The Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Group has a special affinity with the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby and this year they hold a strong hand leading into the prestigious 2400m contest.
The Group, led by chairman and chief executive Mr Lang Lin, commonly known as Mr Wolf, won the 2015 running of the event with their poster-child Mongolian Khan and this year will be represented by quality Ocean Park gelding Mongolianconqueror.
The Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards-trained runner is currently an $8 third-favourite on the TAB’s Derby futures market after his strong runner-up performance to Xbox in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa on Waitangi day.
“I really liked his last 400m” Lang said. “It showed his ability to be a top stayer and if he had a bit more luck I think he should’ve won the race.”
The New Zealand Derby means a lot to Rider Horse and Lang said he would dearly love to win it again this year.
“The 2015 New Zealand Derby was special since it was the very first time for a Chinese owner to win an international Group 1 race.
“It would mean a lot to Rider Horse Group if we won this year’s Derby because it would be strong proof that Rider Horse Group’s investment in Kiwi-bred horses is in the right direction.”
Rider Horse has garnered a lot of success from their investment at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready to Run Sale.
This year’s Derby hope Mongolianconqueror was a $130,000 purchase out of Kiltannon Stables 2016 Sale draft by Te Akau’s David Ellis, on behalf of Rider Horse.
The Sale was also the source of their 2015 Derby success after purchasing Mongolian Khan at the 2013 Sale for $220,000.
The now Windsor Park Stud-based stallion went on to win three Group One races, including the New Zealand and Australian Derby’s (2400m) and the Caulfield Cup (2400m), on his way to being crowned New Zealand Horse of the Year on two occasions.
Mongolian Khan is Rider Horse’s first foray into the stallion market and Lang is happy with the support his stallion has received in his first two seasons at stud.
“I am very happy with his number,” he said. “He covered 143 mares during his first season and almost 100 during the second season.
“Rider Horse Group sent more than 50 mares to him each year, among which there were almost 20 top mares, including Mabsam whose yearling filly was sold for $410,000 this year from our draft.
“We will have a strong Mongolian Khan team both at the sales and at the races.”
Lang said Rider Horse are continuing to invest in their New Zealand operation and don’t see a change in focus in the near future.
“We currently have around 130 horses here in New Zealand, including about 20 in work and we are breeding from more than 50 mares each year,” he said. “We have a very good relationship with top trainers such as Baker-Forsman, Te Akau, Logan-Gibbs and Regal Farm.”
Once a dominant force at public auctions in New Zealand, Rider Horse has been less prevalent in recent years and have instead decided to concentrate on the breeding side of their operation in New Zealand.
“We now stand one stallion in Cambridge and maybe another one in the future, so we want to do the right job on the breeding side of our business,” Lang said.
“By keeping the capital flow, we could then have a healthy business model which allows us to have a sustainable development.”
In keeping with Rider Horse’s commitment to a sustainable business model, they have recently sold promising racehorses Mongolian Wolf and Mongolian Legend to Australia and Hong Kong respectively.
“Rider Horse Group sees the racing industry as a business, not just being a horse owner,” Lang said.
“To make it a successful business we need to buy good horses as well as sell good horses, so that we can keep it going. Selling good horses overseas is definitely part of our business model.”
Rider Horse is continuing to grow its business in China with a commitment to add to their two current race tracks and to also list on the local stock exchange, which Lang said is not too far away.
They have also recently had another shipment of New Zealand horses exported to Inner Mongolia, which comprised various breeds of horses.
“Rider Horse Group’s business in China does not only focus on thoroughbred races,” Lang said. “But also covers the equestrian side as well as other horse-related entertainment.
“In this shipment we had thoroughbreds, standardbreds, arabs, miniatures and even a big Clydesdale mare.”
Meanwhile, their interest in the next month will be focused on New Zealand in the lead-up to the Derby where they could line-up a second runner in the race.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Mongolian Marshal looks a promising prospect of making the field after his brave runner-up performance on a rain-affected track at Pukekohe on Sunday.
“It was a strong finish, although he was beaten by a short-head,” Lang said. “This horse could definitely stay.
“We feel lucky to have two potential runners again this year. If both of the runners are in good form at the New Zealand Derby, I would love to send both of them to Australia for bigger challenges.”