Epsom Derby hero Australia will vie to become only the 17th runner to win back to back Derby’s at The Curragh when he contests the €1.25 million Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (2400m) today. Should he do so victory may well carry more impetus than having his name added to the honour roll of Ireland’s premier classic.

Success for the colt in Ireland’s highest profile race has the capacity to further strengthen ties between Ireland and China after the respective governments agreed to allow Irish bred horses to be directly imported into China earlier this year. Success today will also shin a light on the value of the partnership between leaders in the breeding industries of the two countries in Coolmore and the China Horse Club (CHC).

Coolmore’s ability to use its famed stallion power to upgrade world breeding has been demonstrated in Australia, New Zealand and is currently being seen in South America. The CHC, through its partnership with Coolmore, has opened China up to the possibility of having the commercial appeal of its breeding industry fast track in the coming decades. The successful implementation of a commercial thoroughbred industry has a myriad of flow on benefits to the wider Chinese marketplace, its citizens and the government itself.

“Australia is a wonderful representative of the friendship between Coolmore and the China Horse Club, between Ireland and China,” said Mr Teo Ah Khing, chairman of the CHC.

“Mainland China is very new to seeing racing at this level but the Chinese certainly appreciate seeing world class events and world class athletes. We have seen this with Olympic Games and we can see it at the moment with the World Cup. People are really enjoying the World Cup even if China doesn’t have any direct involvement.

“As the China Horse Club and its members have more and more involvement in horses of this quality in some of the world’s most important races we certainly hope that more and more people will follow with interest. The feedback from Australia’s win in the Epsom Derby was most encouraging and we are hoping to build off that.”

At present people in Mainland China are unable to watch world class racing such as the G1 Irish Derby live on television or free on mainstream news website in China but it is hoped this setback can be overcome if international partners are proactive in promote their racing product by partnering with local content providers.

Interest in world racing continues to grow in China and, like the current World Cup, the opportunity for the Chinese to see the world’s best compete holds enormous benefits for the industry at large as well as the industry in China.

Television and online access to elite sport is a proven method of marketing a sport’s virtues to a mass market. Free-to-air television coverage can especially help educate CHC Members and the wider Chinese market on the existence and positive traits of some of the world’s best racing carnivals as well as the cities they are located in.

“The broadcast rights holders of race footage in Britain, Ireland and France have shown interest in having their content shown to China and the industries that generate this content will certainly see the benefit of being exposed to a mass market,” said Eden Harrington, General Manager of the CHC.

“Hopefully these industry bodies and the network right holders can work together to see this happen. It would be great for racing and great for interest in China. The more the Chinese population is exposed to the best of this sport, the greater the chance of racing gaining traction with one of the world’s richest demographics. And naturally those jurisdictions and those networks that move first will have an advantage over their peers.”