Asian Racing Conference to host stewards’ forum
THE 37th Asian Racing Conference this year in Seoul will also feature the 7th International Stewards Conference in a bid to make horseracing rules and regulations across jurisdictions more consistent.
Staged annually by the Asian Racing Federation, the ARC is an annual gathering of global racing personalities. In its early years, the event only featured races but over the years expanded to include racing business seminars and fora.
This year’s edition will be held from May 13 to 18 with the theme “Innovate, Collaborate, Transform.” Among the events are the Korean Derby and ARF Commemorative Race at the Seoul Racecourse, as well as business and specialist sessions, a tour of Seoul, and Korea culture nights.
The stewards conference will be held on May 14 and chaired by Kim Kelly of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Kelly, through International Federation of Horseracing Authorities Secretary General Andrew Chesser, has invited “chief stipendiary stewards/chairman of stewards, integrity managers” or other suitable delegates to attend.
“Now more than ever,” said Kelly in his invitation letter, “racing is a global sport and as such it is essential that wherever possible uniformity in the regulation of the industry is achieved.”
He explained that “consistency in rules results in better corporate governance and transparency in the disciplinary functions and interpretations which directly and indirectly affect” the parties involved in the sport.
Kelly said that consistency is particularly important where there is “increased merging of betting pools [commingling] together with increased media coverage of racing globally.”
The invitation has been extended to the Philippines, a founding member of the ARF, which is the regional body for Thoroughbred racing in Asia, Australasia, Arabia, and South Africa.
It is expected that the three racing clubs —Manila Jockey Club, Philippine Racing Club, and Metro Manila Turf Club—as well as the Philippine Racing Commission will send delegates to the conference.
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Some key facts about horseracing in Korea:
The sport is supervised and regulated by the Korea Racing Authority, which is under the supervision of the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.
The country has three racecourses—in Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island—with 31 off-course betting outlets.
In 2015, there were 96 race meetings and 1,926 races. The horse population was 2,896, and there were 86 trainers (three foreign) and 112 jockeys (five foreign).
In the same year, on the breeding front, there were three stud farms caring for 108 stallions, 2,613 broodmares, and 1,335 foals.
Perhaps the most interesting of the three stud farms is the Jeju Stud Farm and Training Center. Launched in 1995, it covers 532 acres, is equipped with first-rate facilities, and offers technical consultation and stud services.
Jeju Island itself is a tourist must-see for its unique traditional culture and natural scenery. It has been designated by UNESCO as a “World Geopark,” “Natural Heritage Site,” and “Biosphere Reserve.”
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Dr. Ortuoste is a writer and communications consultant. Facebook: Gogirl Racing and @DrJennyO, Twitter: @hoarsewhsprr and @jennyortuoste