History of the Asian Racing Federation

The first Asian Racing Conference was held in 1960 in Tokyo on the initiative of Count Todamasa Sakai, President of the Japan Racing Association and Mr U Chit Khine of the Rangoon Turf Club.

This first convocation was attended by 69 delegates drawn from Burma, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaya, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. India intended to send a delegation but logistical problems prevented this from occurring.

From those early days the Asian Racing Conferences expanded rapidly, both in the number of delegates attending and in the size of the geographical area covered.

At the 2nd Conference in 1961, Australia, India, New Zealand and Sarawak became official members; at the 9th Conference (1970) Korea and Turkey joined; at the 11th (1973) Indonesia and Pakistan; at the 16th (1982) Bahrain; at the 22nd (1991) Macau; at the 23rd (1993) South Africa; at the 24th (1995) the United Arab Emirates; at the 25th Conference (1997) Mauritius; and at the 26th Conference (1999) Saudi Arabia; and at the 27th Conference (2000) Oman; and at the 28th Conference (2001) Qatar.

At the 28th conference, it was decided to establish a permanent organization, the Asian Racing Federation. The objectives of the Federation have remained similar to those drawn up by Count Sakai and Mr Khine. The objectives of the ARF are:
  1. To meet and foster goodwill and mutual understanding through the medium of periodic conferences and other racing events in the member countries.
  2. To promote horseracing and breeding and the integrity and prestige thereof by any means that the Federation shall consider appropriate and which are in compliance with all existing laws, rules and regulations.
  3. To encourage and develop mutually beneficial objectives and strategies between racing organisations without discrimination to aid the development of horseracing.
  4. To exchange ideas and information on matters connected with horseracing.
  5. To encourage, promote and support international competition for jockeys and horses when conditions permit.

Plenary assemblies of all the Federation’s members and associate members, termed Management Meetings, are held at each Asian Racing Conference. Between conferences the ARF is governed by an Executive Council. Up until 2010 the Executive Council consisted of nominees from Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, India and New Zealand. In 2010 the Management Committee approved amendments to the ARF Charter to expand the Executive Council, on a provisional basis, to include Singapore, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. The Executive Council meets approximately four times a year.

The ARF is formally linked with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. Australia, Hong Kong and Japan have permanent seats representing the ARF on the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities, and the ARF also nominates one of two rotational positions on the IFHA Executive Council. The ARF Secretary-General also acts as the Executive Director at meetings of the IFHA Executive Council.

ARF Executive Council Officeholders
ChairmanDavid BourkeAustralia1992 – 1997
Murray AcklinNew Zealand1997 – 2003
Larry WongHong Kong2003 – 2007
Winfried Engelbrecht BresgesHong Kong2007 – 2009
Koji SatoJapan2009 – 2014
Winfried Engelbrecht BresgesHong Kong2014 –
Vice-Chair (2)Larry WongHong Kong2001 – 2003
Terry ImaharaJapan2001 – 2003
Robert CharleyAustralia2003 – 2007
Naoki KoikeJapan2003 – 2007
Isamu TakizawaJapan2007 – 2009
Cyrus PoonawallaIndia2007 – 2010
Guy SargentNew Zealand2009 – 2012
Bob BentleyAustralia2010 – 2012
Winfried Engelbrecht BresgesHong Kong2012 – 2014
Michael DuffyAustralia2012 – 2014
Kaoru ObataJapan2014 – 2016
John Messara AMAustralia2014 – 2016
Frances Nelson QCAustralia2018 – 2019
Dr Makoto InoueJapan2017 – 2020
Greg NicholsAustralia2019 –
Masayuki GotoJapan2020 –