18 Feb TERESA TRANSFORMS CHINESE NEW YEAR
Teresa Poon is the Chairperson of the Australian Chinese Jockey Club (ACJC) and has been a major part of the success of the Chinese New Year race meeting concept since its inception four years ago.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club caught up with her before our CNY celebration at The Valley to discuss her life in the thoroughbred industry.
Welcome Teresa. Let’s start with the obvious question, when did your passion for horse racing begin?
I am a migrant from Hong Kong, arriving in Australia in 1991. in racing, when you mention Hong Kong, you can probably gauge where the passion comes from. I am a member of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, my life in Hong Kong then was catching up with friends at the races on Wednesday night at Happy Valley and Saturday or Sunday at Sha Tin. Back in those days, my passion was purely punting, having a lot of fun playing exotic combinations, trying to win big with a small bet. It was only when I arrived in Melbourne that I learnt about bloodlines and breeding, which is so much more interesting, though, when applied in my punting, doesn’t necessarily improve my odds of winning.
As founder of the ACJC, how did it all come about?
Our breeding hobby/business brought me to all major yearling sales around the country. I noticed there had been an increase in the number of Asians present at the sales. That brought me this idea of starting a social club to engage all the Asians who are living in Australia to be immersed into all aspects of horse racing. There are enough business networking groups meeting for lunches, seminars, but none so far using horse racing as a platform for the Asian community to connect to the local Australian community.
A great idea that has clearly taken off. Tell us a bit about Musk Creek Farm?
Musk Creek Farm is a passionate hobby for David Kobritz and myself, which, over time, has become a serious side business. The concept behind it is a boutique broodmare farm raising, hopefully, quality progeny that we are proud of, by giving our horses the luxury of good pastures and space.
Who would be your favourite racehorse of all time?
It sounds a bit of a cliché, there are so many outstanding ones since I arrived in Melbourne, but none can surpass seeing all four of Winx’s Cox Plate wins. One has to pinch yourself for the luck, really a case of being at the right place at the right time.
What a privilege it has been to see her. What do you love most about The Valley?
The Valley is a place where everyone knows everyone as friends and family – the track is always prepared well, and above all, they are ready to embrace new concepts – ACJC Chinese New Year Race Night is a perfect example. When I first went to the MVRC with this vision of hosting the biggest Chinese New Year Celebration on a racetrack in Australia, they embraced it bravely and generously gave us the Friday night race meeting. Over the last three and half years, together, we have created a very unique product worthy enough for Alinta Energy to come along and partner with the Club for the next three years.
If you could change one thing in racing at the moment, what would it be?
With everything, there is always room for improvement. I honestly believe racing in Victoria is looking good, we have the right person with the right heart running it, from the State Government, Racing Victoria to all the committee boards in all racing clubs. As passionate as I am in racing, I have a lot of personal opinion, but I think we should give our administrators the support, faith and space for them to perform.
What are you most looking forward to this evening?
I am really looking forward to the opportunity to showcase this wonderful sport of horse racing to the “outsiders” through a night of entertainment and activities, hopefully to convince them that after all, racing is an entertainment where everyone can meet and have a good time.
How excited are you for Chinese New Year?
When we start a new year, for everyone, it signifies a time of moving forward with hope. For us Chinese around the world, it is a time to celebrate new energy and hope.