The Executive Council of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) has reaffirmed its support for moves to reduce the red tape surrounding international horse movements.
The council, which is the highest level of governance in world racing, met for the first time today in Asia, at the 35th Asian Racing Conference in Hong Kong, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The meeting follows a workshop in Hong Kong in February between the IFHA, the OIE, and the FEI to get so-called “high health, high performance horse” (HHP) concept recognised.
A record number of delegates are attending the Asian Racing Conference, with more than 800 confirmed attendees from 40 countries registered. Speakers and presenters from over 20 countries will be taking part in the 15 business sessions over three days.
The IFHA is the Paris-based world body for thoroughbred racing. Its major functions include the quality control of International Race Planning and Grading (known as ‘black type’), the production of the Longines-sponsored Official World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, the setting of international standards relating to anti-doping and animal welfare, and the system of racing clearances for international competition.
The Executive Council meeting considered major policy issues, including proposals on the international harmonisation of anti-doping control, forensic testing laboratory certification, and the genetic integrity of thoroughbreds. The Council also reaffirmed its strong support for the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), with which it is working hard on issues concerning the international movement of horses, including research into equine influenza.
The IFHA Executive Council consists of 13 members drawn from three regions – Europe, the Americas and Asia.
On the opening day almost 200 delegates attended an event organised by John Ridley, Director of Racing Operations at the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC).
The subjects covered included floodlight design, integration with broadcasting systems, benchmarks and performance parameters for racetracks, planning and renewal for sustainable tracks, and the HKJC racing talent management programme.
Takaki Nagashima, Chief Starter of the Japan Racing Association, presented on the philosophy of starts and starting gates, with the final session covering rail systems in the racing industry.
The Conference runs for four days and on the final day on Thursday, a key business session is ‘Sport Integrity – racing as the frontrunner’.
This session will look at the extent of integrity challenges, especially on cheating in relation to betting, examine how the international racing industry can work more closely to share intelligence and best practice, and see what lessons can be learnt from successful prosecutions of cheats in racing and other sports.
The speakers include Mark Warby QC, the Honourable Mukul Mudgal, Nick McKenzie and Dayle Brown.
Working on behalf of the British Horseracing Authority, London barrister Mark Warby has led a string of successful prosecutions for betting-related corruption of races, as well as important legal contests in football, rugby and other sports.
Mukul Mudgal is India’s foremost authority on sports law and is a former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. In April, 2013, the New Delhi Supreme Court appointed Justice Mudgal to investigate allegations of spot-fixing and betting in the Indian Premier League. He is also advising India’s national government on the drafting of its Sports Bill.
These two legal heavyweights will be joined by multiple award-winning investigative reporter Nick McKenzie, and Dayle Brown, the Executive General Manager of Integrity Services at Racing Victoria, to discuss what racing needs to do to meet betting-related challenges to its integrity in the modern world.
The Asian Racing Conference takes place every 18 months or so, and is widely considered to be the most important and influential event of its type.
The IFHA Executive Council meets again in Paris in October 2014 in conjunction with the running of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.