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.