Your recent article pointing to Racing Australia’s alleged lack of achievements was brought to my attention last week. I am afraid that I feel compelled to write in and take issue with your view of Racing Australia.
Racing Australia commenced on 3 December, 2014 when the regulatory functions of the Australian Racing Board were amalgamated with the Australian Stud Book and the industry’s data and information organization RISA. The successful merger of three separate organizations was in itself an achievement and gives the Australian breeding and racing industry unprecedented commercial and regulatory opportunities.
Australia’s 8 Principal Racing Authorities were united in their desire to forge a national industry to the greatest extent possible, given that they each operate under their own enabling legislation and account to their own State Governments and stakeholders who don’t always share the same desire for a national industry.
Nevertheless, with not yet one year since inception, Racing Australia has introduced some significant reforms. In 2015 the following rule and policy changes were enacted:
1. a total ban on anabolic steroids from birth
2. a stand down period of 10 days after application of corticosteroids
3. a ban on application of alkalizing agents (tubing) one clear day before a race
4. a ban on injections one clear day before a race
5. introduction of a threshold for cobalt
6. a ban on Xenon and Argon gas
7. begun to introduce a system of whole-of-life traceability of a horse for integrity and welfare purposes
8. funded a long term research project on gene doping
1.development and introduction of a new helmet 40-60% safer than current helmets
2. increased significantly payments to jockeys and their families in the event of death or total incapacity
1. introduced new whip rules that abolish the unrestricted use of the backhand whip action
2. collating data from owners and trainers on the retirement of racehorses has provided a fact-based rebuttal to animal rights extremists
3. conducted an analysis of the risk factors contributing to racehorse fatalities
Modernisation of the industry’s practices:
1. complete rewrite of the Australian Rules of Racing
2. introduction of a Security For Training Fees Scheme to give trainers greater capacity to recover unpaid training fees
This is arguably a good start and has franked the drug-free status of the Australian racing jurisdiction.
Reforms aimed at modernising the way industry participants transact with each have been long overdue and will add to transparency and integrity, hopefully encouraging further investment in racing.
Other reforms ,including minimum mandatory penalties for integrity offences, have tightened the integrity net with the objective of increasing public confidence in our industry and offering participants, especially owners and punters, a level playing field.
I hope this clarifies our achievements to date .