THE owner of Arrowfield Stud, in the Segenhoe Valley near Scone, John Messara, has been honoured for his lifelong contributions to the thoroughbred racing industry.
Messara received the 2019 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit during a ceremony on Thursday night ahead of the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) this Saturday in Sydney.
"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, who is the first Australian to receive the award.
"I acknowledge especially the unflinching support of my wife, Kris, and our four children; all of my team, past and present, at Arrowfield; the Boards and 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 International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) in order to honour public figures for their outstanding contribution to the world of horse racing.
Representatives from both Longines and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities were in Australia to celebrate Messara's achievements.
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).