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Racehorse owners pen an open letter to the Legislative Assembly 

Owners are continuing their efforts to have the government help them strike a better compensation deal with the Macau Jockey Club.

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Racehorse owners published an open letter to the Legislative Assembly this week, urging lawmakers to assist them in their ongoing campaign for a better compensation package from the Macau Jockey Club (MJC), which is due to close on 1 April after recording massive financial losses.

In the letter, reproduced by specialist website Racing King, the owners reiterated their plea from last weekend’s press conference for legislators and the government to intervene in upcoming talks with the MJC to ensure that owners are properly compensated. 

Currently, the MJC has agreed to subsidise the cost of transporting the racehorses overseas, with a cap of HK$200,000. Owners claim that this amount is insufficient and would result in them incurring a financial loss. 

The letter indicates that MJC chairperson Angela Leong will negotiate a settlement on 12 March with six horse owner representatives from Macao, Hong Kong and mainland China. 

The owners also noted that they “could not accept” the MJC’s “extremely far-fetched reasons” for rejecting their compensation claims, which were outlined in a letter dated 21 February. 

[See more: Racehorse owners are calling for better compensation from the MJC]

In that document, the club wrote that it was unable to fulfil the owner’s compensation requests due to the financial burden resulting from the early termination of its government contract.

Local broadcaster TDM, however, notes that the MJC has not been required to make any payments to the government as a result of its closure and that it will, in fact, recover a 15 million pataca deposit from the authorities. 

“The horse owners absolutely cannot accept…their [MJC’s] insincere apologies, nor their attempt to shift the blame to horse owners, who they say blindly and wrongly invested in a business that was losing money,” the open letter said.

The owners have asked the government to conduct a reassessment of the MJC’s closure and whether the decision was in the best interest of the city and its residents.

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