Beijing Tongshun Jockey Club

The Beijing Tongshun Jockey Club and Beijing Huanjan Breeding Farm are located on the periphery of Beijing and constitute the most significant and advanced thoroughbred racing and breeding complex yet constructed in modern China and still expanding. Anecdotal evidence suggests in excess of A$700 million has been allocated thus far. The facility is owned by the Domeland Consortium so prominent in Hong Kong and Australia. Over 3000 Australian thoroughbreds have been imported to date with new arrivals expected constantly. ‘Tierce [AUS]’ and ‘Bigstone [IRE]’ are two resident sires familiar to Australian interests. The very prominent advertising billboard adjacent to the main track proudly proclaims the local presence of Randwick Equine Centre. We were very fortunate to be entertained by expatriate equine veterinarian Dr. Michael Robinson as well as Director of Racing Kevin Connolly as the last race was run on Sunday 26th. September 2004. Only modest crowds of some 2000 patrons are attracted to the races at this stage. Betting is officially ‘illegal’ but unofficially and pragmatically condoned with a system akin to ‘voting for a horse’. Racing also includes provision for ‘small children pony events’ based on the Jesuit principle of ‘catch them while they are young’! The facility also caters for the Chinese National Event Training Centre where the team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics is in preparation. The Beijing Tongshun Jockey Club is the only one of eight Jockey Clubs in China open for daily operations with eight events contested each Saturday and Sunday. As soon as lights are installed the Sunday meeting will be transferred to Wednesday evening similar to the successful format in Hong Kong. The first Forensic Racing Laboratory [‘Dope Testing’] was founded in Beijing in 2002. The first evening in Beijing included a most memorable perambulation through Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City dominated by the massive tribute to Chairman Mao.