National Policy Conference Targets Trainer Injury Reports

By: Sarah Fortnum
May 12th, 2011

A number of new policies have resulted from the Australian stewards’ National Policy Conference in Melbourne this week.

One of the changes made during the conference was an obligation for trainers to report any surgery or illness their horses have suffered to the racing board before the horses can start in its next race.

This change to current rules will come into effect at the beginning of next season.

Racing Victoria Limited chief steward, Terry Baily, said they had decided on this policy to avoid instances such as when So You Think returned to racing after a throat operation and told no-one last Spring.

“There was a rumour So You Think had had a throat operation and in the finish we made it our business to find out,” Mr Bailey said.

“But we don’t want a repeat of that occurrence.

“Trainers need to be more conscious of the punter.

“Now they will be required to report any sort of surgery, whether it be upper respiratory or even any sign of lameness or gait dysfunction.

“Any horse, any time, if something’s happened we believe the customer has the right to know.”

The Australian stewards also decided in the conference not to increase the minimum weight for the jockeys.

“We recently did a poll on Victorian jockeys and one of the results said that the majority of jockeys did not want a weight rise,” Mr Bailey said.

“The stewards view also hasn’t changed, which is that if the minimum weight was raised from 53kg to 54kg the same jockeys would still be struggling.”

The conference also decided to prevent the introduction of pacemakers into race fields, calling it an “un-Australian style of racing”, as well as opting to change the terminology “Dead” when referring to track conditions, to something “which sounds cosmetically better, like yielding”.

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