Designed to recognise public figures who have had the biggest influence on racing at international level, in 2018 the accolade was presented to the Magnier family and the trainer Aidan O’Brien for their outstanding contributions to the equestrian world.
Launched by Longines in 2013 in collaboration with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), the Longines & IFHA International Award of Merit is one of the finest awards to recognise public figures for their outstanding contribution to the equestrian world. This year’s ceremony took place in Dublin, at the Royal College of Surgeons – a spectacular historic building right in the heart of the Irish capital – in the presence of representatives from all walks of the profession.
Longines and the FEI presented the first Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider & Horse Awards to the best rider and best horse of 2017.
The first of its kind, this ceremony was held in April at the Mairie de Paris along with the draws for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals for Jumping and Dressage. The inaugural winners were talented American rider Kent Farrington, who excelled in a number of major showjumping competitions in 2017, and the incredible mare HH Azur, who won the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha with her rider McLain Ward. At the ceremony, the American mare was represented by her co-owner, François Mathy, accompanied by his wife and McLain Ward.
The principle? The winner of the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse is decided from the 10 best results of the year according to the Longines Rankings. As for the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider, the winner is the leading rider in the Longines Rankings at the end of the year. Reason to celebrate equestrian excellence and exceptional performances in top-class showjumping.
Since 2014 the contribution of jockeys to the “sport of kings” has finally been recognised thanks to a joint initiative between Longines and the IFHA.
Legendary rider Lanfranco “Frankie” Dettori was crowned the 2018 Longines World’s Best Jockey held at the Longines Hong Kong International Races annual Gala Dinner in December 2018. He has won the award twice in the last four years, as he first took the title in 2015. With a total of 128 points, he claimed the award ahead of Oisin Murphy (114 points), and Ryan Moore (112 points).
Showing his versatility, Dettori won eight of the world’s Top 100 Group or Grade 1 races aboard five different horses this year. His qualifying victories, seven of which were timed by Longines, came in the Prix Ganay - Prix de l'Inauguration de ParisLongchamp (Cracksman), Investec Coronation Cup (Cracksman), St James's Palace Stakes (Without Parole), Gold Cup (Stradivarius), Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Enable), QIPCO Champion Stakes (Cracksman), Breeders’ Cup Mile (Expert Eye), and Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (Enable).
This title is not only awarded to the best racehorses, but also the teams that enable the horses to combine performance and excellence.
First presented in 2013, this accolade is awarded to racehorses who finish in the top three of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.
These international ratings are based on the horses’ performances in elite races. In 2017, Arrogate won the award for the second year running with a score of 134.
Longines World’s Best Horse Race Award
This title fittingly rounds off the series of awards created by Longines and the IFHA to pay tribute to key figures from the horseracing world.
Designed to honour the highest scoring race from the top 100 Group 1 international races for the year as selected by a panel of international handicappers, this award was first presented in 2016 along with the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Award at a ceremony in London.
This ranking is based on the scores of the first four horses in each race throughout the previous year. The winner in 2017 was the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with a score of 126.25.
In keeping with Longines’ desire to encourage young people to take up the sport, the Longines Rising Star Award is presented to riders aged between 14 and 21 in recognition of their talent and dedication to their sporting discipline.
The young Irish showjumper Harry Allen was presented with the award at the 2017 FEI Awards Ceremony held in Montevideo, Uruguay in November. Just 16 years of age at the time, this highly promising young athlete is following in the footsteps of his older brother,
Bertram Allen, making a name for himself on the international stage. Indeed, Harry won two gold medals at the European Pony Championships, which took place in Hungary.
Launched in 2013 to honour the outstanding work of female figures in the horse world, these awards particularly recognise the elegance that emanates from devoting a career to the equine cause.
For five years, a Longines Ladies Award has been presented to women who have consistently dazzled at the highest level of the equestrian world and who have made a major contribution to its success through their work.
In 2017 four outstanding figures were honoured during the Longines Ladies Awards ceremony. American rider Reed Kessler is a young prodigy who clinched the 2012 USEF National Jumping title at the age of just 18 in her first year in the senior category. As the youngest athlete to compete at the Olympic Games, she has stood out in a variety of ways – including her involvement as the ambassador of JustWorld International – offering extraordinary exposure for equestrian sports. The second winner, Georgina Bloomberg, the youngest daughter of the former Mayor of New York, is a figure who uses her celebrity to help others. As well as having won numerous prizes, she is heavily involved in the equestrian world as a humanitarian activist. The Australian jockey Michelle Payne is also among the winners. The first woman in 155 years to win the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup in 2015, her glittering career, which has not been without its difficulties, has inspired an entire nation and women all over the world.
Finally, The Honourable Belinda Stronach, PC, a Canadian businesswoman, former cabinet minister and philanthropist, is also well-known in the horseracing industry. Co-founder and President of the Stronach Group, she initiated the creation of innovative events and is a powerful symbol of success for young generations.
In 2016 tribute was paid to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, who received this accolade for her accomplishments throughout her life in the interests of equestrian sport at the highest level. The Princess competed with the British eventing team for a number of years. After becoming European champion in 1971, she was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year by the public and went on to win several medals before being selected to take part in the 1976 Olympic Games. With so many victories in the saddle, she eventually became President of the Fédération Equestre internationale (FEI) from 1986 to 1994 and, more recently, a member of the International Olympic Committee.