Historic venue development at both the Curragh in Ireland and Longchamp in France were in the spotlight during the 51st Conference of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), held today (2nd October) in Paris, France.
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. The first meeting had 14 attendees from nine countries. Today’s Conference convened delegates from about 50 different countries with a number of other racing executives and media members in attendance.
“The importance of gatherings such as this one cannot be understated,” said IFHA Chairman Louis Romanet, who led the conference. “Every country has its own take on racing, but we can all learn from each other to make the sport better on a global scale.”
Brian Kavanagh, the CEO of Horse Racing Ireland and a vice-chairman of the IFHA, along with Derek McGrath, the CEO of Curragh Racecourse, updated attendees on the Irish redesign, while Olivier Delloye, the chief executive of France Galop, and Fabrice Favetto Bon, the marketing director of France Galop, presented on Longchamp.
The redesigned Curragh will feature a new grandstand, which will incorporate top of the line corporate facilities, restaurants, bars and viewing facilities. The project will also include a new arrivals and reception area, parade ring, and weigh room.
“Racegoers expect more,” said Kavanagh. “They need more racing, more of an experience, more involvement to excite and entice them to the Curragh.”
The new Longchamp, which is nearing completion and will officially open in April 2018, also features a new grandstand aimed at improving customer experience as well as a 360°view overlooking the parade ring and tracks on every floor. The track will be renamed ParisLongchamp.
“Longchamp is a unique track where champions have produced their best performance before leaving a long-lasting impact on the breed,” said Delloye. “It must contribute to the rebound of French racing. ParisLongchamp will create more value for the French racing and breeding industry.”
Other morning panels included a progress report on relations between the International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC)—which is comprised of the IFHA and FEI—and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); a presentation on the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul next May; an update on the progression and implementation of the Reference Labs Strategy; and an update on the 2nd International Forum for the Aftercare of Horses as well as a panel discussion on racecourse aftercare, which was led by IFHA Vice-Chairman Jim Gagliano, who is also the president of The Jockey Club.
During his presentation on the Reference Labs Strategy, Romanet announced that the IFHA Executive Council has approved a policy whereby the disqualification of a horse by final action of a regulatory authority as a result of detection of prohibited substances will result in that horse not being included in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. The decision unanimously approved by the IFHA Executive Council is as follows and is implemented for races that take place in 2017 and going forward:
Any horse that has been disqualified by final action of a regulatory authority with jurisdiction over the conduct of racing where the violation occurred as a result of the detection of a prohibited substance covered by Article 6E of the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering (IABRW) will be excluded from the Rankings for the corresponding calendar year in which the violation is determined to have occurred. An exception can be made if the trainer has been determined to have discharged his responsibilities in specific cases (i.e. contamination).
The afternoon featured sessions led by the IFHA’s other two vice-chairmen. Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges led panels on “International Strategy: Transitioning from a local to a global market,” while Kavanagh oversaw discussions on “Challenges facing the European Breeding and Racing Industry.”
The first panel covered topics including Japanese simulcasting, the PMU 2020 strategy, and the HKJC’s commingling strategy, while the second took a look at the implications of Brexit on the movement of horses in and out of Great Britain as well as gave an update on the work of the European & Mediterranean Horseracing Federation (EMHF).