The engagement of thoroughbred racing in Mainland China moved forward another step with Sunday’s 2017 CECF Ordos Race Day in Inner Mongolia, China among the most watched racing events anywhere in the world in 2017. An online audience of two million viewers tuned in to see the second of the two-day lifestyle, business and thoroughbred racing festival which was attended by 16,000 racing fans.


Interspersed among the local racing fans were business heavyweights and thoroughbred industry leaders from across China as well as their peers from Australia, Britain, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.


“The response to the 2017 CECF Ordos is indicative to the opportunity for the creation of a commercial thoroughbred industry right here in Ordos, Inner Mongolia,” said Teo Ah Khing, Chairman of the Inner Mongolia Yitai Desert Star Horse Industries and the China Horse Club.

“Opportunities like this are very special and have national implications. They are also not possible without the leadership and support of the Ordos Government and Yiqi Government, all of our partners and sponsors, especially our four feature race sponsors 1436, the Australian Turf Club, Sir Owen Glenn and Anglo Hibernian Bloodstock Insurance and our domestic and international partners.”


Ordos City Deputy Mayor, Mr Li Guojian, spoke ahead of yesterday’s CECF Race Day at Ordos Yiqi Racecourse by outlining the significance of the CECF and its wider implications as a driver for the growth of a commercial thoroughbred industry.

“Yiqi has a deep cultural affinity with horses and has unique geographical advantages helping establish itself in the modern horse industry,” he said.

“This will continue to help develop horse industry projects and provide more investment opportunities for Ordos to develop the economy of the region.”

Yiqi Mayor Hua Ruifeng added his voice to the significance of the 2017 CECF by praising the Inner Mongolia Yitai Desert Star Horse Industries for their active role in expanding the horse industry in the region as well as for creating sports and entertainment connections which continue to contribute to the growth of the local tourism industry.

Major Hua’s words proved to be prophetic with engaging entertainment on the track. Racing honours were shared equally between Chinese and international jockeys on the track. Australia’s Daniel Moor and South Africa’s Sherman Brown saluted in the Anglo Hibernian CECF International Breeders’ Cup (1000m) and the 1436 CECF North Dakota Classic (2000m) respectively while China’s Liu Sanping prevailed in a stirring finish in the Sir Owen Glenn Genghis Khan Cup (1200m). However, the crowning moment of the afternoon came with the delivery of a win for China’s only competing female jockey Zhang Ruirui in the Australian Turf Club CECF Champions Cup (1000m). Ruirui became the first female jockey to win at a CECF locally or internationally and is believed to have become the first female jockey to have won a thoroughbred race in Mainland China.

Having starved off the late surge of South Africa’s Brown (Lilly Pins) and Russian Alexander Ivanskoy (Orange Crush), the bashful Ruirui returned to scale to the pulsating roars of a parochial local crowd and an excited ownership group.

The significance of her triumph may only be fully appreciated in time. In a country that is enjoying the wonderful achievements of women in business and mainstream sports, the significance of a potential star female jockey cannot be underscored to the future of the fledgling sport.


Her historic moment was one of an afternoon of firsts which included the officially opening of the Ordos Horse Museum by Yiqi Mayor Hua and Chairman Teo. The Ordos Horse Museum captures 5,000 years of equine history from the domestication of the horse in China to the creation of the Ordos Breeding Project. it also pays tribute to the local and international influencers that are carrying forward the legacy of the thoroughbred industry from one generation to the next.


The Ordos Horse Museum is laid out inside a luxury two story showroom manor, one of 230 that is planned to be built around Ordos. Each four bedroom, six bathroom residence comes with stabling for 10 horses.


“CECF Ordos Race Day is now a top event domestically and one of the top events in the industry worldwide said Jason Zhu, CEO of the Inner Mongolia Yitai Desert Star Horse Industries.


“The internationalization of the event and its professional operation and development would not be the same if it were not for the event’s sponsorship partners, industry support, and support of the Ordos City Sports Bureau and Yiqi Banner local government.

“Through 70 years of perseverance, Ordos has experienced rapid economic and urban development towards becoming a ‘gem of the north’. The Inner Mongolia Yitai Desert Star Horse Industries sees this event as an opportunity to accelerate the development of Ordos becoming a thoroughbred horse breeding and racing centre, being promoted to the world as a horse industry hub, and establishing Ordos as the ‘horse capital’ of China.”