16th April 2006
Chile is one country whose thoroughbreds are gaining a worldwide reputation and particularly with regards to suitability to our climate and deserves our serious consideration.
If the recent importation to Australia of the 2005 Chilean Horse of the Year ‘Cefalu’ results in stakes wins in this country, it could open the floodgates. He is the first racehorse exported from Chile to race in Australia for 15 years and only the third in total.
Geographically, Chile’s racing centre and capital, Santiago, sits on a very similar latitude to Sydney. Santiago itself boasts two racecourses; the very impressive turf track, Club Hipico and the dirt track Hipodromo Chile.
Club Hipico is the venue for El Ensayo – “The Test” – the second oldest race in the Americas. It is a set weight race for 3 year old colts and fillies over 2400 metres, which is the full circumference of this expansive track. This is roughly 180 metres more than Randwick’s course proper, the largest track in New South Wales.
Like Australia, the turf industry in Chile is economically very important, with more than ten thousand people working in it and many thousands of fanatics in the country who bet on their ‘TAB’ type network called Tele Trak and a phone betting system called Fono Trak.
Chile currently only produces around 1500 foals per year, however the soil is considered amongst the best in the world for producing tough racehorses (as well as great wine!). Chilean racehorses often run weekly, doubling the nuber of starts required of them throughout their careers.