Thursday, May 10, 2012

In UAE, horses are big business as well as passion - Full Article

Published on May 9, 2012 by DesiWireFeed
* Dubai growing as racing and trading hub

* Business recovers from 2009-2010 debt crisis

* Show jumping popular, not just endurance and flat racing

* Home-grown studs, other local businesses expand

* Money overcomes environmental obstacles

By Martin Dokoupil

DUBAI, May 9 (Reuters) — When an economic crisis in Uruguay strained the finances of Pio Olascoaga Amaya’s family farm, he found salvation halfway across the world: the horse racing industry of Dubai.

Olascoaga took one of his horses from Uruguay to try his luck in an endurance race in Spain. After the horse finished third, he was able to sell it to a trainer working for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler and an avid sponsor, owner and rider of horses.

That led to Olascoaga opening business ties with Dubai and 10 years later, at the age of 31, he helps run a family business selling Uruguayan-reared horses with Arabian blood to the United Arab Emirates. He acts as an agent for other farms in Uruguay as well as his own farm, which has 600 horses.

“If I sell a horse in Uruguay for let’s say $20,000 on average, here you can sell at a minimum $40,000,” he said. The margin makes it worth paying the $10,000 cost of transporting a horse by plane from Uruguay to Dubai, more than 17 hours away.

“Here in the UAE is the Formula One of horses. They need horses all the time, and from all around the world,” Olascoaga said after making a presentation to Saudi owners at an Arabian horse fair in Dubai...

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