Monday, October 03, 2016Contact: Andrew Chesser
50th IFHA Conference Commemorates Accomplishments, Looks Toward Future

During the 50th Conference of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), Chairman Louis Romanet commemorated the accomplishments of the past 50 years of the annual forum as well as addressed the core opportunities and challenges to international horse racing for the future.

The first Conference, held in 1967, was chaired by Romanet’s father, Jean Romanet, and there were 14 attendees from nine countries. Today’s 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 first discussed the achievements of the IFHA throughout the decades. The most recent milestone touched upon was the IFHA’s partnership with Longines, which began three years ago. The partnership has transformed the Federation’s approach to external communication and also has led to the most prestigious awards in international horse racing. Those awards include the Longines World’s Best Racehorse, Longines World’s Best Jockey, Longines World’s Best Horse Race, and the Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit.
With a look toward the future, Romanet then addressed a number of issues, including the need to work alongside the International Stud Book Committee and stud books around the world to monitor any developments that threaten the Thoroughbred breed, such as genetic and cellular manipulation; the desire to eradicate raceday medication on all continents and have out of competition testing; the importance of advancing progressive horse welfare policies; providing aftercare solutions; and facilitating the movement of horses in a responsible and efficient manner.

The Conference’s keynote address was delivered by HRH Princess Haya Al Hussein, one of the most prominent leaders in equine sport. As President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) from 2006 to 2014, HRH Princess Haya led the global equestrian sports governing body to a number of significant milestones.

HRH Princess Haya Al Hussein
“Together, over the last nine years, the FEI and IFHA have climbed some huge mountains, and while each Federation enjoys complete autonomy and individuality, both exist for one reason and one reason only—the horse. And no matter how many differences the industries believe they have, that shared jewel means that what affects one must affect the other. But also, what can be achieved together, is far greater than what can ever be done in isolation.”

The other main sessions of the Conference were led by the three Vice-Chairmen of the IFHA. Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh oversaw the topic “Promoting and Attracting Racehorse Ownership”, Jockey Club (USA) President and COO Jim Gagliano moderated a panel titled, “Providing Aftercare Solutions at a Global Level”, and Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges chaired the session “Strategies to Secure and Grow Revenues for Racing.”

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 the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA):

The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) is the world peak body for the international sport of Thoroughbred racing. Its 60 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).

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