Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges elected IFHA Chairman

The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) announced today that Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, has been elected its new Chairman, effective October 2021.

Club CEO Mr.Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges
Club CEO Mr.Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges  Picture: HKJC

Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges, who is also Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation, will succeed founding IFHA Chairman Mr Louis Romanet next month as the second Chairman in the IFHA's history. He will also be the first IFHA Chairman from Asia.

The IFHA is the global leader for the international sport of thoroughbred racing. It seeks to promote all facets of the worldwide sport of thoroughbred racing, including in relation to the welfare of the equine and human athlete, and to protect and grow racing's global social and economic significance.

In response to Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges' new role at the IFHA, the Chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Mr Philip Chen said, "The appointment of a Hong Kong representative to this leadership position underscores the enormous respect Winfried commands in world racing and also the very significant achievements of Hong Kong racing on the world stage. With his capability, passion and commitment I have no doubt that Winfried will continue to make a very significant contribution to the development and promotion of the sport worldwide. Equally I look forward to Hong Kong playing an even more important role in racing both regionally and globally."

"The Hong Kong Racehorse Owners Association congratulates Winfried on this major appointment as the Chair of the IFHA. Owners in Hong Kong are renowned for their deep passion for the sport of racing, and we see this passion in Winfried.  With Winfried's exceptional drive, energy and vision, I am excited about the potential for racing jurisdictions from all around the world to work even more closely together for the future benefit of the sport," said Mr Matthew Lam, President of the Association.

Eleven-time Hong Kong champion trainer Mr John Size also extended his congratulations. "I think Winfried is the perfect candidate to lead world racing. International competition is something that he made a priority when he first came to Hong Kong and you can see how that has evolved. He's been a driving force behind that."

"Besides the sporting aspect of racing, Winfried is also interested in racing wagering, as wagering is the life-blood of racing and the tote is the best funding model for racing. It delivers the highest returns for owners, trainers, jockeys and the industry in general. Indeed, what Winfried has done to promote international commingling through World Pools is one of the most important developments in racing in the last 20 years," said Mr Size.

 "Winfried's election as Chairman of the IFHA makes him only the second in its history. This is not only an honour for Winfried but an honour for The Hong Kong Jockey Club, further underlining Hong Kong's reputation for world-class racing. It also reflects the contribution of both Winfried and the Club under his leadership in promoting world horse racing. With his outstanding vigour, Winfried will lead world horseracing to the next level," said Mr Carlos Wu, Chairman of The Association of Hong Kong Racing Journalists.

Mr Romanet has led the IFHA with distinction since it was established in 1994.  In recognition of his contribution to the IFHA, Mr Romanet has been appointed to the honorary position of Chairman Emeritus of the Federation by the Executive Council, a position he will assume in October.

Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges lauded Mr Romanet's contribution to horseracing.

"There is nobody who can replicate the remarkable and sustained contribution to the IFHA which Louis has achieved," said Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges. "Louis has dedicated his working life to the advancement of racing. He has been a champion for the internationalisation of racing and has worked over many years to set and promote the conditions necessary to support international competition. He has also had an unwavering commitment to prohibited substance-free racing, particularly through major reforms to Article 6 of the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering. In addition, Louis was instrumental in initiating recent enhancements to the governance of the IFHA."

"I am truly honoured to be appointed as Louis' successor and the second Chair of the IFHA. I will work closely with all the members of the IFHA to address the challenges facing the racing industry and to further develop horseracing," said Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges.

Mr Romanet said, "I am confident that our next Chair and Vice-Chairs will successfully progress the IFHA and international horse racing.  I would like to warmly congratulate Winfried on his appointment to the role of IFHA Chairman.  I am certain that he will bring the vision, energy and outstanding leadership qualities necessary to take racing's global body to the next level into the future."

Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges has been Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Jockey Club since 2007. Under his leadership the Club has become one of the world's leading racing organisations, with international brand recognition. He is Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation, which represents 29 national racing authorities and racing-related organisations across Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East. Prior to his appointment as Chairman of the IFHA, Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges served as its Vice Chairman for Asia.

The four elected Vice-Chairs of the IFHA are:

Mr Jim Gagliano, President and Chief Operating Officer of The United States Jockey Club, who was re-elected as Vice-Chair for the Americas.

  • Mr Brian Kavanagh, outgoing Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, and incoming Chief Executive of The Curragh Racecourse, who was re-elected as Vice-Chair for Europe.
  • Mr Masayuki Goto, President and CEO of the Japan Racing Association, who was elected as the new Vice-Chair for Asia.
  • Mr Horacio Esposito, Advisor in International Affairs for Organización Sudamericana de Fomento del Pura Sangre de Carrera (OSAF), who was elected as the Federation's new fourth Vice-Chair. 

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges GBS JP

 Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges joined the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) in 1998 and has been its Chief Executive Officer since February 2007. Under his leadership the HKJC has undergone significant transformation, becoming one of the world's leading racing organisations, while its Charities Trust is now one of the world's top ten charity donors. 

Internationally, Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges is Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation (ARF), which comprises 29 national racing authorities and racing-related organisations from across Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East. Prior to his appointment as Chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), he served as its Vice-Chair Asia. Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges is also a member of the Advisory Board of Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V., organiser of the World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen.

In Hong Kong, Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges was a member of the Board of the Equestrian Events (Hong Kong) of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad Co Ltd, the company charged with managing the operations of the 2008 Olympic equestrian events in Hong Kong. He is a Vice Patron of the Community Chest and a Deputy Chairman of the Hong Kong Management Association, where he is Professor of Practice at its Institute of Advanced Management Development. He also holds an honorary doctorate in humanities from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 2009 and was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star in 2016.

Prior to joining the HKJC, Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges spent six years as Executive Vice President and 10 years as a Board Member of the German Racing and Breeding Authority (Direktorium für Vollblutzucht und Rennen), the governing body of German horse racing and breeding, whose members include the representatives of racecourses, the Trainers and Jockeys Association and the German Breeders and Owners Association. During this period he also developed and managed the Authority's commercial activities, including its tote, telebetting, TV production, marketing and sponsorship. Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges also served as President of Neusser Race Club and was a Board Member of the Union Klub.

A graduate from the University of Cologne in Economics, Finance and Statistics, Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges has had a lifelong passion for horse racing and breeding thoroughbreds. He is also an avid football fan, and played football professionally in Germany before graduation.

 

 


Hong Kong Jockey Club