The Chengdu Dubai International Cup was set up four years ago to strengthen ties between China and the UAE, and ahead of the five-race card at Jinma Lake racecourse on Sunday, relations between the two countries could not be stronger.
Meydan’s Chengdu venture was designed to proliferate the sport in China and set up a relationship with the country whereby Chinese runners will eventually participate at Meydan and possibly elsewhere in the UAE.
Meydan welcomed participants from 12 countries on Dubai World Cup night last week. In January, the South Korean sprinter Main Stay became the first horse from the Asian country to win at the Dubai World Cup Carnival and Triple Nine was the first South Korean horse to take part on World Cup night when 11th to Second Summer in the Godolphin Mile. There have been 22 runnings of the Dubai World Cup, and South Korea was the 29th individual country to be represented on the most valuable night in racing.
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Sunday’s card opens with the first leg of a two-race jockey challenge in which five Chinese jockeys will be pitted against nine riders who ply their trade in the UAE.
The five Chinese jockeys who will take part are Bate Bayier, Ma Liankai, Wang WenXun, Yu Xuewen and Chen YI. They are up against Adrie de Vries, Pat Dobbs, Marc Monaghan, Sam Hitchcott, Adam MacLean, Royston Ffrench, Bernard Fayd’Herbe, Jesus Rosales and Gerald Avranche.
Each of the Chinese jockeys spent time riding out for Dubai Racing Club trainers last month and were given the opportunity to attend Super Saturday at Meydan.
Erwan Charpy welcomed the Chinese riders in to Green Stables.
“The Chinese jockeys came to our stables and were riding our horses for us, based on our instructions of what we wanted to do with the horses, they stayed with us for about 10 days,” he said.
Lianki has significant experience abroad, having won the international race at the Hungarian National Gallop Equestrian Festival in 2015 and finished second in the Group 1 CHIA China Cup. Despite his confidence, this will be the stiffest challenge he has ever faced.
“The time we spent in Dubai was a good learning experience for us,” he said. “The quality of horses in Dubai is very high and we were able to gain a lot from the trainers and international jockeys there.
“I am very excited looking ahead to the two races we will be a part of this weekend, especially since we will be competing with some of the top jockeys in the world of horse racing.”
Charpy’s horses are joined in China by representatives from the stables of UAE Champion trainer Doug Watson, former champion handlers Ali Rashid Al Raihe, and Satish Seemar, while Maria Ritchie’s career receives another new twist with her first runners abroad.
Charpy has five horses running across the ¥3.75 million (Dh2m) card, and relies on Petty Officer, who was a third in a handicap in China 12 months ago, in the featured Chengdu Dubai International Cup over 2218 metres.
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