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Record attendance at productive General Assembly in Stockholm


The EMHF returned to its roots when holding its General Assembly on Monday May 29th near Stockholm, where the Federation was launched in 2010. Today a much larger organisation, it received representatives of 20 of its 28 member Horse Racing Authorities, another record attendance. For the first time, EMHF welcomed, as Observers, representatives of the European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders Associations (EFTBA), following a decision taken that EMHF and EFTBA should enjoy reciprocal Observer status at each other’s General Assemblies. Similar links have already been established with other key organisations which share common interests and geographical footprint with EMHF, (the Union Europeenne duTrot – Trotting Racing’s European body, the European Equestrian Federation and the European and Mediterranean Stud Book Liaison Committee) and it is a positive policy of EMHF to encourage such cross-discipline dialogue, to foster cooperation and strengthen the sector as a whole.


Included within those attending were representatives from Greece, the newest EMHF member. A presentation on Greek racing’s remarkable recent recovery was given by members of the Jockey Club of Greece, accompanied by representatives of the betting operator Horse Races SA.


The General Assembly appointed two new members to its Executive Council, replacing departing members. Mrs Helena Gartner, Chief Administrative Officer at the Swedish Horseracing Authority, and Dr Martina Krejci, Secretary-General of the Jockey Club of the Czech Republic, become the first female members of the Executive Council.

Dr Martina Krejci

Mrs Helena Gartner


EMHF is united in its determination to uphold the ban on anabolic steroids and other substances defined as Prohibited by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA). It issued a statement (attached), affirming its commitment to the exclusion, within its member countries’ Rules of Racing, to a total ban on the use of such substances in racing, which should also not provide for any ‘Therapeutic Use Exemption’, as allowed for under certain circumstances within the International Agreement of Breeding Racing and Wagering. EMHF also committed to a progressively stronger emphasis on out-of-competition testing for such substances, whose effects can outlast their detectability – rendering race-day testing potentially ineffective.


EMHF members were equally united in a determination to make every effort to impress upon those conducting the negotiations over Britain’s departure from the EU that this should not impair the freedom of movement of Thoroughbreds between Britain and remaining EU countries. Such movements are numerous and of significant importance to the health of the Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing industries, not only in Britain and its immediate neighbours, but across the EuroMed region.


Fostering best practice in all aspects of racing administration across the region remains a key goal of EMHF, and an announcement was made of the next in its highly successful programme of Seminars. The British Horseracing Authority will be hosting an EMHF Seminar on October 26th and 27th, at its Head Office in London and at Newbury Racecourse, on Licensing policy and practice and on Integrity, with a particular focus on detection and control of race fixing.


Brian Kavanagh, Chairman, said:

Re. Control of Prohibited Substances:

EMHF Chairman, Brian Kavanagh stated ”The EMHF is committed to the highest standard of doping control procedures and there is unanimous support for a prohibition on the use of steroids from birth to retirement of racehorses, increased out of competition testing and no therapeutic use exemption. Where possible, member countries will now reflect this policy in their rules of racing and their doping control procedures, delivering a common approach throughout the region on this key issue.

Re. the potential ramifications of Brexit:

Brian Kavanagh, Chairman of the EMHF said "Brexit is the biggest challenge to face the European horse racing and breeding industries in a long time. The sophisticated and effective processes which we have developed over the years for the movement of horses and people throughout Europe should not be taken for granted and it is imperative that the interests of the thoroughbred racing and breeding sector are taken into account during the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. It was reassuring to note the unanimous support across all EMHF members for the protection of the current position which has been hard earned over many years.”

Dr Paull Khan, Secretary-General, said:

Re. female representation on the Executive Council:

“It is a regrettable fact that females are under-represented in racing administration across the world and I am delighted that EMHF has broken new ground in appointing women to both its vacant positions on its Executive Council. Let us hope this is a small but significant step towards appropriate minority representation in the sport.”

Re. Observer status accorded to sister organisations:

“I am proud of the fact that the EMHF is the only forum which brings together Thoroughbred racing, Stud Books and Breeders’ Associations, together with the Trotting and Equestrian worlds. Too often, we work in ‘silos’, and I firmly believe that exposure to, and involvement in, each other’s work can only lead to greater understanding and more cooperation, and will make our whole sector stronger as a result.”

Delegates visited Solvalla racetrack the previous day for the famous trotting race the Elitloppet and following the meeting were taken to the new racecourse at Bro Park which staged both the Swedish 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas.

General Assembly Delegates at Bro, near Stockholm.

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