Seventy-six thoroughbred horses have been flown to Beijing in the largest ever single export of Irish racing bloodstock to China.
The animals transported in the three million euro airlift have all been purchased by Chinese tycoon Zhang Yuesheng.
The transaction has been hailed as a major leap into the lucrative Chinese market. To date, over 90 per cent of thoroughbreds imported into China are sourced from Australia and New Zealand.
The horses were bought from Irish breeders on behalf of Mr Yuesheng by Kildare-based bloodstock agency BBA Ireland.
They were flown from Shannon airport with a team of professional flying grooms and a vet, with 30 handlers on the ground involved in the three-hour process of loading the animals at Shannon.
On arrival, the horses were transported to stables where they will go into training in China before debuting in Chinese races.
BBA Ireland worked in conjunction with the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM), the not-for-profit company that promotes Ireland as a leading source for the production and sale of quality thoroughbreds worldwide.