Trade mission strengthens ties with NZ and Malaysian racing

WP Malaysia
Peter Woods (left), Donna Logan, Sharee Hamilton, Rt Hon Winston Peters, Simon Dunderdale, HY Cheng. Photo: Supplied

With the imminent closure of thoroughbred racing in Singapore and racing already having ceased in Macau earlier this year, Malaysia has become a key developing market for the thoroughbred industry in Asia.

Acknowledging this, New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters visited Selangor Turf Club over the weekend during his trade mission to Malaysia to help strengthen ties between the two nations.

Peters, who is also New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister and Racing Minister, was met by a contingent of local dignitaries and racing club officials, along with a number of expat New Zealand trainers, including Simon Dunderdale, Sharee Hamilton, and Singapore-based Donna Logan.

Dunderdale, who is the country’s leading trainer, said Peters was warmly received.

“He is a shrewd operator and he spoke so highly of the New Zealand racing scene and how it is going ahead. He is really optimistic and said the work has only just started and there is a long way to go,” Dunderdale said.

“He also spoke about the relationship we need to develop between New Zealand thoroughbred racing and Malaysia, and he was speaking on ways to get trainers and owners to the sales in New Zealand more.

“Everyone was listening with their ears pricked. I enjoyed the time.

“He came and visited my stables and had a look at the horses, particularly the New Zealand-bred horses. Unfortunately, he was here on a non-race day, but he was very well received by the committee and invited guests, and some other dignitaries came along.”

Dunderdale said with the closure of racing in Singapore and Macau, there is huge potential in Malaysia, and the growth can already be seen.

“For perhaps the last 10-15 years, all of our horses have come from Singapore. That is all coming to an end,” he said.

“Because Singapore is closing there is probably going to be a bit of a hole for the bottom end of the market (for horses in New Zealand) and I think Selangor is going to perhaps take that up.

“We have always bought a few (from New Zealand) but have been more active in the last two or three years. With the prizemoney going to double in January, and it has already gone up 15 percent in the last few months, we are probably going to be looking to buy a lot more and perhaps spending more money on better horses too.

“They (Selangor Turf Club) bought 24 (two-year-olds) at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready to Run Sale last year and that is going to increase a lot I believe.”

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