Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hanoi to have world-class horse track

VietNamNet Bridge – After many years of delay as foreign partners two times gave up the game, the project on the biggest horse track in Vietnam will be resumed.

In 1999, the project on the horse race field in Hanoi was licenced. The project investor was the Vietnam Sports and Horse Race Club Company. The Hanoi People’s Committee allowed them to build a 439,731 sq m horse track in the areas of Dai Kim and Thanh Liet communes of Hoang Mai and Thanh Liet districts. However, in 2005, the foreign partner in the joint venture gave up, because Vietnam did not allow horse race betting.

At that time, Hanoitourism decided to merge with the said company, and then join forces with a British partner to set up a joint venture to continue the project.

However, the Hanoi People’s Committee decided that a horse track on the previously chosen land plot in Hoang Mai and Thanh Liet districts would not mesh with the development programme of Hanoi and asked them to relocate the field to Tan Minh commune in Soc Son district.

When the Hanoi People’s Committee was going to sign the decision on allocating land for the project, the foreign partner, once again, withdrew from the project. The main reason for the British investor’s withdrawal was that horse race betting was considered legal only if it was carried out within the horse track complex.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment then threatened to revoke the licence for the project. However, the Hanoi People’s Committee proposed the retention of the licence after finding a new investor, US-based Global Consultant Network L.L.C.

Nguyen Manh Hung, Director General of Hanoutourism, said that his company would sign the contract on setting up a joint venture to develop the project on the biggest horse track in Vietnam next week with the US partner. He said that the US partner had accepted the in-house gambling restriction, which makes the project feasible.

“What we need to do now is to fulfill administrative procedures. We will kick-start the project as soon as we can,” said Mr Hung.

The parties of the joint venture have estimated that the total investment capital will be $500mil-1bil. The horse track will cover an area of 235 ha, and the project will be undertaken in two phases. In the first phase, $120mil will be injected to build the track, while in the second phase, other items will be built, including 5-star hotels, trade centres, a golf course, water park, apartments and a resort.

According to Mr Hung, Vietnam will contribute capital to the joint venture in brand name and prestige, while the foreign partner, cash, equipment, technologies and thoroughbreds.

Once operational, this will be a world-class horse track.

The project will include a horse training centre to cover an area of 125 ha. In the first phase of the project, right after the field becomes operational, horse race activities will be organised two days a week, while other days it will be open for other entertainment and sports activities.

The horse race field will be 6km from Noi Bai Airport and link directly to the centre of Hanoi. The project is expected to create 10,000 jobs.