John Messara joins Newcastle & Hunter Racing Hall of Fame

Double Hall of Famer John Messara with the famous Tanya Bartlett statue of Redoute's Choice at Arrowfield.

The list of awards and honours on John Messara’s CV is a long one, including membership of the Order of Australia and the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, and global recognition by way of the International Award of Merit presented by Longines & the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. 

This week, Arrowfield’s founder & owner was acknowledged in his own “backyard” with induction to the Newcastle & Hunter Racing Hall of Fame. 

As it happens, this year’s two equine inductees both have strong Arrowfield connections: Champion Filly Samantha Miss is by the Stud’s legendary Champion Sire Redoute’s Choice, and international sprinting star Ortensia was trained to win at Group 1 level in Australia, Dubai & England by John’s son Paul Messara.

Alison Hush of the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association presents John Messara with his Newcastle & Hunter Racing Hall of Fame certificate. (PHOTO: Newcastle Racecourse)

As the Official Program makes clear, John has forged his own path in the Australian thoroughbred industry, bringing a European sensibility, experience as a successful Sydney stockbroker and a deep-rooted passion for breeding & racing horses to the task of creating what is now the leading Australian-owned stud farm. 

John can look back on four decades of dazzling achievement as a maker of Champion Sires Danehill, Redoute’s Choice, Flying Spur & Snitzel, Australia’s leading yearling vendor and the breeder of superstars such as Weekend Hussler, Miss Finland & The Autumn Sun, among 81 Arrowfield graduate Group 1 winners.

Several of those horses have been bred in highly successful, long-standing partnerships with celebrated international breeders such as HH The Aga Khan and Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm, as well as the late Robert Sangster’s Swettenham Stud and the late Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum’s Gainsborough Stud. 

But that’s not all. John has also made profoundly significant contributions to the progress of the Australian thoroughbred industry, most notably leading a period of dynamic reform & growth as Chairman of Racing NSW (2011-16) and Racing Australia (2013-16), and steering the industry through the Equine Influenza crisis of 2007.

Thirty-eight years after launching Arrowfield, John’s enthusiasm for the sport, commitment to the business and engagement with the industry are all as strong as ever. 

His competitive spirit and desire to breed exceptional horses remain unquenchable. The day after the Newcastle & Hunter Racing event, he flew to Brisbane where Arrowfield’s promising 2YO filly Miracle Of Love (by Dundeel from Miss Finland), trained by Paul Messara, was making her second raceday appearance. 

She duly won, and John now hopes she will get a chance to become Arrowfield’s next Group 1 winner in the $1 million J.J. Atkins G1 on 10 June.

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