting because it is banned in China," the president of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, Louis Romanet, told AFP.

"When you get quality races conforming to international norms, such as anti-doping, it may be possible to organise horse-racing with betting."

The regional track at Hohhot was chosen because it is situated in a rural area with a strong culture of horses.

"Organisers are expecting nearly 10,000 visitors, just like a big race day at Longchamp in France," said Romanet.

"Coolmore", the biggest racing and thoroughbred breeding complex in the world, based at Ballydoyle, southwest of Dublin, and one of the main backers of international racing, will supply most of the horses for the China meeting.

They will include offspring of famous stallions such as Galileo, Montjeu, Giants Causeway, Zabeel and Oasis Dream.

On September 18, a sale of European horses will be held "to create partnerships with Chinese investors", said Romanet.

In June, Chinese students, sponsored by Hong Kong-based equine management firm Desert Star Holdings, went to Ireland as trainees.

Six others headed home after a six-month training course with major French trainers, such as Alain de Royer Dupré, Nicolas Clément and Criquette Head-Maarek.