World leading safety standards retained for 2024 Spring Racing Carnival

22 April 2024 Written by Racing Victoria

Racing Victoria (RV) has announced its world leading safety standards will remain in place for horses competing in this year’s Spring Racing Carnival.

Introduced in 2021, the safety standards have now become normal practice for those travelling to compete in Victoria and all horses contesting the Melbourne Cup. They have helped delivered three consecutive carnivals without any fatal or serious injuries.

The annual review of the Spring Racing Carnival safety standards was conducted by an RV working group including integrity, veterinary, equine welfare and racing experts, and considered feedback from various industry stakeholders.

On the recommendation of the working group, the RV Board endorsed the retention of the core safety standards for the 2024 Spring Racing Carnival and approved the following enhancement to help minimise the risk of injuries to international horses.

All international horses wishing to compete in Victoria within 10 weeks of departing quarantine whether in Victoria or New South Wales must have satisfactorily completed the Pre-Travel Veterinary Protocols.

This enhancement makes clear the expectation that all international horses wishing to compete in the Spring Racing Carnival must complete all Pre-Travel Veterinary Protocols prior to travelling to Australia, regardless of whether they complete Post-Arrival Quarantine at the Werribee International Horse Centre or Canterbury Racecourse (NSW).

The working group also noted that two key improvement areas were successfully addressed in delivering the veterinary protocols in 2023:

  1. Improved communication to enhance the experience of connections completing the veterinary protocols – this included the introduction of a UK-based case manager to support international trainers; and
  2. Improving Japanese trainers’ and owners’ understanding of the veterinary protocols to encourage them to travel their horses to Melbourne to compete in the Spring Racing Carnival.

In 2024, RV will continue to refine its processes and explore digital options to enhance the experience for trainers and veterinarians required to submit information to RV as part of the veterinary protocols.

RV will now work with clubs, stakeholders, and local and international connections, on the implementation of the veterinary protocols for the 2024 Spring Racing Carnival.

RV Executive General Manager, Integrity Services, Jamie Stier said, We are proud that our safety standards have set a global benchmark for horses competing internationally.

“The safety standards have contributed to the Spring Racing Carnival being conducted without serious incident to any competing horse for the third consecutive year.

“As we have this year, we’ll continue to evaluate and evolve the safety standards based on lessons, industry consultation, research and advancements in technology.

“With our improved communication with connections, we’ve seen a greater understanding and acceptance of the veterinary protocols and their importance.

“We expect this will translate to even more international stables considering the Spring Racing Carnival as a destination for their horses.”