Longines Awards

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Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit
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.
Michael Vincent Magnier
Aidan O’Brien
The king of horses
The king of horses
Horseracing is part of the genetic make-up of the country where this year’s winners hail from. Their involvement in the world of horseracing through their breeding operation Coolmore and racing stable Ballydoyle, which are equestrian institutions, is truly inspirational. The trophies they have won between them not just in Ireland but across the globe are too many to list here. Coolmore is synonymous with international success at the highest level and is a world-renowned operation. It all began in the early 1970s when John Magnier, Viencet O’Brien and businessman Robert Sangster decided to join forces. It was not long before their efforts paid off. The Minstrel, the partnership’s first major winner, lifted the 1977 Epsom Derby. Their first famous homebred was Sadler’s Wells, a world-class racehorse, made history upon his retirement by becoming the leading sire in the United Kingdom and Ireland on no fewer than 14 occasions. And that is just the beginning of the story: after Robert Sangster passed away and Vincent O’Brien retired, John Magnier, who is married to Vincent O’Brien’s daughter Susan, acquired Coolmore and Ballydoyle. In 1996, Aidan O’Brien, who is no relation to Vincent O’Brien, took over the training centre of Ballydoyle.

Since Aidan O’Brien has taken over the reins at Ballydoyle, he has recorded more than 300 Group 1 victories across the globe, thanks to outstanding performers like Giant’s Causeway, Highland Reel and Galileo, to name but just a few. He became the first trainer to win the Epsom Derby in three consecutive years and in 2017 he set a new world record when he saddled 28 Group/Grade 1 winners in a calendar year. The vast majority of his big-race winners carry the colours of the Coolmore partners. Michael Vincent Magnier and Aidan O’Brien, representing their respective families, were incredibly grateful when they received the 2018 Longines & IFhA International Award of Merit.

Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider
& Horse Awards
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.
A great honour
A great honour
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.
Longines World’s Best Jockey Award
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.
The world’s best jockey
The world’s best jockey
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).
Longines World’s Best Racehorse Award
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.
Longines Rising Star Award
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.
Longines Ladies Awards
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.
The power of determination
The power of determination
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.
A steady outreach
A steady outreach
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.
An extremely positive influence
An extremely positive influence
In 2015 Her Royal Highness Princess Haya received the Longines Ladies Award for her remarkable elegance during competitions, her great sense of leadership and her tireless contribution to equestrian sport. A former Olympic showjumper, Honorary President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and racehorse owner, the Princess stated that it was “a great honour to win this prize”, which she accepted “in the name of all the women” who have helped her accomplish her mission, “for nothing I’ve achieved would have been possible if I’d been on my own”. A fine tribute to the sporting and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by the Princess, not to mention her ability to unite people all over the world, her elegance while competing and the way in which she ran the FEI.
Four major contributions
Four major contributions
In 2014 four eminent women from the equestrian world were honoured: Sylvie Robert, Criquette Head-Maarek, Jing Li and Bo Derek. Illustrating the passion for horses that Longines and the winners share, these awards were presented in recognition of their respective contributions to the equestrian world. Indeed, Sylvie Robert received the award for her contribution to the development of equestrian sport in Europe, especially as head of the organisation of the 2014 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping finals held in Lyon, which attracted the best riders in the world. Criquette Head-Maarek’s prize commended her contribution to the development of training methods and equine care. The first female trainer to have won the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1979 and 2013, she has also won the Prix de Diane Longines three times, most notably in 2012 with her filly Trève, who topped the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings and was named the World’s Best Racehorse in 2013.
The third winner, Jing Li, was recognised for her contribution to the development of equestrian sports in Asia, especially China. She spearheaded the Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters, the first showjumping competitions to feature international riders in China, which were held at the Olympic Stadium of Beijing. And last but not least, Bo Derek was rewarded for her efforts to promote and protect equine welfare and safety in the United States. She has worked closely with the Animal Welfare Institute, is an ambassador for the Breeder’s Cup™ World Championships and serves as a member of the California Horse Racing Board.
Unfaltering commitment
Unfaltering commitment
Three winners received their prizes during the very first Longines Ladies Awards ceremony in 2013. A Longines Ladies Award was presented to Princess Zahra Aga Khan for her commitment to horse breeding. In addition to intensive development projects in Africa, and South and Central Asia, and in many sectors, from micro-finance to healthcare and education, from agro-industry to rural development, the Princess Zahra Aga Khan devotes her time to keep 250 years of family tradition alive. Set up in two sites in France and Ireland, the Aga Khan Studs are considered to be one of the largest Thoroughbred breeding farms in the world.

Athina Onassis de Miranda was honoured for her contribution to the development of equestrian sports in Latin America, especially through the Athina Onassis Horse Show; and finally, Sophie Thalmann received an award for promoting the equine world through television from an educational standpoint. (Nathalie Marchal)