New tools to support traceability

24 June 2022 Written by Patrick Bartley

Racing Australia has implemented new traceability rules for all thoroughbred horse owners to ensure the welfare of the animals that we love.

Racing Australia has introduced a new tracking system and rules to ensure the millions of thoroughbreds born each year can be traced for life. The system, Breed. Race. Track will be mandatory for all, and will help shed light on the post racing careers of thoroughbreds and ensure industry accountability at all stages of life.

As Myles Foreman, CEO of Racing Australia, told media outlets: “Our participants love their thoroughbreds, and we are giving them the tools to provide updates and information that supports a horse’s wellbeing.

“With more regular and detailed reporting of a horse’s status and movements, Racing Australia and the principal racing authorities will have greater transparency than ever before. We are confident the new rules will help deliver enhanced welfare outcomes for our horses.”

It is one of the most sophisticated new innovations seen in racing recently. It will mean that the onus and obligations are spread from a small-time breeder right up to some of the largest and most powerful racing operations in the southern hemisphere.

It is a comprehensive system that will trace from live foals only 30 days old up to an aging broodmare that dies from natural causes.

Owners, breeders and all who have horses in their name are reminded by electronic media to put the whereabouts of their horses on a list.

Breeders and owners are asked to notify authorities if a horse has died, within 48 hours of its death.

If a horse does not get registered to race for any reason, the managing owner must also notify Racing Australia within 48 hours.

If there’s any change of ownership in a horse’s profile, this change must be brought to Racing Australia’s notice immediately.

Breed. Race. Trace. has wide sweeping powers. Not only are they making a difference in auditing where horses are, they are now recovering those thoroughbreds who slip through the cracks because of sloppy business habits by their owner.

In 2016, John Messara, the principal of Arrowfield Stud Farm, one of the most influential breeding barns in Australasia, said that the fierce opposition from breeders concerned him deeply as he was worried there was not sufficient scrutiny being made of the afterlife of a racehorse.

Messara told the media: “I’m more interested in ensuring that all thoroughbred horses in Australia are accurately recorded and traced, and that they’re properly cared for throughout their lives. It’s what we do, not just how we appear, that has to be right if we are to remain relevant,” he said.

Messara has held many powerful decisions in the world of racing and hasn’t minced his words when it comes to this issue.

“Perhaps the better question to ask is, would it be more inconvenient to deal with external supervision of our industry, or to face growing public disapproval of horse racing and breeding without being able to demonstrate what we’re doing to improve the way we care for our horses?” - John Messara

Messara has been a very successful owner of some of Australia’s finest stallions. He has also been front and centre in the sale of young horses and is vitally aware that the branding of the industry has to be monitored closely.

Messara knows too well the damage that the ABC’s 7.30 Report did in the short term for the Australian racing industry.

However, Messara maintains that horse racing has taken its medicine and has launched a rear-guard action against the small percentage of wrongdoers throughout Australia.

He’s keen to eradicate them and put racing and breeding back on top of the world list of countries that are revered by other racing nations as the very best.