Horse racing needs team strategy to thrive, leader says

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Horse racing around the world needs to work together to face the “macro challenges” brought about by climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, the new chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) says.

Speaking at the 55th International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, incoming IFHA chairman Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said the meeting came at a “most significant time for our sport and the world”.

“We face major macro challenges arising from the pandemic and climate change. More than ever, we must work together and harness the wealth of talent and expertise within our membership to not only face these challenges, but ensure that our sport thrives in the short, medium, and long term,” Engelbrecht-Bresges said.

“This conference gives us the opportunity to look forward at some key parts of the IFHA’s strategy for the future. We are fortunate to have world-class speakers sharing their insights regarding digitalisation and media, equine welfare, climate change and sustainability.”

Held virtually for the second consecutive year, the 2021 Conference examined global racing’s evolution and future challenges.

Guest speakers included Michael Mulvihill, executive vice-president, head of strategy and analytics at Fox Sports; Jamie Stier, chair of the IFHA Horse Welfare Committee and Racing Victoria’s executive general manager, integrity services; Di Arbuthnot, the chief executive for Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) and chair of the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR); and Allen Hershkowitz, a founding director and chairman of Sport and Sustainability International and environmental science advisor to the New York Yankees. Presenter Rishi Persad returned this year to serve as moderator.

The conference concluded with a tribute to Louis Romanet, who is retiring after 27 years as chairman and who was appointed to the honorary position of Chairman Emeritus effective October 4, 2021.

The Japan Racing Association was the official partner of this year’s conference.

The IFHA is a foundation member with Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) of the International Horse Sports Confederation and is affiliated to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

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