Qatari racing owner Sheikh Fahad Al Thani could be looking to establish a stud farm in New Zealand after seeing the open coal mines in Australia’s Hunter Valley.
David Redvers, who is the bloodstock advisor for the Sheikh’s Qatar Racing operation, said that after flying over the area they will look to New Zealand or possibly Victoria to create a Southern Hemisphere farm.
“The Hunter Valley, having seen what I have seen will have to come straight off the shopping list,” Redvers told ABC Rural.
“To have that amount of pollution and destruction of the environment causes huge concern.
“What surprised me was just how open cast all the mines there were and the possibility of dust pollution.”
He said the amount of dust in the atmosphere, added to Australia’s dry conditions, were a “huge concern” for horses.
Qatar Racing has been one of the world’s biggest investors in the thoroughbred industry in recent times with the Sheikh ready to expand further with his Pearl Bloodstock operation.
“We’ve been looking at investing in a Southern Hemisphere farm, and a big one, to stand our stallions and breed our racing stock,” Redvers said.
“We have only been going for the last four years, but we have gone from one horse winning the Melbourne Cup in Dunaden (2011), to having 240 horses in training and a large breeding part of the business.
“We have three stallions standing in the Southern Hemisphere already and we have just invested in a horse called Zoustar, probably one of the most expensive horses to have been sold privately in Australia this year. I’m not saying we will rival Coolmore or Darley, but I’m certainly saying we are going to be up there competing with them.”
Sheikh Fahad Al Thani already has significant investment in the New Zealand thoroughbred breeding industry with his sire Makfi standing at Gerry Harvey’s Westbury Stud in Karaka.