ATA Victorian Branch – Members Update / Victoria / 09 Mar, 2010


The ATA has again sought RVL cooperation in arranging for the availability of on course veterinary services on race days for the treatment of horses requiring immediate attention for injuries and/or ailments sustained during competition.

This issue has been raised on several occasions with RVL, with recent injuries highlighting the need for the availability of such services to ensure that the welfare of racehorses is not compromised. The ATA has been advised that a paper is being prepared for consideration by the RVL Board Integrity Sub-Committee to identify appropriate guidelines and which will take into consideration the registration of veterinary surgeons.

However, given that this may take some time and pending this matter being finalised, the ATA has formally requested RVL to make available these veterinary services immediately through a practicing veterinarian under the auspices of RVL and on a “user pays” basis.

The ATA has asked that this matter be addressed as a priority considering that RVL veterinary surgeons are not always readily available to provide the level of veterinary service given their race day commitments.


Long standing concerns regarding saddle security at racecourses has prompted the ATA to formally request RVL to give urgent attention to addressing and rectifying what could potentially result in some serious integrity issues.

As a result, RVL has introduced new saddle security arrangements in the weighing in area at both Flemington and Caulfield, with the Clerk of the Scales nominated as the responsible person for ensuring saddles are not left unattended before they are collected by trainers. Similar arrangements will be put in place at Moonee Valley.

The ATA has urged RVL to replicate these arrangements at all tracks to prevent any possible tampering with saddles and breaches of security.


The ATA has questioned the value of the rule requiring trainers to keep a Treatment Book to record medications administered to horses in their stable.

This mandatory requirement has added yet another burden to trainers’ workloads with questionable value to either trainers or racing authorities.

RVL has acknowledged that the Treatment Books will not be relied upon in cases where the use and administration of medications and treatments are involved. RVL has also acknowledged these concerns of trainers relating to the value of Treatment Books and will review these requirements.


Following concerns raised by the ATA on this issue, RVL has initiated recruitment education and training programs through Glenormiston and Ballarat TAFE colleges to help address some of the critical shortages of skilled staff in the Victorian racing industry.

The programs have been successful enough to attract around 150 trainees who will undertake training at both TAFE colleges to enable them to take up positions at racing stables and as track riders when they have successfully completed their training courses.

RVL has informed the ATA that it will continue to pursue recruitment opportunities within the racing industry and the ATA welcomes these initiatives, given the continuing difficulties experienced by trainers in recruiting skilled staff.


RVL will review Apprentices Workcover arrangements following representations by the ATA.

The existing arrangements where Masters are responsible for Apprentices’ work cover even when they are undertaking track riding for trainers, other than their Masters to whom they are apprenticed, is clearly unsatisfactory and places an unfair burden on their Masters.

It is also a major disincentive for trainers to take on the responsibility of indenturing and employing apprentices. RVL has acknowledged the ATA concerns and the ATA will work closely with RVL in the conduct of the review.