Issue 50 - Racing NSW Update


Racing NSW would like to inform all veterinary practitioners that Racing Australia has recently redrafted and put into effect a new version of the Australian Rules of Racing (1 March 2019).

This new version represents a more streamlined document, seeking clarity for participants whilst not changing the substance of effect of the rules as they were prior to 1 March 2019. Racing Australia has sought to modernise the rules, significantly altering the language, structure and number of the Rules of Racing. Included with the Rules, is a Table of Comparative Provisions (Schedule 5), providing comparison between the Australian Rules of Racing as at 7 January 2019 (old rules) and 1 March 2019 (new rules), and vice versa.

Veterinarians are referred to Schedule 1 – Prohibited Substances Lists. Part 1 of this Schedule is a list of specified substances and categories of Substances Prohibited At All Times. These substances are considered to have no place for use in racehorses and their detection in a sample taken from a racehorse at any time, including in out of competition, or their discovery in a racing stable would be considered a serious offence under the Rules. Penalties include mandatory periods of disqualification for any person found to have administered, attempted to administer or be party to the administration of particular substances.

This list is updated from time to time to accommodate new substances and classes of substances that are identified by Racing Australia as risks to the integrity of racing and to the welfare of the horse. Further, harmonisation with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities is the preferred option to support integrity, necessitating updates to the Rules from time to time.

The complete Rules of Racing of Racing NSW can be accessed at:

Schedule 1 – Prohibited Substances Lists

Part 1 – Substances Prohibited At All Times

Division 1 – Prohibited List A

23) Zoledronic acid and any other bisphosphonate drugs not registered for veterinary use in Australia

Veterinarians are advised that zoledronic acid, and any other bisphosphonate drugs not registered for veterinary use in Australia, are prohibited at all times. Their detection in a sample taken from a racehorse at any time or their discovery in a racing stable or licensed premises is considered an offence under the Rules of Racing.

Racing NSW recently contributed to a subject matter reference group, tasked with discussing the use of bisphosphonates. Consensus provided that the possible deleterious and unpredictable effects associated with the administration of bisphosphonates in the athletic horse must be considered, when prescribing registered bisphosphonate containing products. These considerations are regardless of age, detection time and new Rules of Racing as they pertain to bisphosphonates.

Racing NSW advises veterinarians that this is an evolving scientific and regulatory discussion and that matters pertaining to bisphosphonates are still under consideration at Racing Australia. Veterinarians should keep themselves fully informed as more information becomes available in the near future.


Dr Toby J. Koenig
Chief Veterinary Officer
Racing NSW