Wednesday, October 14, 2020Contact: Andrew Chesser
Virtual 2020 IFHA Conference Concludes with a Look Toward the Future

The 54th International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, organized by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), concluded today by examining ways the industry can prepare for and sustain racing post-pandemic.

The fourth and final video session was introduced by IFHA Vice-Chairman Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, who is also the CEO of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Rishi Persad then moderated two panels, the first with Victoria Carter (New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing), Engelbrecht-Bresges, and Annamarie Phelps (British Horseracing Authority), and the second with Horacio Esposito (Organización Sudamericana de Fomento del Pura Sangre de Carrera), Drew Fleming (Breeders’ Cup Ltd.), and IFHA Vice-Chairman Brian Kavanagh (Horse Racing Ireland).

Despite the significant challenges facing the sport during COVID-19, it is paramount that racing authorities continue to proactively address pressing issues to ensure racing’s sustainability over the longer term. The panelists discussed the need for racing to increase its focus on digitalization, have robust crisis management and business continuity planning in place, and cultivate strong government engagement and relationships.

They also touched upon the breeding industry, including how this sector affects and underpins the racing and betting product, as well as acknowledged that the health of the sport overall varies from region to region.

The IFHA Conference is typically held in-person in Paris, France, the day after the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), but in light of the pandemic, this year it was conducted as a series of videos released throughout the first part of October.

The first session (How to sustain the business of racing, as well as sports in general, in the midst of a pandemic and economic uncertainty), second session (Adapting the broadcast production, and media experience to a COVID-19 racing and sporting landscape), third session (Participating and working in racing during a global pandemic),  and keynote address have already been published.

All videos from the International Conference of Horseracing Authorities are posted on the IFHA’s YouTube channel, its website (, and its social media platforms. They are also available as podcasts.

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 by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities at France Galop. In 2019, the conference convened delegates from more than 50 different countries with a number of other racing executives and media members in attendance.
About IFHA

The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) is the world peak body for the international sport of Thoroughbred racing. Its members are the national racing authorities across the globe which stage Thoroughbred races.

Major areas of the IFHA’s activities include:

    •           Making and amending the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering (the IABRW)
    •           Policy development relating to welfare and safety of horses and riders
    •           International Race Planning and Grading (“black type”)
    •           World Rankings
    •           The fight against Equine Prohibited Substances and Practices
    •           Harmonization of Racing Rules
    •           Certification of IFHA Reference Labs
    •           Fostering commercial development of the racing industry globally

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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