As the Official Partner and Official Watch of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), the Swiss watchmaker Longines was proud to present the 2019 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit to industry leader John Messara, who is the first Australian to receive the award.
“I’m very grateful to receive the Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit because it is presented by my international peers, and much of my work over the past four decades has focussed on elevating Australian racing and breeding and communicating our success around the world,” said Messara. “I acknowledge especially the unflinching support of my wife, Kris, and our four children; all of my team, past & present, at Arrowfield; the Boards & Executives of Racing New South Wales and Racing Australia; and two excellent Ministers for Racing, the Honourable George Souris AM and the Honourable Troy Grant.
“I’ve also been blessed by an incomparable dynasty of champion stallions that has shaped my career and the entire Australian thoroughbred industry over the past 30 years. Danehill, Redoute’s Choice and now Snitzel – thank you.”
Previous winners of the International Award of Merit include the Magnier family and trainer Aidan O’Brien, the driving forces behind Coolmore and the Ballydoyle Racing Stable in Ireland; Yutaka Take, legendary Japanese jockey; the Romanet family, long renowned leaders in both the French and international world of horseracing; Jim Bolger, leading Irish trainer, owner and breeder; Alec Head, past champion trainer and patriarch of prominent stud farm Haras du Quesnay; Seth Hancock of historic Claiborne Farm in America; and the late Marcel Zarour Atanacio, former chairman of the South American organization for the promotion of Thoroughbreds (OSAF).
The International Award of Merit was created in 2013 by Longines and the IFHA in order to honour public figures for their outstanding contribution to the world of horse racing. As Official Partner and Official Watch of the IFHA, Longines additionally awards several other prizes in recognition of excellence in this discipline in collaboration with the IFHA. The winners are honoured throughout the year in ceremonies attended by representatives from across the entire profession.
“It is a great honour and pleasure to recognise tonight Mr. John Messara’s dedication to Thoroughbred racing, a sport dear to the brand,” said Walter von Känel, president of Longines. “Indeed, for one century and a half, our love for the equestrian world has steadily increased, and today we have become the main partner of international institutions and events in the disciplines of horse racing, but also show jumping, eventing, endurance, dressage and driving. More than that, our commitment to equestrian sports is based on common shared values: Tradition, Elegance and Performance. It perfectly embodies our long-time partnership with the IFHA, of which Longines is the proud Official Partner and Official watch.”
Representatives from both Longines and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities were in Australia to celebrate Messara’s achievements.
“I have the utmost respect for John Messara, and it is an honour for me to be in Sydney for the presentation of the seventh Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit,” said Louis Romanet, chairman of the IFHA. “The recipients of the first six awards confirm the dynamic global nature of 21st century breeding and racing. He is a very deserving recipient of the prestigious 2019 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit.”%break%About John Messara, recipient of the 2019 Longines & IFHA International Award of Merit
Messara has been a key figure in Australian racing for more than three decades, and he is the owner and chairman of Arrowfield Stud in New South Wales. The highly successful and respected farm, which was founded in 1985, identified, purchased and launched the career of breed-shaping champion sire Danehill in Australia and is currently home to his champion sire grandson Snitzel.
Among his many titles, Messara has served as chairman of Racing New South Wales (December 2011- December 2016), inaugural chairman of Racing Australia (January 2014-December 2016), vice-chairman of the Asian Racing Federation (2014-2016), president of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (2007-2008), and inaugural chairman of Aushorse (2001-2008).
Previous accolades Messara has received include Life Membership of the Australian Turf Club (2016), the Thoroughbred Breeders NSW inaugural Heroic Award (2011), and appointment by the Australian government in 2008 as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
Messara, who was born in 1947, attended the University of New South Wales. After graduating in 1968, he commenced work with Edwin V Nixon & Partners (Arthur Young & Co), chartered accountants, before joining the firm of Ralph King & Yuill, Member of the Sydney Stock Exchange, and establishing their European branch in Geneva, Switzerland. He returned to Australia and was elected a Member of the Sydney Stock Exchange in 1973.
That same year, Messara married his wife, Kristine. They have four children: Dr. Louise Messara; Paul Messara, Group 1 trainer and manager, Arrowfield Stud; Michael Messara, a director of the Arrowfield Group; and media presenter and producer Susanne Gray.
Longines has been based at Saint-Imier in Switzerland since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. Longines has built solid and lasting ties with the world of sport over the years, with a wealth of experience as timekeeper for sports championships around the globe and a partner of numerous international sports federations. Renowned for the elegance of its timepieces, Longines is a member of Swatch Group Ltd., the world's leading watch manufacturer. Known by its winged hourglass logo, the brand is today present in over 150 different countries.
About the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA)
The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) is the world peak body for the international sport of Thoroughbred racing. Its 60 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 Race Day 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).