Messara and Foreman depart Racing Australia

John Messara has resigned from his role as Independent Chairman with Racing Australia.

Less than a year after John Messara was appointed Racing Australia’s first independent chairman, the popular racing administrator has quit his job.

Upon his resignation, Messara was clearly frustrated in the stalemate between state thoroughbred racing administrations, namely the ongoing feud between Racing NSW and Racing Victoria.

“I joined the Board of Racing Australia as its first ever Independent Chairman with the intention of reconciling differences,” Messara said in a Racing Australia statement.

“I am now stepping aside to allow the Board to vote in a new Chair, who I hope will have more success than I have had.”

Messara’s departure came less than 24 hours after Racing Australia chief executive Myles Foreman announced his resignation.

Messara commented on Foreman’s departure before his own, praising the long-serving administrator for his contributions to race in Australia. 

“During his 16 years Myles has made significant and lasting contributions to the industry, including through the establishment of the Single National System (SNS) now used by all Principal Racing Authorities across Australia,” Messara said. 

“Under his guidance, the related My Horse Racing Portal is transiting the industry’s paper-based forms online. 

“Other developments during Myles’ tenure included the integration of the Stud Book into Racing Australia and the related establishment of the Equine Genetics Research Centre in Scone. 

“In the welfare space, the introduction of expanded traceability rules and processes was an important development. 

“Myles has guided a start-up business when he first joined in 2006 delivering year on year growth, enabling reinvestment into the Racing Australia business.”

On a positive, Foreman will continue in his role, assisting Racing Australia with the transition to a new CEO.

Disappointingly, Racing Victoria had said for months that they were prepared to meet and even make concessions to Racing NSW but from all Racing Victoria reports, Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys has refused.

Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger described Messara’s resignation as ‘a disappointing outcome’ for racing.

“This is a disappointing outcome as we had hoped John would be able to take RA forward and advance a number of important matters currently on the national agenda including equine welfare, the Rules of Racing and the Australian Racing Pattern,” Kruger said. 

“RV remains of the view that a united national approach is vital to Australian racing’s healthy future, and we stand ready and willing to engage in meaningful dialogue with all states on national matters.

“We will be playing our role to ensure that RA can operate uninterrupted in the immediate future and will work with those that also believe in the importance of a national approach.

“John is a decorated and highly respected member of the Australian racing community and while we are eager for him to continue in the role, we understand the decision he has reached.

“We would like to thank John for his contribution and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”