At the most recent Harness Racing Australia (HRA) Annual General Meeting the HRA members unanimously voted in favour of a suite of new rules along with an expansion of existing rules relating to equine welfare and traceability.
A quick reference guide to the major traceability rule changes is pictured and while many of the rules listed in this document were existing, most have had their time limits tightened in an effort to reduce risk to the industry.
The major change is that trainers are now required to notify within 24 hours ANY time a horse in their care changes locations or the person in charge of it is changed (e.g. during spelling). This is a significant enhancement for traceability within the industry and will provide improved integrity, welfare and biosecurity outcomes. Trainers are also encouraged to keep each of their horses’ status updated accurately, even when they have not changed locations, for example notifying a horse that was In Training is now ready to be Racing. This allows for bespoke programming of races to fit the current racing population and allows for data collection and analysis to help better the industry in a range of areas.
These rule updates are complemented by the new, online horse traceability function that was originally launched in the industry portal HarnessWeb on 28th January 2021. This world first function has undergone more than 12 months of rigorous testing, development and upgrading and allows participants to abide by the new rules quickly and efficiently by processing horse status updates online in just a few clicks.
HRA acknowledges that these changes will represent a substantial change and some increased administration for the connections of horses however the traceability of our horses is an important component of the sport’s social licence to operate and will help mitigate risks into the future.
The full rulebook can be accessed at Australian Harness Racing Rules - Index