Allan Bloodlines attends as guest of champion owners
Almaty is amongst the fastest growing cities in the world. From the standing start of Soviet era stagnation, the business centre of the beautiful, giant country of Kazakhstan has raced into modernisation supported by oil & gas revenues and a small population supplemented by migrant workers from poorer neighbouring countries. With property prices at 80% of London, new construction abounds and the increasingly troublesome traffic jams are dominated by gleaming 4x4s.
Racing is not high on the city’s list of priorities for funding but a dedicated group of individuals is supporting the Jockey Club’s efforts to improve facilities. In 2005 and 2006, horses purchased by Allan Bloodlines made their owner a champion by winning a long list of top races including the equivalents of the Oaks and both Guineas and today, under brilliant blue skies with a backdrop of Himalayan sized snow-capped mountains forming a barrier with China, David and Yoshiko Allan witnessed the start of the 2007 Season. The Allans were guests of Mr Maksat Akhaev and Mr Talgat Zhaisanbayev, good clients, good friends and generous hosts, who are putting profound research and great energy into their racing and breeding programmes as well as contributing to the reborn industry at large.
In a mixed programme of Thoroughbred, Arabian and Kazakh horse races, the contestants struggled through the heaviest of heavy ground which will dry out, but had not done so by today. Nevertheless, a capacity crowd lapped up the racing for racing’s sake – not surprising in a nation of true horse people – showing great sporting appreciation for the winners and other contestants. The huge price increases around the world made it more difficult to buy in late 2006 than before but those of the UK purchases that raced today performed well enough in ground that very few horses would overcome. Those that did included local heavy ground specialists and a rather costly Rock of Gibraltar colt that hung badly on the ground but his class got him home. With better ground to come, the season is set fair.