Issue 51 - Racing NSW Update


Equine Welfare

Racing NSW would like to remind all practitioners and reinforce its Local Rules as they pertain to Equine Welfare. These rules have been in effect in their current form since 1 October 2017 and veterinarians in racetrack and associated industry practice should be aware of the requirements placed on registered owners, trainers and any other person that is in the custody of or responsible for a thoroughbred.

LR 114 was introduced with the purpose and objective of ensuring the welfare of eligible horses from birth, throughout their racing careers and into their retirement.

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



(Effective 1.10.17)

LR 114.

(1) The purpose and objective of this Local Rule 114 is to ensure the welfare of thoroughbred horses from birth, during their racing careers and on retirement.

(2) A registered owner, trainer or any person that is in charge of or has in his or her possession, control or custody of any horses (Eligible Horses, Unnamed Horses and Named Horses) must ensure that any such horses are provided at all times with:

  1. proper and sufficient nutrition and water;
  2. proper exercise;
  3. stabling and paddocks of a standard approved by Racing NSW, which are adequate in size, which are adequately maintained and kept in a clean and sanitary condition;
  4. veterinary treatment where such treatment is necessary or directed by Racing NSW.


(3) A registered owner, trainer or any person that is in charge of or has in his or her possession, control or custody of any horses (Eligible Horses, Unnamed Horses and Named Horses) must exercise reasonable care, control and supervision as may be necessary to prevent any such horse from being subject to cruelty or unnecessary pain or suffering.


(4) A registered owner, trainer or any person that is in charge of or has in his or her possession, control or custody of any horses (Eligible Horses, Unnamed Horses and Named Horses) is not to euthanize or destroy a horse (or permit a horse to be euthanized or destroyed) unless a registered veterinary surgeon has certified in writing that it necessary on welfare or safety grounds or for reasons approved in writing by Racing NSW or unless under extreme circumstances where it is necessary for a horse to be euthanized immediately and the decision is subsequently confirmed by a veterinary surgeon.


(5) Further to AR64JA(1), where a decision has been made to retire a horse, or not to commence racing an Eligible Horse, and that horse has been domiciled in New South Wales for the majority of its life:

a. the Manager, in addition to any forms to be lodged with Racing Australia pursuant to AR64JA(1), is to lodge with Racing NSW the Retirement Notification form prescribed by Racing NSW, such form to includes details of the retirement option, where that horse will be located and contact details of the new owner (if that horse is being transferred to a new owner);

b. that horse is not to be transferred to a location which does not meet minimum standards prescribed by Racing NSW to ensure the ongoing welfare of that horse and the owners are required to provide Racing NSW with all information and assistance (including access to the proposed location) in order to enable Racing NSW to assess that those minimums standards are met;

c. the owners are to make all reasonable endeavours to find a home for that horse that meets Racing NSW’s minimum standards in any of the following options:

i. breeding purposes;

ii. equestrian, working, pleasure or companion horse;

iii. any other option approved by Racing NSW

d. in the event that the owners are unable to find a home for that horse, having used all reasonable endeavours, then the remaining options for that horse are:

i. an official retirement or retraining program (either operated by Racing NSW or approved by Racing NSW in writing);

ii. any other option that ensures the ongoing welfare of the horse approved by Racing NSW in writing;

e. the horse is not to be, directly or indirectly, sent to an abattoir, knackery or similarly disposed of;

f. the horse is not to be sold/gifted at a livestock auction not approved by Racing NSW; and

g. if that horse is in need of veterinary treatment (including ongoing veterinary treatment), it is not to be transferred to a new home until that veterinary treatment has been provided or Racing NSW is satisfied that it will receive that veterinary treatment.


(6) Any person who fails to comply with LR114(1)-(5) commits a breach of these Rules and may be penalised.

[Rule effective 1.10.17]

Racing NSW advises all permitted veterinarians to keep themselves fully informed as more information becomes available in the near future.


Amendments to the Australian Rules of Racing effective 1 January 2020

Racing Australia have this week announced a range of amendments to the following Australian Rules of Racing, effective 1 January 2020, that are highly pertinent to equine veterinarians.

 AR 2 – Dictionary (definition of “qualified veterinary surgeon”)

AR 86 – Shockwave therapy

AR 87 – Intra-articular injections

AR 231 – Endoscopy of the respiratory tract

AR 257A – Blood doping


Racing Australia Media Release - Australian Rules of Racing Cobalt Rules Considered & Reaffirmed

Further, Racing Australia is now in receipt of a detailed report examining the science and related literature as it pertains to cobalt.

Racing Australia’s Veterinary and Analysts Committee (VAC) recently completed a review of matters raised in relation to Cobalt and provided the Board of Racing Australia with its expert advice on the matter.

The Board also considered that the view among international racing authorities continues to be consistent with Racing Australia that cobalt has the potential to positively affect performance and is a welfare risk at toxic levels and that Rules of Racing are required to protect against this risk.

In light of VAC’s advice, the Board of Racing Australia reaffirmed its position in respect of cobalt and advises that it does not propose to make any amendments to the Australian Rules of Racing.

The RA media release is available at the following link and it is important that registered veterinarians are aware of its contents:

Read the full media release.


Dr Toby J. Koenig
Chief Veterinary Officer
Racing NSW