[close]

The World's Best Race To Go With The World's Best Horse and Jockey

In Part 1 of the Longines brand story on their involvement with the international racing industry, Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President and Head of International Marketing of Longines, outlined a corporate strategic decision taken seven years ago to use the power of their brand for racing.

The World's Best Race To Go With The World's Best Horse and Jockey

In Part 1 of the Longines brand story on their involvement with the international racing industry, Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President and Head of International Marketing of Longines, outlined a corporate strategic decision taken seven years ago to use the power of their brand for racing.

In Part 2 Capelli, during a recent interview with ThoroughbredNEWS in Sydney, discussed the global strategy that Longines brought to racing and the development of linking the industry on a worldwide basis and reveals a new Longines World’s Best Race Award.

“We started from a small base in the sport,” said Capelli as he explained the brand’s moves after the decision to place more emphasis on their involvement in thoroughbred racing.


“As with the experience of other sports you must have something to have a global approach because these are incredible events, within the USA the Longines Kentucky Oaks, in UK Royal Ascot, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, The Prix de Diane Longines in France, the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Longines Golden Slipper, the Melbourne Cup, the Longines International Races in Hong Kong, they are local events that attract once a year, one time and that is it.

“Like football it was how for a few months to have a global approach and that is why I started to talk to the organiser of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and how to do that globally.

“Everyone was smiling that is was impossible, it was so local, no one wanted to share and thanks to the President of International Federation of Horse Racing, Louis Romanet, together we tried to change the mentality and to create heroes, and global heroes,” he said.

Capelli said that after the success of the Best Horse and Jockey Awards, a new award was being created for next year.

“With the Federation we created the Longines Best Jockey Award, Best Horse Award and we will have next year the Longines Best Race Award, a world-wide race,” he said.

“We are doing that with the handicappers and we are very neutral and it will not necessarily be a Longines race. It will be global; who is the best jockey, who is the best horse, which is the best race in the world.

“We do not want it to have to be a Longines race, it has to be an independent of choice and so Longines with the Federation we decided to give it to the handicappers who are very independent.

“We started two years ago with the Longines Best Horse Award in Hong Kong with Black Caviar and Treve as the winners, it was an incredible success.

“It was a start to have some heroes that everyone can recognise everywhere and last year it was a Longines Best Jockey with Ryan Moore and we will see what will be the best race in the world.

“So I think we will have some surprises and it is very interesting. The goal is to place the sport on a more worldwide basis and now only focus locally. To not only follow one day of racing, but to follow racing year round,” he said.

Longines deliberately set out a strategy to build international media around the races and international awards competing with the other global sports.

“For that we try to create media and we work with CNN, with Eurosport and other media. We now have a show called Winning Post on CNN every two weeks, and every month. With every big race you have a racing programme and you can follow and watch as well with Eurosport and other channels around the world, in newspapers and magazines to try and build a global audience,” he said.

“To have a global approach to support not only two days in Australian, and two days in the USA, but all the year.

“Like Formula 1 sport which you can follow throughout the year and for that you need heroes. It is very important to have the award for the best horse, the best jockey and now the best race, it will help a lot to allow people to follow the sport year round,” he explained.

Their expansion in Australian racing with sponsorship of the Longines Golden Slipper with the Australian Turf Club and the announcement in April of the Longines Positioning System for timekeeping and tracking technology in thoroughbred racing at major courses is part of their strategy.

“For us Australia is a very important market, it is one of the five biggest markets in the world, and we know that Australia is one of the biggest countries for horse racing in the world,” said Capelli.

“The Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes and now the Longines Golden Slipper we know these races. We have a few races that we know in Australia when you come from Europe, we know the Melbourne Cup, the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Longines Golden Slipper and probably the Cox Plate.

“These are the races and the names that when you hear the name you know what it is. In Australia we have one of the biggest breeding industries in the world and probably one of the best events is the Golden Slipper.

“To partner the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes and now the Longines Golden Slipper it what we do, it is part of our global strategy,” he said.

Capelli has the enviable task of attending some of the very best race meetings in the world in his official capacity, but even for the seasoned traveller there are moments each year that are highlights on both a personal level and that of Longines.

“To see Treve to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe a second time,” he said of 2014 highlights.

“I know the Head family very well, Criquette especially, the first big win for Treve was the Prix de Diane Longines, one of the biggest fillies races in the world, and to see her (Treve) win the second time was just fantastic, one of the big moments in racing,” he said.

For the upcoming northern hemisphere season Capelli said that he was looking forward to the recently announced sponsorship in Ireland with Irish Champions Day in October and before that the Longines Ladies Award.

“One moment is very particular for us, we have a lot of awards, but we have a Longines Ladies Award to recognise the importance of ladies from the equine world. Last year we recognised four ladies, the year before three, and now the jury will chose for the award on the day before Ascot this year.

“I look forward to seeing who the jury will choose to receive the Longines Ladies Award, that one person who is giving their life to the equine world, and I look forward to see who will receive the prize this year,” he said.

Meanwhile the brand power of the international watch company takes the racing industry with it after that fateful business decision seven years ago. It is to be hoped that the double digit growth this has created for Longines continues and spreads across the racing world.


Thoroughbred News



Check out the latest Singapore News


Latest Stories