A review of The General Stud Book of Southern Africa identified several horses that were imported and new names issued in South Africa without approval from the horse's Stud Book of birth. To comply and be aligned with the requirements of the International Stud Book Committee the affected horses have changed names to those approved by the horse’s Stud Book of birth. 

 

The National Horseracing Authority confirms that the registered names of the following imported horses have been changed with immediate effect: 

 

Ø  Casino King (AUS) bay gelding, sired by Casino Prince (AUS), out of the mare, Tomescu (AUS) bred by Calumet Farm (AUS), foaled on 7 September 2013, has been changed to that of KING OF CASINO’S (AUS). 

Ø  Coys (AUS) brown gelding, sired by Uncle Mo (USA), out of the mare, Calvello (AUS) bred by Odessa Stud Australia (AUS), foaled on 16 October 2014 trained by Mr Paul Lafferty has been changed to that of OUR COYS (AUS). 

Ø  Gasoline (AUS) bay gelding, sired by Teofilo (IRE), out of the mare, Decibella (AUS) bred by Mr R Harvey (AUS), foaled on 24 October 2011, has been changed to that of WHERE YOU (AUS). 

Ø  Dreamsaremadeof (AUS) chestnut filly, sired by Dream Ahead (USA), out of the mare, Cangino (AUS) bred by Pedrille Thoroughbreds (AUS), foaled 7 August 2014, has been changed to that of DREAMS ARE MADE (AUS). 

Ø  Majestic Glory (AUS) bay colt, sired by Equiano (FR), out of the mare, Perfect Spirit (NZ) bred by Ms. J Borg (AUS), foaled on 23 September 2014 trained by Mr Paul Lafferty has been changed to that of MY MAJESTIC GLORY (AUS). 

Ø  Moon Shadow (AUS) bay or brown gelding, sired by Pluck (USA), out of the mare, Saigon Moonlight (NZ) bred by John Stuart Investments (AUS), foaled on 14 October 2013 trained by Mr Paul Lafferty has been changed to that of OUR MOON SHADOW (AUS). 

Ø  Zinzara (AUS) bay mare, sired by Husson (ARG), out of the mare, Overspeed (AUS) bred by Patinack Farm (AUS), foaled on 15 November 2012 trained by Mr Paul Lafferty has been changed to that of MY ZINZARA (AUS). 

 

Previously published name changes: 

Ø    In Clover (AUS) bay filly (sired by Delago Deluxe (AUS), out of the mare Bounding Along (AUS), bred by Nordic Racing and Breeding, NSW foaled on 8 August 2014 and trained by Mr D Steyn, has been changed to that of WALLABY WANABE (AUS). 

Ø  Agencefrancepresse (AUS) bay gelding (sired by Lope De Vega (IRE), out of the mare Belle Bizarre (AUS), bred by Patinack Farm, NSW foal on 25 August 2013 and trained by Mr Douglas Campbell, has been change to that of STAND BY ME (AUS).

 


The NHA have taken note of the reports about the unhappiness of some of the industry Stakeholders. As the regulator we are very concerned about the threat of boycott and the substance of the discontent. 

Over the last few months we have been made aware of a number of issues that have  caused unhappiness and we have taken it to heart and started addressing a number of these issues.

We have to realise that  to turn this ship around takes a massive effort. It’s not easy to correct old habits, to build a cohesive team that’s focused on addressing issues. We don’t get credit for what has been achieved, but instead we are constantly being hammered for what has not been achieved as yet. We can’t correct in a short space of time what has been left undone for many years. We therefore call for continued dialogue and interaction on these matters. This also helps us to focus and ensure that we are dealing with the pressure points. One of our biggest issues is that the internal staff have been at times subversive in undermining the change efforts.

The National Board is very much aware of the matters at hand and are not insensitive to the industry sentiment. The Board has urged Management and the Chief Executive to address the many problem areas.

So, what have we achieved thus far:

  1. Finalized and started implementing a comprehensive business plan;
  2. We have become more customer-centric (renewal forms abolished, simpler processes, improved problem solving);
  3. We have launched an upgraded user-friendly website;
  4. We have an increased sense of urgency to ensure things get done (in most departments);
  5. Engaged in dialogue with Stakeholders to take some of their views on board (trainers, rules, aftercare, etc.);
  6. The Rules Committee was enhanced for the first time, to include representatives from jockeys, trainers and owners;
  7. We have reduced the number of non-performers;
  8. We have reduced the number of staff for improved efficiency;
  9. Made a number of positive changes in the Stud Book Department, however we are aware that more needs to be done;
  10. We have commissioned a Senior Council opinion on how we interpret Strict Liability;
  11. We had a black type race ratings review and averted any immediate further downgrades;
  12. Employed a consultant to assist the trainers to give us the recommended input on the handicapping system.

Areas that are currently under development:

  1. The entire Rules book needs a revamp – we will announce the process of revamping;
  2. We will discuss the plea-bargaining position at the next Board meeting;
  3. Amend our Rules to incorporate the opinion on how we interpret Strict Liability;
  4. The way forward with respect to the Objection Appeal Board;
  5. Implement a revamped handicapping system;
  6. Revamping the Stud Book to ensure full international compliance. 

The extent of what needs to be done cannot be underestimated given the long neglect of many of the key issues. We will try our best to use the stones being hurled at us as building blocks for success. We do not take the comments lightly. However, we cannot perform miracles overnight.

The challenge is to get our internal alignment right so that we can deal with the many issues facing us as a team. We are also acutely aware that, given our position, we will never satisfy everyone although it is disconcerting when we have such a huge group of Stakeholders who are unhappy. Of course, not all complaints and issues that have been aired have been portrayed correctly or are necessarily true.

Perhaps a better approach would be to engage the Chairman and myself in an open and frank discussion, where we can plan together instead of always opposing each other and trying to belittle and trample on each other. We will welcome this approach. I’ve had a few one-on-ones with trainers to explain our position. We need to spend our time collectively building new foundations for success and not defending our positions.

 


After a memorable week of informative business sessions, the 37th Asian Racing Conference (ARC) came to an end on Thursday evening. Asian Racing Federation and Hong Kong Jockey Club Chief Executive Officer Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges welcomed Mr Kim Nag Soon, Chairman and CEO of the Korea Racing Authority, assembled delegates and invited guests to the Closing Ceremony and presented his thoughts on the convocation. 

 

“I believe it is hardly an understatement to suggest that the week we have just experienced has been an incredibly productive one.  Over these last four days, nearly 600 delegates have participated in 12 business sessions with 49 different speakers.  

Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges identified the key takeaways from the week. “We have presented a vision to create a global brand of racing which is necessary to widen our fan base and create an emotional connection to racing. Wagering is the undeniable lifeblood of our sport, but it is just a product. In terms of developing our fan base, we need to provide an articulated offering, one which establishes an emotional connection for its participants, and especially with our horses. 

“The Integrity of the sport is an absolute must. There is no room for ambiguity. The General Assembly of the Asian Racing Federation passed a resolution in which all members endorsed this commitment. We have a zero tolerance for racing or training under the influence of doping agents. Integrity is and must be a core value of our industry. It must be embraced by all of the sport’s participants, especially owners, trainers and jockeys. It is the key responsibility of regulators worldwide to ensure that systems, processes and capabilities are in place to mandate and ensure compliance. 

“Horse welfare and well-developed aftercare initiatives are the cornerstones of a healthy, modern racing industry. Best practices in horse welfare are absolutely necessary for the sustainability of our industry. The Asian Racing Federation is committed to promoting the further strengthening of the industry’s horse welfare programmes and aftercare initiatives. 

‘The work of the ARF Anti-Illegal Betting Task Force gave us a comprehensive understanding of the scale and complexity of the illegal markets, their connection to organized crime and the impact to integrity and the reputation of the sport. On the basis of the deep understanding of this issue, the ARF is committed to continue this work and collaborate with law enforcement agencies to fight this cancer. 

Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges concluded by thanking the Korea Racing Authority under leadership of Mr Kim Nag Soon for the tireless efforts and tremendous organization of the 37th Asian Racing Conference.

“The KRA’s organization of this week has been exceptional. The resources that have been committed and the months of hard work are commendable and we are all greatly indebted to the leadership of Mr Kim Nag Soon and his outstanding team. The hospitality and the warmth of the Korean people, which you have shared with us this week, will be forever cherished.” 

Mr Kim thanked all delegates for their attendance at the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul. 

 

“I believe that we had thorough discussions for the improvement of Asian Racing and Breeding, and a bond of empathy has developed between members about the importance of mutual exchange of information and Friendship throughout the 37th Asian Racing Conference.  I feel confident that this conference is a significant milestone for Asian racing’s development. I believe that sharing knowledge related to Korea's horseracing industry will contribute to the sustainable development of all the countries, including Korea, of the Asian Racing Federation. Looking back, we have discussed many topics for the advancement of racing. All of these would be the cornerstone of Asian Racing becoming the center of world racing. 

 

“On the behalf of KRA Staff, thank you for your participation and for the sharing of your knowledge and insight. And also I would like to express sincere gratitude to the persons who have been so devoted to the preparation of this conference, especially Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation, Dr Makoto Inoue, the Vice Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation, and Mr Andrew Harding, the Secretary General of the Asian Racing Federation for your enthusiastic support for the 37th Asian Racing Conference. 

 

“I look forward to meeting you again at the next Asian Racing Conference and I wish success for every single delegate and hope everything goes well with you.” 

 

Mr Ken Truter, Chairman of the National Horseracing Authority addressed the delegates after South Africa was identified as the host of the 38th Asian Racing Conference in Cape Town: “As Chairman, it is a great privilege for the NHA to accept South Africa as the Asian Racing Conference destination for 2020. We are proud and honoured that the Asian Racing Federation has placed such confidence in us. Together with our industry partners we will put much effort and endeavour into making the 2020 conference a resounding success.” 

 

South African Ambassador to South Korea, HE Ms Nozuko Bam was equally delighted that the Asian Racing Conference will be returning to South Africa after an absence of 27 years (1997). South Africa was first accepted as a member of the Asian Racing Federation in 1993. 

"On behalf of the South African Government, we are delighted that the auspicious Asian Racing Conference will take place in our beautiful country in 2020. We will give the local organizing committee all our support to ensure that the conference will be enjoyable and memorable. We would like to extend a thank you to the Asian Racing Federation and especially to the National Horseracing Authority of South Africa and its industry partners for making it happen. We will be ready to welcome everyone to the shores of our friendly and exciting country.” 

 

The evening concluded with a gala dinner and a celebration of Korean culture.


The latest equine veterinary research projects were unveiled during part two of the eighth plenary session of the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul, with Dr Brian Stewart, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Head of Veterinary Regulation, Welfare and Biosecurity Policy chairing the session. 

The development of a predictive model that can identify the ‘at-risk horse’ is a new and additional tool available to trainers, reported Dr Tim Parkin, Head of Equine Clinical Science at the University of Glasgow. Such a model assists trainers in making more informed decisions regarding their horse’s health.  

According to Dr Parkin it was the result of twenty years of studies aimed at preventing fatal equine injuries both during racing and training. “While identifying the risk factors for catastrophic injuries was easy”, he explained, “identifying the ‘at-risk horse’ was significantly more difficult. 

“The difficulty lay in the fact that only about 0.1% of horses running in races suffer fatalities, hence we were trying to improve on a very good ‘null’ model. That was why we were finding it so difficult to provide racing regulators with a better risk prediction. Hence changing the outcome variable was a much better option. The focus then shifted away from predicting fatalities to predicting horses with post-race-lameness or unacceptable performance, with those horses being about 5% of the racing population. This was significant as post-race-lameness is often the precursor to end-of-racing or fatal injuries. 

“A lot of risk factors that could lead to post-race lameness or unacceptable performance had been identified, but we were looking at risk factors which reduced in prevalence at the same time that fatal injuries had reduced. Surface condition, gender, age of first start, horses changing trainers and race distance were some of the factors,” Dr Parkin said, but noted roughly 65 percent of the drop in fatalities were still unexplained. “This may have been due to that fact that we didn’t have access to veterinary data and we only had limited access to training data. 

“There is a need for more data and for multiple data platforms. It is extremely rare that we are able to use veterinary data or the medical histories of the horses. Most racing jurisdictions collect racing and training injury outcomes, but few have veterinary records, medical histories and training outcomes. 

“For the model to work it is all about communication. We need to be able to tell the vet what we know about each individual horse. There is also an opportunity to tell trainers which races he should enter the horse in and which horses should be retired. But more collaboration is needed and in turn it can transform how horses are handled on the race track and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.”  

In line with the discussions around the ‘at-risk’ horse, Professor Chris Whitton, Head of Equine Orthopaedic Research at the University of Melbourne, updated the delegates on the latest research done on the prevention of limb injuries. “Leg injuries are the most common cause of deaths at racetracks, often leading to injuries to the jockeys as well. The catastrophic injury rate in Australia is about 0.32 per start.” 

This led to the creation of an Equine Limb Injury Prevention Program by the University of Melbourne.  Prof Whitton explained that the often-used description of fractures caused by “a bad step” is a misnomer. “The actual cause is an undetected pre-existing injury, such as micro cracks, which in turn is compounded by training at high speed.”  

Prof Whitton added that specialists still need to improve their ability to detect injuries in their most nascent stage. “The aim is to develop training, management and regulatory strategies in order to reduce catastrophic injuries, reduce career limiting musculoskeletal injuries and improve longevity and performance by racehorses.” 

The session concluded with insight from Dr Hee Un Song, Manager of the Korea Racing Authority’s Equine Medical Center, focused on Korea’s current regulatory standards, recent issues encountered in veterinary regulation and the challenges faced by the KRA to address theses issues. 

“Strong veterinary regulation is essential to conduct high quality racing and in its commitment to such regulation, the KRA is expanding its international activity to continually improve regulatory services,” said Dr Song. 

“Currently there are a range of out-of-competition controls as well as pre-declaration and pre and post-raceday veterinary controls, which can lead to withdrawals from a race. This can be an emotive issue for owners and trainers. Post race, we test for lameness and/or bleeding episodes. We also have a 10-day-medication rule, meaning horses have to be clear for at least 9 days from all injections.” 

 

Despite such controls, Korea experienced an increase in lameness and catastrophic incidents. “In order to address these challenges the KRA have undertaken measures to improve their regulatory services through the adoption of international standards, the building of trust through strong and fair regulation, the improvement of equine welfare and the implementation of research and exchange programs.”


The eighth plenary session of the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul focused on the critical threat of gene doping. 

Dr Makoto Inoue, Presidential Counselor for International Affairs at the Japan Racing Association (JRA) and Vice Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation (ARF) welcomed delegates to the session. “Gene doping was raised for the first time two years ago at the Asian Racing Conference in Mumbai.  The threat of gene doping is not very well understood by the industry and hence this session is of vital importance.” 

Dr Kanichi Kusano, JRA official veterinarian and Chair of the ARF Drug Control Committee, as well as the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities Gene Doping Control Sub-Committee provided a background with regards to gene doping and the role of the sub-committee. 

“Gene doping is just a trend of the times. In effect it is the misuse of drugs, in this instance the misuse of DNA. It just means that we need new experts and new instruments in order to deal with gene doping. 

“The risk of gene doping from these two forms is firstly damage to the integrity of sport and secondly the risk of creating a genetically modified thoroughbred. Hence the IFHA formed the Gene Doping Sub-Committee in March 2016.   

“Our mission statement is to advise racing and breeding authorities on the regulation of gene therapies and to assist in the formulation of strategies and guidelines”, explained Dr Kusano. “Hence Article 6B of the IFHA’s International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering was completely revised in 2017 to focus on gene therapies, while the regulation of gene editing in the IABRW is currently a work in progress.” 

Dr Kusano concluded with a ‘take home’ message for racing regulators. “Strengthen your rules of racing and improve your testing system for gene doping. Check that the laboratories in your jurisdiction have the appropriate experts and equipment. Provide financial support for research and educate the veterinarians, trainers and stable staff on gene doping.” 

Faced with the very real threat that gene doping poses, it came as some relief when Dr Natasha Hamilton, Racing Australia’s Director of Equine Genetics Research Laboratory presented a recently developed method for detecting equine gene doping. Dr Hamilton began by identifying the difference between gene therapy, namely the insertion of a gene to cure or treat a disease, and gene doping, which is the insertion, modification or editing of a gene to improve performance. 

“The aim of our gene doping sub-committee is to prevent people from using gene doping to win more races,” she said. “Do we really need to worry? Well if you look at the recent racing doping scandals across the globe, especially the use of cobalt and sodium bicarbonate, then yes we do. People looking for that edge will also be on the lookout for something new and hopefully undetectable to use to enhance performance.   

“In order to try and prevent the use of gene doping we needed to look at what genes are already used in gene therapy to combat diseases, what drugs are used in their protein form for performance enhancement and what known genes could affect performance, such as genes that affect muscle strength, energy metabolism, pain reception, injury repair, oxygen regulation and angiogenesis (growth factors). Knowing which genes are likely to be manipulated helps in detecting if gene doping has occurred.” 

Dr Hamilton explained how the test for gene doping actually works. 

“The inserted or transgene creates a unique sequence, which is different from the normal DNA, which we can then test for. The test can detect ten copies in the reaction mixture and currently screens for five genes in two reaction mixtures. The test is inexpensive and the results are available within a day. Surveillance testing was carried out during the 2018 Sydney Autumn Carnival. Of course this test is relevant to all breeds of horse and can be used for other events such as the Olympics.”  

Dr Hamilton flagged that, currently, gene editing cannot be detected, but the plans are underway to create tests that potentially could. “We need lots of different ways to detect how this might happen. Regulation and knowledge is necessary for the strategic use of these tests.” 

Dr Teruaki Tozaki, Technical Advisor, Laboratory of Racing Chemistry, Japan, introduced the delegates to the risks of gene editing and the difficulties in detecting and regulating gene editing.  

“Currently genetically-modified animals have already been produced worldwide with the use of gene editing.” So what is gene editing actually? According to Dr Tozaki: “Gene editing and its industrial applications can no longer be stopped. The science has been simplified to the degree that you can now buy a DIY bacterial gene engineering kit online for a mere US$159, making it easy to perform genome editing with only the most basic knowledge. 

“The race to produce the first genetically engineered super-horse has already begun. Argentinian scientists have started performing gene editing on horses and it is speculated that the first super-horse is likely to be produced by them as early as 2019. The gene that they are targeting is myostatin, which is crucial for muscle development, in other words, it could allow a horse to jump higher and run faster.” 

At the moment gene doping is regulated by a number of authorities. Gene doping, including the use of gene editing agents is prohibited by the WADA code. But while the IFHA have disqualified genetically modified horses from participating in races, the administration of genetically modified cells is not yet clearly regulated. “For this reason the IABRW should change Article 6B as soon as possible”, said Dr Tozaki. 

 

Currently blood samples are collected from all foals and stored for future use. “In the future”, Dr Tozaki predicts, “whole genome sequencing will be done for each foal at birth. Thus enabling a retest of that foal once it is a racehorse in order to confirm whether genome editing has occurred.”


The agenda of the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul took a twist away from the routine today with a session focused on the sport and its connection with popular culture, chaired by Mr Stephen Romei, literary editor of The Australian newspaper, occasional racing commentator and committed horse racing fan. 

Mr Romei, a regular guest on Australian radio's horse racing programme Hoof on the Till, opened the discussion to examine how racing connects with popular culture in today’s world.

“While several serious issues like integrity have been discussed this week and rightly so, it is important to remember that the horse, and horse racing, have been part of our culture for a very long time and it is incumbent on racing administrators to work to ensure it stays that way,” he said. 

Mr Romei detailed many of the great horses who have inspired writers and film makers over the years - speaking of Secretariat, Sea Biscuit, Phar Lap, Black Caviar and Winx. “These horses ensure that racing and popular culture go hand in hand and have inspired generations. And, even now, with Black Caviar and Winx having their own Twitter accounts the connection remains real to contemporary popular culture,” he said. 

Mr Chris McGrath, racing correspondent from Thoroughbred Daily News and three time recipient of the United Kingdom’s Racing Writer of the Year Award, explored how the written word has captured the social diversity of the turf. He said the enormous spectrum of characters who have recurred throughout racing’s history was arguably the defining strength of the sport. 

“Recently, on the one day, I interviewed two breeders. The first was the Duke Of Roxburghe, his mother a wealthy American industrialist, on the Scottish borders and the second was with a self-made man named David Armstrong in an industrial estate outside Manchester. It provided a typical snapshot of the sheer breadth of humanity who convene on a racetrack,” he said. 

Mr McGrath spoke of how he decided to write a social history of the thoroughbred, “Mr Darley’s Arabian,” which simultaneously became a social history of Britain over the last 300 years as it followed the Darley Arabian sire-line. He highlighted numerous examples of the colour and diversity he turned up in his research. 

“From the Darley Arabian to Frankel, each stallion in the sequence provided a portrait of racing and life. Two of the 25 stallions in the sire line were, in fact, bred by Prime Ministers,” Mr McGrath said. 

He explored the literature of the turf, nearly every worthwhile syllable of which he read during the course of his research for his book and pointed to its engagement with the masses through especially great turf writers including Bill Nack, author of an acclaimed 1975 book on Secretariat, and George Lambton who also happened to train Phalaris, the great Darley Arabian line stallion. 

Mr Jongduk Kim, Senior Manager, Broadcast Center (KRBC) for the Korea Racing Authority, looked at how rediscovering horse culture in Korea could be used to generate interest in contemporary horse racing. 

“Developing and highlighting the horse culture of Korea could be the solution to revitalising the horse racing industry in Korea as a whole,” he said after presenting a fascinating video which focused on that history. 

“The Korea Racing Broadcasting Channel is focused on regenerating the Korean horse culture which we believe can make people take pride in their enjoyment of horse racing. Re-establishing that link with our great horse history can bring people closer to racing. 

“That is part of our expanding television coverage which along with a focus on attracting new owners and developing new technologies underpins our strategy to ensure the industry’s viability and growth,” Mr Kim said. 

The KRBC is finding traditional and unique cases to revive the forgotten Korean horse culture from years past. Mr Kim outlined four traditional Korean horse stories and explored connections that the KRBC had found between Korea’s traditional horse culture and the modern horse racing industry. 

Mr Henry Birtles, prolific poet and managing director of HBA Media, which specialises in the promotion of horse racing and is the leading independent distributor of racing media rights globally, bought a poem to the table - "Kam Sa Ham Ni Da” which is “thank you” in Korean.

The piece, shown below, centred on the merits of a collaborative approach and the benefits of convocations such as the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul.  

Kam sa ham ni da (Thank you)

In years long gone, in different times when progress wore a selfish cloak 
When people firmly gave no ground and unity was thought a joke
A wisdom rose amongst the ranks of visionaries who’ve earned our thanks; 
Who saw beyond their border line, beyond their remit, national gain
Who chose a way to re-define those boundaries coloured by disdain
A modernising outlook born where close collaboration drew
Collective thought, exchange, goodwill and betterment; a worldly view
That Racing now could celebrate; alliance in the corporate space
Where bright ideas and brainstorming collided for a better place
Where all the nuts and bolts discussed that underpin its glorious form
Compliance, law, integrity, such things that make the public yawn 
Essentials for our sport to shine, debated hard below the line
But more than this…encouragement; support, promotion, nourishment

 

And all quite simply that’s required to make our product more desired
For we are here to find a way, it’s what we strive for every day

To do what we know must be right, to keep that burning torch alight
To make the Sport of Kings once more, a King of Sport just as before
And we are blessed with so much scope and so much more than dreams & hope
The stories, oh the stories and the grace, the power, the glories
The majesty, the passion; though it’s not for some…the fashion
With guile, ideas, the time is now; think digital, think why and how
And with a Winx and with a smile, think on our feet; think Gangnam Style
Let’s give our bodies, give our whole, give our minds, our heart and Seoul
To you, the noble ARF upon whose shoulders duty rests 
Assembled here in South Korea, and elsewhere every other year
From conference guests both near and far, a gracious Kam sa ham ni da


The sixth plenary session of the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul tackled the very ever-pressing issue of integrity, both in sport in general and more specifically in racing. 

Mr Kim Nag Soon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Korea Racing Authority, set the tone for the session with his opening remarks: “In our industry, nothing is more important than integrity. If we are to earn and retain the trust of the public, then our sport must not only be clean and fair, but also must be seen to be clean and fair. It is what sets us apart from illegal gambling operators. Going forward we need to strengthen education of all participants and work across borders with partners, sharing information and intelligence to combat our common foe and uphold the trust in our racing product.” 

Sport around the world has been accompanied by scandal. Allegations of match fixing, bribery of officials, illegal gambling, doping and money laundering have tarnished sport for decades, eroding the public’s trust. Based on match fixing case studies from around the world, Professor Jack Anderson, Director of Sports Law Studies at the University of Melbourne offered his view on recent and current integrity issues in the world of sport. 

“We may think that the threat is external, but the threat is from within,” said Prof Anderson. “Insider information is the key integrity threat. It can manipulate betting markets, putting the integrity of the sport, and of the brand, at stake. Educating jockeys or players is key. There is a demand for information – so how does one stop the supply? You cut off that supply by educating the jockeys or the players.” 

Prof Anderson went on to explain that there is no such thing as a victimless crime when it comes to corruption. “Corruption and lack of integrity has a price tag, it costs the sport.  A fix in a race or at the bookies affects every consumer on a micro level, and on a macro level it leads to transnational economic crime. For criminal syndicates this is a beautiful outcome.”  

Dealing with match fixing is resource intensive, hence more and more sports bodies are relying on commercial operators to flag unusual betting patterns. According to Prof Anderson, that raises several legal questions, such as what constitutes an irregular pattern, what is the correct ban, and how do you make the punishment proportionate to the crime given courts these days reject life bans? 

In conclusion, Prof Anderson added, “nothing corrodes quicker than the whiff of corruption and therefore integrity needs to be your number one priority.” 

With global racing integrity issues as the main theme of his presentation, the Honourable Justice Jack Forrest of the Supreme Court of Victoria (Australia) reminded delegates of the ease with which a scandal impacts the sport.  

“The prosperity of international racing relies on its gambling revenue, and if it is not a level playing field, betting and reputational damage affects all stakeholders. Stewards need to operate effectively and be seen to be doing so,” said Justice Forrest. 

He specifically addressed the ongoing doping problems in Australian racing. 

“After the last four years, the public can be forgiven for thinking that cheating and doping is rife in Australian racing. First we had the cobalt scandal and more recently the Aquanita scandal, where ‘top ups’ of sodium bicarbonate were given to their horses on racedays over a number of years.” 

Justice Forrest noted that racing has been effective in creating an integrity infrastructure that has, in general, been successful, while other sports have often lacked such setups. However, he cautioned that the implementation of such programmes requires more due diligence than expected. 

“There have always been individuals trying to get an edge in racing. The question is how quickly is it detected and how well is it controlled,” he offered. “The current answer seems to be that perhaps the controls are not sufficient. That raises several other questions. Should integrity be quarantined from the controlling bodies? How tough should drug rules be and how can we improve hearings?”  

Justice Forrest feels that removing integrity issues from the controlling bodies is unlikely to be effective. “I cannot see that such a split would be effective. The costs of doing so are significant and invariably this type of stand-alone organisation is established and regulated by government. On the toughness of drug rules, there are diverse approaches worldwide. Not all positives require a trainer to be disqualified. There are various situations in which the rules need to be adaptable.” 

Justice Forrest concluded by saying that while the cobalt issue has dragged on for three years and is still not finalised, the top-up scandal has been dealt with in a matter of months, with bans and penalties following shortly after the verdict. While this is a step in the right direction, he noted, there are still a host of legal issues to resolve. 

Chairman Kim closed the session with a question to the panel as to what they considered to be the biggest single threat to racing. Justice Forrest added that the quality of technology now used in the monitoring of races, and having expert Stewards, meant that manipulation of race outcomes was no longer the real challenge, while integrity units in other sports have often lacked such expertise. In his view, performance-enhancing drugs was the central integrity issue for acing.  

 


Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation and Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, today called on all racing jurisdictions to take advantage of a brightening global economic outlook during today’s Global Wagering Leaders session focusing on current strategies and opportunities at the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul. 

Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges, who is also vice-chairman of the IFHA (International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities), noted that 75 percent of racing’s income is derived from wagering, a figure which also includes commercialising intellectual property rights on racing products. 

“While we have talked about our branding being less focused on gambling, which is important, we cannot escape the fact that wagering is the lifeblood of the racing industry and we have to capitalise on the positive economic climate. There is a strong link between strong GDP and betting turnover growth,” he said. 

Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges noted that racing’s share of global gambling turnover had fallen from seven percent in 2010 to six percent in 2016. “The positive is that football betting has given us access to new customers some of whom migrate to also betting on horse racing.”

He then identified five key areas of focus for horse racing as a collective industry: widening the customer base, especially with the embrace of new technologies to connect directly with customers and provide relevant offerings; developing better tote technology to support a better customer experience; advancing the development of a new tote betting protocol for commingling to leverage our strength in exotic bet types; making a concerted effort to create and protect racing’s intellectual property rights both nationally and internationally; and supporting the fight against illegal and unregulated betting. 

Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges noted that global racing betting volume was flat when the topic was examined at the previous ARC in 2016 and that global GDP growth was stuck in ‘low gear’. However a generally brighter overall economic outlook through 2018 and 2019 provided racing with opportunity for growth. He reported that Hong Kong Jockey Club racing turnover had increased annually 6.5 percent from 2010 to 2017 while football betting growth was double that figure in the same time.  

International simulcasting of horse racing is vital to expanding racing’s fan base according to Mr Masayuki Goto, President and CEO of the Japan Racing Association (JRA). 

JRA figures on betting turnover emphasised the focus on quality, Mr Goto said, as average handle on Japan’s Group 1 races totals US$160 million, about four times the amount on Group 2 and Group 3 races, and about forty times the amount bet on standard non-stakes races. 

Mr Goto highlighted the changing tide in Japan, which permitted wagering on select simulcast opportunities beginning with the 2016 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. “The races on which we will consider simulcasting are those in the World’s Top 100 Group 1 Races, or others of particular international interest,” he said, adding that more than 10 million viewers tuned into the live coverage from Paris during that groundbreaking event. Since then, the JRA has carried simulcasts from Dubai, Hong Kong and America. 

“We have developed our own websites with extensive content for Japanese audiences. This has also carried over to racing form guides, which are now presented in newspapers in a style familiar to traditional Japanese races,” added Mr Goto, while showing an example of such from the 2018 Dubai Sheema Classic.

Mr David Attenborough, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Tabcorp, outlined how the firm has repositioned its wagering business to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the evolving fixed odds, digital and sports betting growth at the expense of traditional drivers, retail and parimutuel betting. 

“It is a vibrant wagering market and core to us is our relationship with racing which represents more than 88 percent of our business. As with Hong Kong, sports betting is growing but that is good for racing given the younger audience it brings to the market place.

“That market place is changing and we have to adapt. We’ve found that digital betting growth has offset any downturn in retail sales and similarly, fixed odds betting has offset a decline in parimutuel betting,” Mr Attenborough said. 

He noted Tabcorp was the biggest retailer in Australia and, underlining the inextricable link between racing and wagering, reported that Tabcorp underpinned prize money in Australia with a A$1 billion return to racing each year. “That link is also evident as most people experience racing for the first time in one of our 4300 retail outlets and 2.3 million people bet with the TAB on Melbourne Cup day,” he said. 

Mr Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), outlined British racing’s wagering strategy during this session. He examined the changing betting landscape in Britain and what it means for the future funding of the industry. The key change is a switch from retail to digital betting along with public and government attitudes to gambling in the United Kingdom. 

More than 50 percent of betting on British horse racing is now digital, compared to less than 30 per cent five years ago. “The younger generation is well exposed to digital betting via football,” he said, reaffirming comments made earlier by Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges and Mr Attenborough. 

Mr Dunshea said that the 2018 Gambling Review in Britain had focused on many areas including player protection, problem gambling and money laundering, with a current focus on retail outlets and a push for gaming machines in betting shops to be heavily restricted. Mr Dunshea warned that retail shop closures would likely drive a fall in media rights and levy revenues but the hope is that horse racing betting will become more important for operators. 

He called on the British government to ‘deliver’ on its promises to support the racing industry as the industry has supported government aims for responsible gambling. “Levy reform benefits may potentially be undone in the changing landscape and the grassroots agendas and the sport’s wellbeing threatened. The government has provided assurances that a revised levy will help bridge any gap,” Mr Dunshea said.  

Mr Richard Cheung, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Customer and International Business Development, said Hong Kong strategy centred on sustaining turnover growth via three principal targets: micro-demographic targeting of seniors (60 plus) and females under 45; commingling partnerships and specific information dissemination to overseas customers; and leveraging new technologies to ensure a seamless customer experience.

“We have had a good run, last year turnover grew by 10 percent and this year we expect another five or six percent growth, but we do not think we can sit on our laurels. We are now planting the seeds for another good run,” said Mr. Cheung.  

“Those racing fans who lapsed, who dropped away from the sport due to work and family commitments in middle age, with our tactics, we are seeing that some are returning now that they are retired. Not only that, the lapse rate is dropping,” he said, adding that age-friendly facilities, bigger font types in specific publications, nostalgic marketing campaigns and assistance to promote senior use of digital channels have all been employed.  

Relative to the HKJC’s focus on attracting female racegoers under 45, Mr Cheung suggested the micro-mining of demographics has led to short-term wins.  

“We have seen success with an increase in active betting accounts among young women, with a seven percent growth two years ago and this year a 16 percent growth,” Mr. Cheung said. 

With regard to commingling, a topic first posited at the 31st Asian Racing Conference in Dubai in 2007, Mr. Cheung said the Club’s investment in bespoke content for overseas customers is yielding strong benefits since the endeavor began in 2014.   

“By the end of the 2015/16 season, we were at about US$400 million in turnover. For this season we’re looking at about US$2 billion and that will continue to grow,” he said. 

Emerging technology use, including leveraging artificial intelligence and the chatbot concept may not immediately result in turnover increases, but is required to meet emerging customer segment demands. “We still need to do it. This is how future consumers, especially Generation Z, will function; we have to continue to adapt or it will be very difficult for us to stay relevant with the next generation of customers.”

Mr Simon Bazalgette, Chief Executive Officer of The Jockey Club, outlined the radical change to the British horse racing betting landscape with the creation of Britbet, a partnership of 55 of the country’s 60 racecourses, giving it access to a yearly aggregate of 5 million on-course customers. It will compete with the privately-owned Totepool which had held a parimutuel monopoly.

"While pool betting (parimutuel) accounts for just three percent of Britain's racing turnover we hope to increase that with several initiatives including a cash-out offer on exotic bets, crowd-funded bet types and self-service applications allowing customers to bet on their phones," Mr Bazalgette said. 

 


Professor Patrick Yung, Director of the Hong Kong Centre for Sports Medicine and Sports Sciences, orthopedic surgeon and racehorse owner outlined the application of sports science and medicine amongst jockeys in the concluding plenary session of the first day of the 37th Asian Racing Conference on Tuesday in Seoul.

Addressing the conference under the banner of “The Modern Elite Jockey - A Sports Medicine Perspective,” Prof Yung said the application of sports science and medicine, which began in racing with a focus on treatment of jockey injuries, had room for improvement.

“While the application of sports science has increased over the past decade, there is a lot of room to improve. There is a lack of very good scientific research available and we need consistent documentation and analysis to provide the platform for further improvement,” Prof Yung said.

As Prof Yung focused on injuries and associated health issues pertaining to jockeys, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Ms Amy Chan, Headmistress of the Apprentice Jockeys’ School, and Mr Grant Harris, Chief Executive of the British Racing School, outlined improvements in industry training and education with particular relevance to jockeys.

Prof Yung detailed some remarkable statistics on the probability of jockeys sustaining injury through their careers and the risks associated with concussions and inappropriate weight management - the latter an issue which both Ms Chan and Mr Harris said was an important part of their training programs.

“A US study showed that a jockey is likely to have a fall once in every 500 rides and 50 percent of those will require significant medical attention. On average, a jockey will suffer 2.5 fractures through his or her career while 40 percent of jockeys will suffer from a concussion,” Prof Yung said.

However, he reassured the riding fraternity that despite the inherent risks of race riding, the mortality rate was very low at one in 300,000 days of exposure.

“Obviously the most common cause of injury is a fall so one key, for the industry, is to attempt to minimise the chance of a fall occurring. It is also important to focus on the general health and well-being of the jockeys themselves so factors such as strength, balance, flexibility and reaction time are maximised.

“Essential fitness can assist in the prevention of falls but also in recovery and improving overall performance,” he said.

Prof Yung said his research team fitness-tested Hong Kong’s champion jockey Joao Moreira and prominent Hong Kong footballer Lo Kwan Yee with the jockey rating higher in upper body strength and core muscle strength, with the two evenly matched when it came to lower body muscle power.

“Most jockeys are extremely fit, but inappropriate weight management can be an issue. Suboptimal nutrition and hydration can leave them prone to injury, poor recovery, mood problems including depression and Calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies, which may diminish bone quality, especially in the hip region.”

Education on diet and nutrition was outlined as a key part of the training programs conducted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and British Racing School.

“The hope is to better recruit, develop and retain the next generation,” said Ms Chan, a sentiment echoed by Mr Harris who added that one of his School’s key goals was to “recruit, train and retain.”

Both also addressed the need for such training bodies to provide broad spectrum education and career alternatives for those who did not necessarily succeed in becoming jockeys.

“Our program now embraces school-based learning and work-based practice and incorporates physical training, sports and nutrition science, financial management, English language training and music appreciation,” Ms Chan said.

The HKJC’s Apprentice Jockeys School was established in 1972 with the training model based on those in other jurisdictions, particularly in Great Britain, Ms Chan said. “The process now is to develop our next generation of workforce not only in Hong Kong but also in China.” The HKJC will open its landmark Conghua Training Centre this August outside Guangzhou.

Mr Harris detailed Britain’s rider training program and education programs for current and aspiring racing employees - from grooms and work riders to apprentice and conditional jockeys, secretaries and trainers. It also provides administrative and managerial training.

The British Racing School is an independent charity which works with the British Horseracing Authority in training and education with quality-assured qualification, while also providing support services to the racing workforce via the Injured Jockeys’ Fund and Racing Welfare.

“People are this industry’s biggest asset. It’s not a job, it’s vocation for most who are doing highly-skilled and sometimes dangerous work, and doing so for long hours. We are focused on providing the right training and providing our students with life skills,” Mr Harris said.

Mr Harris said the racing industry would likely become a female dominated work place. “We had 70 females and 30 males in our last training intake and the trend is going one way,” he said.