This year, the Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit has been given to Yutaka Take, one of the most successful jockeys of his time. The award ceremony was held in Tokyo ahead of the running of the Grade 1 Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix). Since its creation, the award honors distinguished personalities for their lifelong contributions to the world of horse racing.
As the Official Partner and Official Watch of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, the Swiss watchmaker Longines was proud to present the 2017 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit to renowned Japanese jockey Yutaka Take. He succeeds previous recipients Jim Bolger, leading Irish trainer, owner and breeder; France’s Alec Head, past champion trainer and patriarch of prominent stud farm Haras du Quesnay; Seth Hancock of historic Claiborne Farm in America; the late Marcel Zarour Atanacio, former chairman of the South American Organization for the Promotion of Thoroughbreds (OSAF); and the Romanet Family, long renowned leaders in both the French and international world of horseracing.
The Award of Merit was created by Longines and the IFHA in order to honor public figures for their outstanding contribution to the world of horse racing. As Official Partner and Official Watch of the IFHA, Longines additionally awards several other prizes in recognition of excellence in this discipline in collaboration with the IFHA. The winners are honoured throughout the year in ceremonies attended by representatives from across the entire profession.
During the Award of Merit ceremony, Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, stated: “Besides the Longines & IFHA Award of Merit, the successful collaboration between Longines and the IFHA has led to the creation of several other prizes awarded in recognition of excellence in all things equestrian, such as the Longines World’s Best Jockey, which was presented two weeks ago to the Australian jockey Hugh Bowman, as well as the Longines World’s Best Racehorse and the Longines World’s Best Horse Race, whose ceremony will take place in London on 23 January 2018. Whether horse, jockey, race or public figure, all have a role to play in making each event unique and truly breathtaking. Just like tonight, the winners are honoured in ceremonies attended by representatives from across the entire profession. For 140 years, our love for the equestrian world has steadily increased, and today we have become the main partner of international institutions and events in the disciplines of horseracing, show jumping, eventing, endurance, dressage and driving. More than that, our commitment to equestrian sports is based on common shared values: Elegance, Tradition and Performance.”
Louis Romanet, IFHA Chairman, commented: “Yutaka Take has demonstrated his incredible skills not only in Japan but around the world, and his consistency at the top levels of racing is evident in the number of Group 1 races he has won as well as participated in. Jockeys like Mr. Take are special ambassadors for our industry, and it’s with great esteem that we honor him with the 2017 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit for his great contribution and influence on the sport of horse racing.”