Retirement of Mr John Messara AM from the Board of Racing NSW

We are proud to display on our website the attached article acknowledging the outstanding contribution by Mr John Messara AM to the thoroughbred horse racing and breeding industries. “A Job well done JM”. Tony Fleiter


J MessaraThe Board of Racing NSW received notification today at its Board meeting that the Chairman, Mr John Messara AM (pictured) will be retiring at the end of December 2016.

Speaking on behalf of the Board the Deputy Chairman, Mr Russell Balding AO acknowledged the significant contribution that Mr Messara has made to the thoroughbred racing industry in NSW and Australia over the 5 years of his chairmanship.

“John Messara is the longest serving Chairman of Racing NSW and is an icon in the Australian Thoroughbred Racing Industry; he will be greatly missed,” Mr Balding said.

“Under his leadership the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry has regained its mantle as the leading jurisdiction in the Southern hemisphere.  Annual prizemoney has all but doubled from $118 million to $203 million during his term with particular focus on Country and Provincial racing.

“Importantly, NSW now has a flagship carnival in The Championships.

“In addition to driving substantial commercial growth and financial sustainability in the NSW racing industry, John also deserves recognition for the measures introduced to secure the integrity of the sport, including the establishment of the Investigation and Surveillance Unit, the establishment of a world class forensic laboratory and the licensing of veterinarians, just to name a few of his initiatives,” said Mr Balding.

Mr Messara said:  “It’s been a privilege to serve the racing industry in such an outstanding team including the Board and the executive of Racing NSW.  All of our original objectives have been achieved during the 5 years

“I wish to give special thanks to the Chief Executive, Mr Peter V’landys AM who has been a tower of strength during what has been an often challenging scenario.

“I also wish to thank the Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing, The Hon Troy Grant MP and his predecessor The Hon George Souris for their guidance and support during my term in office,” Mr Messara added.

Racing NSW Chief Executive, Mr Peter V’landys AM said:  “This is a very sad day for the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry.  People won’t realise or fully appreciate the magnitude of John’s enormous contribution.

“John has been an inspirational leader with his drive, passion and commitment to the sport without peer with the achievements above speaking for themselves.

“On a personal note John’s mentoring and guidance has been invaluable to me and I have learnt a considerable amount under his chairmanship.  John was also extremely popular with all the staff at Racing NSW and his loyalty to all of us is immeasurable,” Mr V’landys added.

For more information please contact Mr Peter V’landys AM, Racing NSW Chief Executive, by phone on (02) 9551 7556.

Editor’s Notes: Following is a list of achievements while Mr John Messara AM was Chairman of Racing NSW.


Chairman, Racing NSW (Dec 2011 – Dec 2016)

Chairman, Racing Australia (Jan 2014 – Dec 2016)

v  NSW Prizemoney increased from $118 million to a sustainable $203 million per annum

v  Creation of The Championships, a destination event to reinvigorate the Sydney Autumn Carnival

v  Significant enhancements to integrity and governance

v  Substantial investment in industry modernisation and infrastructure projects


Racing NSW

  • Establishment of the Racing NSW Investigation and Surveillance Unit.
  • Execution of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Crime Commission to allow for information sharing.
  • $4 million re-fit of Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory, significantly enhancing the identification and detection of new drugs.
  • Introduction of stringent minimum penalties for serious integrity breaches.
  • Rules of Racing amended to improve integrity on disclosure of inside information and conflicts of interest.
  • Establishment of an Equine Biological Passport as a proactive measure to detect future performance enhancing drugs and gene doping.
  • Introduction of the licensing of veterinarians under the Rules of Racing.
  • A total ban on anabolic androgenic steroids for the life of a racehorse including an amendment of the thoroughbred auction Conditions of Sale.
  • Tighter drug regulations including: ban on injections one day before racing, ban on the administration of alkalising agents one day before racing, eight clear days for intra-articular corticosteroids before racing.
  • Funding of a three-year research project on the detection of gene doping in thoroughbreds.
  • Introduction of a secret commissions rule (pending).
  • High court dismissal of race fields litigation appeal. Race fields fees increased on premium race meetings and derivative bets.
  • Successful negotiation with NSW Government for wagering tax parity with Victoria, resulting in a graduated increase in industry revenue of $66 million per annum by 2021.
  • Negotiation of agreement with NSW race clubs to employ a ‘one-in, all-in, one-out, all-out’ stance in respect to media rights arbitration following the cessation of TVN operations. This allowed Racing NSW to negotiate several agreements with SKY Channel on behalf of all race clubs to secure tens of millions of dollars in additional annual industry funding.
  • Sale of NSW Racing’s digital broadcast rights on exclusive terms worth tens of millions of dollars to the NSW industry.
  • Cost effective industry management: Racing NSW operates at 38% of the cost of Victoria despite running approximately 20% more race meetings.
  • Significant increases in prizemoney across every racing tier. Minimum Country prizemoney per race has increased 100%, minimum Provincial prizemoney per race has increased 50% and minimum Metropolitan prizemoney has increased 43% per race on a Saturday and 28% per race midweek.
  • Revitalisation of the Sydney Autumn Carnival with the introduction of The Championships. The first three runnings were held at Randwick on the first two Saturdays in April 2014, 2015 & 2016 with 10 Championship races offering prizemoney totalling $20 million annually.
  • Broadening the distribution of prizemoney to pay back to 10th place and include licensed stable hands, the lowest paid workers in racing, with an allocation of 1.5% of prizemoney.
  • New initiatives for Country and Provincial racing:
    • Country & Provincial Championships, totalling $2.65 million in stakes
    • Highway races on non-Carnival ATC Saturday meetings of $60,000 prizemoney
    • Forty Country Showcase meetings annually with $30,000 per race and 30 featuring a $40,000 Country restricted maiden race
    • Fortnightly high value maiden races of $40,000 on Provincial race meetings

  • Introduction of ‘The Racing NSW and Corrective Services NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Program’ responsible for rehoming almost 300 horses to date. It also provides inmates the opportunity to acquire skills necessary for employment within the thoroughbred industry.
  • Establishment of the Horse Welfare Fund financed by a 1% levy on prizemoney paid in NSW (approximately $2million per annum). The fund will provide resources for the care, retraining and eventual re-homing of all NSW thoroughbred horses.
  • Introduction of traceability measures to ensure location and ownership of all thoroughbreds are known.
  • Increased restrictions on the use of the whip introduced.
  • Report commissioned on ‘Analysis of Risk Factors contributing to Horse Fatalities in Thoroughbred Racing’.

  • Jockey’s Benefit Scheme introduced to provide financial assistance and other forms of support to NSW and ACT jockeys in need or preparing for a new career.
  • Regeneration of the Racing NSW Workers Compensation Fund, which provides compensation to jockeys, trainers’ staff and race club staff. The fund was inherited from the Australian Jockey Club with a $9.2million deficit, and now has a surplus of $0.6 million.
  • Investment of over $250 million in Racing NSW managed capital infrastructure projects across 23 NSW racetracks.
  • Investment in six Outside Broadcast vans fitted with the latest HD technology for on-course broadcast and delivery of broadcast production to SKY Racing and stewards for in-race and post-race reviews.
  • Introduction of HawkEye ORS technology for stewards to view races from multiple angles.
  • Implementation of a new governance structure with a minimum quota of independent directors for Country and Provincial race clubs receiving capital funding.
  • Upgrade of Racing NSW website, introduction of video form and immediate race replays.
  • Installation of a sectional time tracking system (Longines Positioning System) at Randwick and Rosehill. A portable version for use at NSW Country and Provincial tracks has been developed for implementation across 20 other tracks.
  • Strategy developed for the exploitation of the tracking system including broadcast graphics, database of raw tracking system data and a mobile application.
  • Purchase of the Australian Stud Book by Racing Information Services Australia.
  • Merger of the Australian Racing Board, Racing Information Services Australia and the Australian Stud Book to create Racing Australia.
  • New track ratings scale introduced.
  • Successful lobbying of the Federal Government to introduce legislation to counter the threat of illegal Asian Bookmakers.
  • Conclusion of Federal and High Court appeals in the Artificial Insemination case.
  • Rewrite of the Australian Rules of Racing.
  • Successful review and initiation of ASIC’s Syndication Class Order to encourage industry investment through larger ownership groups (from 20 to 50) and increased maximum investment per horse (from $250,000 to $500,000).
  • Development of modern owner/trainer and multiple owner agreements for industry usage.

Racing Australia


Racing NSW





Racing NSW

Racing Australia


Racing NSW

Racing Australia

  • New improved jockey helmets being introduced.
  • Jockey Fatalities and Catastrophic Injuries report.
  • Increased benefits to jockeys in Public Liability and Personal Accident Insurance coverage.


Racing NSW

Racing Australia

This report supplied by Mark Brassel, Media, Communictions & Website Manager Racing NSW and distributed by Brian Russell Bloodstock Media Servce, publisher of the Australian Thoroughbred

OCTOBER 19 ,2016 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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