THE Thoroughbred industry has come together to announce a strategy to develop a national horse welfare regime.
Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA), the Australian Trainers' Association (ATA) and the Australian Jockeys' Association (AJA) along with other stakeholders have established an Independent Working Group (IWG).
This will review the current welfare landscape in the Australian Thoroughbred industry, look to world's best practice, consult with participants in the industry, and draw upon the learnings from other animal industries.
The IWG, which will be chaired by former Victorian premier Dr Denis Napthine, will focus on horses exiting the Thoroughbred industry, whether as retired racehorses or unraced animals, through to end-of-life management.
The other panellists are:
- Dr Bidda Jones, chief science and strategy officer for RSPCA Australia,
- Dr Ken Jacobs, a director of the Australian Veterinary Association, and
- Jack Lake, a senior adviser on agriculture in the Hawke, Keating and Rudd governments.
The membership of the IWG is deliberately drawn from outside the racing and breeding industries to ensure their independence and encourage them to explore policy options outside current industry thinking.
The IWG will be asked to produce a report outlining a practical policy framework for a national horse welfare regime, which will be the basis for a wider discussion with industry stakeholders and federal and state governments.
The work of the panel will be funded by industry participants, with commitment of resources from breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, clubs and wagering operators.
A steering committee, which will include leading trainer Chris Waller, will sign off on the terms of reference for the IWG, which is expected to provide its recommendations later this year. Waller urged all in the industry to come together behind the project: "This initiative is an opportunity to start building a national approach to welfare in racing and all industry players should grab it," he said.
TBA chief executive Tom Reilly said: "The challenges of the welfare, rehoming, retraining and end-of-life for Thoroughbreds are national issues that are of concern to all participants in the industry. We have to acknowledge that if we can improve outcomes in these areas, it is our responsibility to do so. Too often our industry is fragmented along state lines. This initiative will facilitate a national discussion with the aim of finding national solutions. Everybody who I have asked for support have been happy to give it and get behind this."
Racing Australia - the national body comprising all state racing regulators - welcomed the initiative and that it shared a "common aspiration of elevating the quality of equine welfare in Australia".
Organisations, businesses and people supporting the initiative include:
- National: Australian Jockeys' Association, Australian Trainers' Association, Bet Easy, Inglis, Magic Millions, Tabcorp, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.
- Queensland: Aquis, Brisbane Racing Club, Eureka Stud, Glenlogan Park Stud, Gollan Racing, Heathcote Racing, Highgrove Stud, Lyndhurst Stud Farm, Raheen Stud, Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association.
Nine Queensland apprentices named for national series
THREE country riders are included among the nine apprentice jockeys announced by Racing Queensland to represent the state in this year's National Apprentice Race Series.
The nine riders are: Dakota Graham (Rockhampton), Elyce Smith (Rockhampton), Adin Thompson (Toowoomba), Baylee Northdurft (Brisbane), Stephanie Thornton (Brisbane), Justin Huxtable (Brisbane), Jackson Murphy (Brisbane), Corey Bayliss (Brisbane), and Minehiko Shimodaira (Gold Coast).
The Queensland team is headlined by the inclusions of Nothdurft and Thornton, who sit second and fifth respectively in the Metropolitan Jockeys' Premiership.
This year's NARS will again be staged across five rounds, starting at Ladbrokes Park Elwick in Tasmania on March 4, where Graham will represent Queensland. The series heads west with Thompson taking the ride at Ascot Racecourse in Perth on March 11, before coming to Doomben on March 18. The apprentice riders trek back to Victoria for the penultimate heat on March 25, with the series finale at Murray Bridge in South Australia on April 1, where a champion state will be crowned.
"The National Apprentice Race Series is a fantastic initiative for young apprentices across the country, and allows some of Queensland's best up-and-comers to experience various tracks nation-wide. I look forward to following the series and watching our young Queensland hoops compete with the best that the other states have to offer," RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.
Mr Parnell was excited to see the participation of New Zealand and Singaporean riders for the first time for this year's series. "To see two international counterparts be a part of the series confirms its importance for apprentice jockeys, and opens the door for other countries to take part and compete in the future," he said.
Each rider will again wear coloured breeches for their state, in conjunction with an advertising campaign across the country announcing 'The Future Has Arrived'.
QTIS Premiers for January
BRISBANE trainer Les Ross collected $57,600 in QTIS bonus prize money in January to top the list for QTIS 2YO Trainers, followed by Rockhampton-based Peter Fleming with $25,500 and Trevor Rowe, Cairns pocketed $18,800 for the month thanks to QTIS
Matthew Dunn, Murwillumbah, NSW, remains at the top of the table for the 2YO Trainers on Earnings for the season with $84,000 but Less Ross is nipping at his heels, only $50 behind. Les' good results in January saw him push Tony and Maddysen Sears, Toowoomba, into third with $66,050.
Brisbane trainers Tony Gollan ($195,150) and Robert Heathcote ($190,000) remain at the top of the QTIS 3YO Trainers' table after again featuring prominently in the January rankings. Heathcote collected $54,000 in QTIS bonus prize money to be the leading 3YO trainer for January, followed by Tony and Maddysen Sears with $42,550 and John Wigginton, Rockhampton, on $36,750. Wigginton's good results have seen him jump into third spot on the Season table with $102,700.
Mishani Miss (Denman) was the top QTIS 2YO in January, earning connections $36,750 in bonus prize money, with Clever Hunter (Siderius) next in line on $17,000. However their efforts weren't enough to change the seasonal table with Lady Banff (Top Echelon) still in the lead, collecting $84,000 in QTIS bonus prize money so far this season followed by Rothfire (Rothesay) with $49,000 and Spirit One (Sprit Of Boom) remains in third position on $47,250.
Rockhampton filly Better Reflection (by Better Than Ready) and Rothesay's promising galloper, Roasted both earned $36,750 in QTIS bonus prize money in January to share the top of the premiership table for the month, followed by Raging Pole (Better Than Ready) with $28,000.
On the seasonal table, Better Reflection ($94,500) is now edging closer to Guntantes (Rothesay) who remains at the top of the list with $105,000 and Gem Of Scotland (Rothesay) still sits comfortably in third with $84,000.
International search finds Commission's new head scientist
THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has appointed a new director to head the commission's analytical services Racing Science Centre.
An international recruitment process has resulted in Dr Shawn Stanley being appointed in the commission's head scientist role.
With more than 30 years' experience in racing chemistry around the world - most recently as chief analyst with the Singapore Turf Club laboratory - Dr Stanley has a longstanding interest in improving both the efficiency and sensitivity of anti-doping analysis of equine, canine and human samples.
Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett welcomed Dr Stanley's appointment, noting this critical role was essential in maintaining the confidence of the racing industry.
"In the last financial year 19,985 racing animal samples were tested for prohibited substances and this work is of paramount importance. It is important that the Commission is up to date with the latest in testing procedures from around the world to deal with the complexities of substances and the innovations in testing technology.
"Dr Stanley, who has also held a senior role with Racing NSW, will provide us with his experience and knowledge to ensure we continue to be on top of best worldwide practices as he works with our experienced analytical team. With Dr Stanley on board this begins a new era for the commission's analytical services business unit," he said.
Dr Stanley said he was excited to join QRIC at a time when the Racing Science Centre's capabilities are undergoing a period of significant renewal and regeneration. "It is an honour to be entrusted with the responsibility of guiding the staff of the analytical services unit towards the critical goal of enhancing our testing methods and to play a role in forging strategies that ensure that there is a level playing field for all participants in the three racing codes," Dr Stanley said.
Dr Stanley will take up his appointment next month.