It’s, er, horses for course in Queenstown

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These life-like horse sculptures are the latest artworks to grace Sir Michael Hill’s private golf course near Arrowtown.

The sculptures, by Max Patte, will be officially unveiled this Sunday.

Hundreds of thousands of people have already had a sneak peek after renowned photographer Trey Ratcliff posted this shot on his website – the world’s number one travel photography blog.

Ratcliff, who recently moved to Queenstown and also tweeted the image to followers, says he saw the horses by accident while playing golf at The Hills.

“I came over the hill to this little par three and I thought they were real. I was so shocked,” Ratcliff writes on his popular site.

“I’ll never forget it. It was surreal … I love that feeling of not knowing if something is real or fantasy, and really getting lost, even if just for a moment.”

English-born Patte, who also has pictures of the horses on his website, runs the sculpture team at Wellington-based Weta Workshop, which provided the special effects for Kiwi director Sir Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit films.

Patte’s Solace in the Wind, depicting a male nude, is already on display at The Hills’ ever-growing Sculpture Park.

The park, and another stunning sculpture series – Chinese artist Liu Ruowang’s extraordinary The Wolves are Coming which consists of 110 cast-iron wolves and a Chinese warrior – were officially launched last October by Prime Minister John Key. 

The Wolves are Coming arrived in time for The Hills’ major annual pro-am golf tournament.