International Racing Conference Calls for Integrity in Rules, Focus on Fan Experience

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The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities’ 47th Annual International Conference was held in Paris, France on Monday, October 7 and gathered representatives from 51 different racing nations.

Louis ROMANET, the IFHA chairman, said, “Each year the International Conference of Horseracing Authorities represents a pivotal forum for racing authorities throughout the world to come together to learn and exchange best practices. This year’s conference confirmed that the IFHA and racing authorities are committed to developing and promoting international competition. Additionally, the conference showcased methods on how racing can be best marketed and branded regionally and internationally, creating value in the process.”

Closing remarks by IFHA Chairman Louis ROMANET are found here.

As the keynote speaker of the conference, Nick NICHOLSON, former president & CEO of Keeneland Association, noted the importance of world wide cooperation and mutual respect among racing authorities. Mr NICHOLSON outlined the benefits gained when racing and stud book organizations come together in such a manner, noting the success of the International Stud Book Committee and its role in global commerce of Thoroughbreds.

NICHOLSON also stressed three distinct areas that authorities must focus on in meeting the demands of the new modern racing fan. He stressed the importance of integrity in wagering systems and statistics. Second, NICHOLSON noted that there must be total integrity in rules, enforcement, and penalties. Third, he emphasized that the safety of both jockeys and horses was the utmost priority.

ROMANET and Juan Carlos CAPELLI, LONGINES’ Vice President, Head of International Marketing, presented the first “LONGINES and IFHA International Award of Merit” to owner, breeder, and trainer Jim BOLGER.

The LONGINES and IFHA International Award of Merit is presented to an outstanding international personality of the horse racing industry selected by a committee including the IFHA Chairman, Vice Chairman and Longines’ Vice President.

Mr BOLGER is the first recipient of the prestigious award.

At the conference, it was also announced that the 35th Asian Racing Conference will be held 5-8 May 2014 in Hong Kong and that a Pan American Racing Conference will be held in June 2015 in New York. The latter conference will feature representatives from racing organizations, horsemen groups, breeders, and stud books from North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Under the session titled “Developing and Promoting International Competition”, the affiliation between the IFHA and the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) was discussed. The presentation made by Bernard VALLAT, Director General of the OIE, groups detailed the facilitation of the international movement of racehorses, including a concept known as High Health, High Performance (HHP) which would allow for a streamlined movement of sport horses and racehorses that met criteria as being low risk for disease transmission.

Additionally, the Conference spotlighted discussions between the IFHA and Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) on the concept of an International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) which would create a formal vehicle for cooperation between IFHA and FEI to encourage mutually beneficial partnerships across the range of issues which are common to both organizations and their respective sectors.

Reports and presentations were made or moderated by executives throughout the world at the 47th annual International Conference of Horseracing Authorities. These included executives from the Asian Racing Federation, Churchill Downs Incorporated, European & Mediterranean Horseracing Federation, FOX Sports Media Group, France Galop, Hong Kong Jockey Club, IFHA, Japan Racing Association, LONGINES, O.S.A.F. (Organización Sudamericana de Fomento del Pura Sangre de Carreras), Racing Victoria, The Jockey Club (U.S.A.) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Chairman ROMANET reaffirmed his priority to continue all efforts as Chairman of the IFHA to prohibit the use of medication in all Graded and Black Type races, which as he described “are the races that make the breed worldwide”.

Lastly, following the running of the 2013 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the World Rankings Supervisory Committee announced, and was shared by Chairman Louis ROMANET at the conference, that the winner, Treve (FR), has been rated 130, and will share top honors with Black Caviar (AUS) in the next edition of the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. Those rankings will be released on Thursday, 10th October.

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, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014.

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