Olympic gift horse killed in car smash
A thoroughbred horse presented to Beijing by the Hong Kong Jockey Club for possible involvement in the 2008 Olymics was killed on Sunday when it ran into a car in a Beijing suburb.
The horse, one of 51 pure blood horses given by the Hong Kong club to the Chinese Equestrian Association as candidates for competition in the Beijing 2008 Olympics, was hit by a car in Baige Road in Changping District on Sunday afternoon.
Officials with the Chinese Equestrian Association said the horse, which arrived in Beijing just two weeks ago, escaped from a quarantine isolation zone several kilometres away before running onto the road and veering into the path of an oncoming car, the Beijing News reported yesterday.
The horse, named Brilliant Palace, was a five-year-old female from a distinguished blood line - its mother was Shangainaise from Australia and its father was Desert King from Ireland.
Witnesses said that, startled by a dog which ran into the quarantine zone, the horse bolted and ran on to the road.
Trainers followed the horse but were unable to recapture the mare before it was hit by a car.
Two people in the car were injured and were rushed to a nearby hospital, police said. The case is still under investigation.
An official surnamed Cheng from the Beijing Turf & Equestrian Association said certain rules should be established for the better management of horses in sport.
"There are no standards for the raising and management of sports horses, let alone security rules," Cheng said. "The horses are raised at different horse yards before attending training sessions."
Every year, the Hong Kong Jockey Club presents retired racing horses to the Chinese Equestrian Association in Beijing. Pure blood racing horses can fetch around HK$1 million (US$121,000) each.
Although the horses given to Beijing are no longer suitable for racing, they can be trained for show jumping. Some may be used in the modern pentathlon at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, said Hao Lizan, an official with Chinese Equestrian Association.
(China Daily 04/06/2005 page2)