The Chinese billionaire bringing NZ horses to Inner Mongolia

The Chinese billionaire bringing NZ horses to Inner Mongolia

Over the past three years more than a thousand Kiwi-bred horses have been sold to a syndicate in Inner Mongolia, led by Chinese billionaire Lin Lang.

As race day prizes go, it could be New Zealand racing's most valuable. It's expected Mr Lang's purchases will lift China from the sixth-biggest buyer of Kiwi horses to second, only behind Australia.

Known as Mr Wolf - he says his name in Mandarin Chinese sounds like 'wolf' - he also keeps a couple of wolves as pets.

He's made his fortune in fast food. Now he's spending plenty of it on fast horses. Kiwi horses, like last year's New Zealand Horse of the Year Mongolian Khan.

But it's been the purchase of more than a thousand horses, exported to Inner Mongolia that has lifted the New Zealand racing industry at a crucial time.

"For Mr Wolf to come to NZ and invest, he's done a lot of favours for a lot of people, he's bought a lot of stock that I don't know what you'd do with them otherwise," says Brent Gillovic of Te Awamutu's Highview Stud.

While some of the Kiwi breeders and trainers believe he's saved New Zealand breeding, Mr Lang says he's happy to work with his New Zealand friends and revitalise the industry.

And he's done a fair bit of revitalising in Inner Mongolia too.

What is truly remarkable is the scale of the operation.

In two years, they've built a race track, a grand stand, a luxury hotel, stabling areas, a veterinary clinic and a breeding programme.

Attracting rich Chinese to buy horses is also a key part of his plan.

"Chinese rich people want to get involved because it's exciting, it's luxury, a bit of excitement with sport and social networking, that's the great combination they're looking forward to," says Jun Ou from the Kylin Horse Group.

The group is bringing 200 rich Chinese horse buyers to New Zealand next year.

And while gambling on horse racing is still illegal in China, Mr Wolf is betting on that changing.

He's confident China's leaders will make the right decision.

If that happens, Mr Wolf and New Zealand horse racing will both be on a winner.