- Dr Paull Khan
IFHA underlines commitment to horse welfare
The member nations of the IFHA pledged to continuously protect horse welfare and further implement strong anti-doping controls Monday at the 48th Annual IFHA Conference in Paris. The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities’ (IFHA) 48th Annual International Conference, chaired by Louis ROMANET, was held in Paris, France on Monday, October 6 and gathered representatives from 49 different racing nations.
“Protecting horse welfare remains paramount for the IFHA and collectively we must identify best practice approaches, develop global standards, and promote education and research initiatives to fulfill this fundamental responsibility as racing authorities,” ROMANET stated. “The IFHA will be at the forefront on this core issue and will also utilize the new International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) between the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and IFHA as a primary vehicle for this discussion.”
Chairman ROMANET also highlighted that the IFHA is directing its Advisory Council on Equine Prohibited Substances to develop a program of certification for racing laboratories in order to make available reference labs in all continents, with an aim that these reference labs could eventually test for high level group and graded races.
“The Federation’s commitment to a stringent anti-doping policy has been well known since the IFHA’s inception. The implementation of international screening limits and the publication of detection times was a key first step. The introduction of a lab certification program coupled with strong out of competition testing will go a long way to strengthen and secure fair competition of racing.”
Ogden Mills (Dinny) PHIPPS, chairman of The Jockey Club (USA) delivered the keynote address at the conference. PHIPPS echoed the sentiments of Mr ROMANET, stating, “If we don’t have integrity, we don’t have fans. And if we don’t have fans, we don’t have an industry. A medication-free environment would be good for all of us, whether the consumer is the investor in bloodstock or the gambler. In North America, The Jockey Club’s main focus is reforming our medication policies.”
PHIPPS affirmed that The Jockey Club (USA) would continue to work closely with the IFHA and its international colleagues on all matters, including horse welfare, safety, and integrity matters.
The conference featured two primary sessions. The first, titled “Racetrack Surfaces and Safety” was moderated by IFHA vice-chairman Brian KAVANAGH, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland. Dr. Michael “Mick” PETERSON, executive director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory and the Libra Foundation Professor for the College of Engineering at the University of Maine, delivered a presentation on racing surfaces for safety and consistency, and H. Graham MOTION, trainer, Herringswell Stables, gave a first-hand account of training and racing on the varying track surfaces in the United States.
The second session of the conference, “Building a successful Social Media Strategy”, moderated by IFHA vice-chairman Winfried ENGELBRECHT-BRESGES, chief executive officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, examined best practices in utilizing social media and its application to horse racing. David STERNBERG, head of media for Manchester United, and Wolfgang BREYER, head of international advertising, online communication, and social media for BMW Group shared their respective implementations and strategies in the important communication medium.
The 48th conference of the IFHA also gave a synopsis of the recently concluded International Conference of Racing Analysts and Veterinarians (ICRAV) and the IFHA’s ongoing collaboration with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to facilitate international horse movement. An update was delivered on the upcoming 2015 Pan-American Conference to be held in New York, USA, and presentations were made showcasing racing in Scandinavia and Korea.
It was also announced by Chairman ROMANET that the IFHA’s International Grading and Race Planning Advisory Committee (IRPAC) would promote 12 Group races (2 G1’s, 2 G2’s and 8 G3’s) of Uruguay from Part 2 to Part 1 within the International Cataloguing Standards Book for 2015. These proposed upgrades will be submitted to SITA (Society of International Thoroughbred Auctioneers) for ratification.
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.