BA RIA-VUNG TAU — The man who first brought dog racing into Viet Nam expects to expand it to other localities around the country, with the first new course to open in Ha Tinh Province.
Money hound: Dogs race on a track at Vung Tau City's Lam Son Stadium. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu
Nguyen Ngoc My opened his dog racetrack 12 years ago in Vung Tau City. The Sports and Entertainment Services, the company that My set up to run the course and a dog-care centre, will supply greyhound dogs for racing in Ha Tinh.
In Ha Tinh, the company is expected to have three days of races a week and 10 races a day.
The 10ha centre in the province's Ba Ria Town will be responsible for taking care and training 600 greyhound dogs.
Since 2000, My has imported 200 greyhound dogs from Australia, which have given birth to 400 dogs. Around 350 of the total of 600 dogs take part in races. His centre is the only one of its kind in Asia.
All greyhounds wear a chip for supervision and the caretakers keep meticulous records about the dogs' families to ensure that they remain purebred.
When the course in Ha Tinh opens this year, the company will organise four prizes of greyhound racing this year on Tet (Lunar New Year), Liberation Day (Arpil 30), National Day (September 2) and New Year's Eve.
The first prize this year, with a total value of VND418 million (US$21,000), will take place on two days this Tet, which falls on January 26 and 28.
To make the prize exciting, the company last week held an auction to sell 32 dogs with the best racing records.
"Private ownership of the greyhounds could make the prize and audience more exciting," said My.
Owners of the dogs will be able to take care of them at home if they agree to strict conditions for raising them. If they are unable to do so, they will pay a fee to the caretaking centre.
Besides centres in Viet Nam, My may open one in Cambodia's Siem Reap Province, which has asked My to develop dog racing there.
My said dog racing had brought more tourists to Vung Tau, which has provided an incentive for other provinces to open similar racetracks.
"It is a good recreation for Vietnamese, where entire generations of the family can enjoy the same activity in an open atmosphere," he said. — VNS