Matamata trainer Glenn Old spent the best part of a decade working in Macau at the turn of the century and that association is reaping dividends for the Waikato conditioner.
He recently sold four horses to the Asian racing jurisdiction and it is a market that makes up the majority of his business.
“I spent eight and a-half years up there, so I have a lot of contacts,” Old said.
“It was really good up there. I wouldn’t have what I have got if it wasn’t for that place. It’s been really good to me.
“For the last 16 years I have been buying and selling horses up there.
“We usually have about 20 to 24 in work. Up to eight or nine of them would be targeted toward Macau, then a few for Hong Kong and a couple for Singapore.
“It is pretty much the biggest part of the business. We have some go up there every couple of months. Our last shipment I think we sent about eight up, we’re a pretty good supplier for up there.”
Old said pre-training has also become a big part of his operation.
“I do a lot of pre-training for Chris Waller and a little bit for Raffles Farm. I mainly just get them up and trial them, educate them and send them on.”
Although Macau racing was injected with a dose of optimism recently after the Macau Jockey Club was granted a license renewal, Old isn’t putting all his eggs in one basket, having expanded into other international markets.
“They have got a renewal, but there is a lot that needs to come to the party to keep it going,” he said. “But hopefully it keeps going, it’s a great place.”
Meanwhile, at home Old is eyeing southern spoils with quality galloper Bizzwinkle next season.
The Rip Van Winkle gelding ran third in the Listed New Zealand St Leger (2500m) last preparation and Old believes his runner has matured enough to warrant a tilt at the Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) in November.
“Bizzwinkle has come up really well,” he said. “I’ll target the New Zealand Cup with him. He’s a real dour staying sort of horse.
“He had a really good run in the St Leger and probably should have run second. We should have ridden him more forward.
“He had about seven weeks out and has been in for about five weeks. He’s grown up and matured a bit, so time will be his friend.
“We’ll kick him off at Hastings on the first day of September and hopefully work toward Riccarton.”
Old has also welcomed the return of quality grey Our King Sway to his Matamata barn after his spell, but is taking a more cautious approach with the Shinko King gelding.
“He’s back in work and we’ll target him toward the grey horse race in Taranaki. We’ll just lower our sights a bit this year and try a couple of smaller races with him.
“He had seven weeks out. He’s just an honest sort of horse who is just below the top tier.” – NZ Racing Desk