Monday, October 05, 2015Contact: Andrew Chesser
49th IFHA Conference Details Strategic Direction for Federation

At the 49th Conference of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), Louis Romanet detailed a strategic plan that will direct the organization forward during his new mandate as Chairman. Romanet co-presented these directives with Vice-Chairmen Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Jim Gagliano, and Brian Kavanagh. All four will serve a new three-year term commencing October 2015 through October 2018.

The Conference, held in the offices of France Galop, convened delegates from 52 different countries with a number of other racing executives and media members in attendance.
Romanet outlined the Federation’s objectives in four main areas: completion of an audit and certification of a lab in each part of the world that meets the criteria set forth by the Task Force of the IFHA Advisory Council on Equine Prohibited Substances and Practices, active advancement and protection of equine and rider welfare, a more concerted effort to harmonize racing rules, and the promotion of racing and its most prominent participants.

In addition, Racing Australia Chairman John Messara AM delivered the keynote speech where he described the 30-year rise of the Australian Thoroughbred industry. Addressing delegates from 52 countries, Messara highlighted a number of defining events which have shaped the modern Australian industry to become a global player (see accompanying release for further details on John Messara’s keynote address).

The Conference also saw the announcement of the long-term extension of a partnership between the IFHA and Longines and the creation of the Longines World’s Best Horse Race award. The award will recognize the highest rated Group 1 or Grade 1 race as established for the year by the Longines World’s Best Racehorses Rankings Committee. The ratings of the top four finishers in each race over the past three years will serve as basis for the assessment.

Other spotlight presentations at the Conference included an update of the aforementioned IFHA Lab Certification program by Dr. Yves Bonnaire, director of Laboratoire des Course Hippiques (LCH), and an overview of the International Stud Book Committee (ISBC) and Weatherbys by the ISBC and Weatherbys Chairman Johnny Weatherby. Andrew Harding, Executive Director, Racing Authority, of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, detailed the current relations of the IFHA and the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) and ongoing measures on the international movement of horses. Secretary General of the European Mediterranean Horseracing Federation, Dr. Paull Khan, summarized the diverse racing in Central and Eastern European countries.

Two panels were also hosted at the Conference. Vice-Chairman Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges moderated a session on the global illegal betting market, with Martin Purbrick, Director of Security and Integrity at The Hong Kong Jockey Club, giving insight into the scale of the situation in Asia, and Professor Laurent Vidal, Chairman of the ICSS-Sorbonne Sport Integrity Program, discussed criminal activity related to betting in professional sports, citing several instances from numerous countries. Vice-Chairman Jim Gagliano brought together Racing Post Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief Alan Byrne and Tabcorp International’s General Manager of International Business Development Paul Cross to review the past, present, and future of information and media distribution to bettors, stakeholders, and racing fans.

Video replay and presentations from the Conference will be made available in the days following the Conference.

The first International Conference of Horseracing Authorities was organized and hosted by the Société d'Encouragement in Paris, France, on October 9, 1967. Since 1994, the annual conference has been organized at France Galop headquarters by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.

About IFHA
The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) is the world peak body for the international sport of Thoroughbred racing. Its members are the national racing authorities across the globe which stage Thoroughbred races.

Major areas of the IFHA’s activities include:

• Making and amending the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering (the IABRW)
• Policy development relating to welfare and safety of horses and riders
• International Race Planning and Grading (“black type”)
• World Rankings
• Equine Prohibited Substances and Practices
• Harmonization of Race Day Rules
• Fostering commercial development of the racing industry globally

The IFHA is a foundation member with Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) of the International Horse Sports Confederation and is affiliated to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).  
For further details, please contact:
Andrew Chesser
Secretary General, International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA)
Telephone +1 859 224 2741