Quarantine rules eased for Hong Kong

Horse travel between Hong Kong and Australia has become easier with the easing of quarantine protocols between the two.

Australia's Department of Agriculture on Monday reinstated Hong Kong as an approved jurisdiction for immediate importation of horses.

The department has spent months assessing the equine health status of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the biosecurity controls in place for racehorses under the control of the Hong Kong Jockey Club that travel to and from the Conghua Training Centre on mainland China.

Because of the movement of horses between Hong Kong and China which may have come into contact with those coming to Australia, stricter rules had applied with horses having to spend 180 days in a third country.

Many of Hong Kong's racehorses are bred in Australia and most of those retired from racing have spent the six months in New Zealand.

The protocols were relaxed for Japanese mare Lys Gracieux who raced in Hong Kong before travelling to Australia to win the Cox Plate.

She was a couple of weeks short of the 180 days but was granted dispensation to travel to Melbourne.

The Australian government's assessment concluded that the suite of biosecurity controls in place meet Australia's import standards and, accordingly, Hong Kong should regain its status as an approved jurisdiction for the export of horses to Australia.

"Following on the heels of the interim protocols achieved in March and the successful site visit by officials from Australia's Department of Agriculture in October, we welcome the confirmation that movements of horses between Australia and Hong Kong can now be fully resumed," Andrew Harding, HKJC executive director, Racing, said.

The Kris Lees-trained In Her Time will be Australia's lone representative at the annual International meeting at Sha Tin on December 8.