Hong Kong heroes become Welfare Ambassadors

Dual Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther (NZ) (Tavistock) and Hong Kong Derby (2000m) winner Ping Hai Star (NZ) (Nom du Jeu) will add another feather to their cap this season.

The pair, who are living out their retirement at Highden Park near Palmerston North, have become New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Welfare Ambassadors and will start to visit New Zealand race tracks from next Sunday to promote horse welfare post-racing.

“It is a new concept through NZTR,” said Libby Bleakley, who owns Highden Park with husband Sam.

“Welfare has become such a big issue and we all need to put it to the forefront when we are breeding and racing these animals.”

“They will just be called upon when needed. They will head to their first event next Sunday at the Wanganui racecourse.”

Bleakley is excited about the new concept and said it will give the two former stars of the track the opportunity to help grow the profile of the sport.

“It’s such a privilege and it wasn’t something we were anticipating when we rehomed the boys,” Bleakley said.

“These horses love having something to do, they love having a job. They look after weanlings for us and they go on the truck to keep mares company, and I think they will thrive with this next step.”

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