HRA Industry Notice – Deregistration of Standardbred Horses

Friday 20 May 2016

An increased industry focus on equine welfare initiatives has highlighted the need for a clearer understanding and improved regulation of Standardbreds as they move through various stages of their career and life beyond the racetrack.

Greater awareness and understanding of horses activities and whereabouts, both on and off the track, will provide a clearer picture of the Standardbred herd lifecycle in order to building on successful welfare initiatives such as re-training or retirement programs.

Subsequently, a number of Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) have been recently amended which compel owners and trainers of registered Standardbreds to advise authorities of a horses retirement from racing or death within specific timeframes.  The importance of providing this information for currently active horses cannot be understated, and this is reflected in the penalties for non-compliance which have been set at a minimum fine of $500 per offence.

In coming months, Harness Racing Australia (HRA) will be undertaking a database clean-up of the HaRVey database system to better reflect the currently active Standardbred population, including the automatic retirement of many older horses.  Owners of currently registered horses that have not raced or bred in the previous four years will also be surveyed as part of a traceability exercise.

Owners and trainers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the various retirement options available for Standardbreds, as well as the relevant AHRR’s.

The Deregistration Form is available for download here, while the particulars of the AHRR amendments are as follows:

Deregistration of a horse

  • Add new Rule 96A(3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10)
  • Add new Rule 96B

    96A.   (3)   Where a registered horse has been retired from racing or a decision has been made to not race the horse, the owner or trainer of the horse at the time of its retirement must, within one month of the horse’s retirement, notify the Registrar by lodging the relevant form prescribed by the Registrar.

    (4)  The owner, or trainer of the horse at the time of its death shall:-

    (a)    In the case of a horse which dies within 14 days of being entered for or participating
    in a trial or race notify the Controlling Body of the death within 24 hours of its

    (b)    In any other case notify the Controlling Body of the death within 28 days of its occurrence.

    (5)    A notification of death under sub rule (4) shall be in writing or such other form as the Controlling Body may determine.

    (6)   The person in possession of the dead horse’s registration certificate shall within 7 days of such notification return the certificate to the Controlling Body.

    (7)   The owner or trainer shall comply with any direction given by the Stewards or the Controlling Body to verify the death.

    (8)   The owner or trainer of a horse whose death has been notified, or which should have been notified, under sub rule (4) shall not dispose of the carcass without the permission of the Stewards or the Controlling Body.

    (9)   Where notification has been given in accordance with sub-rule (3) the horse will cease to be registered and is ineligible to race unless it is re-registered.

    (10) A person who fails to comply with this rule is guilty of an offence.

    96B.  Notification of deregistration or death shall be given to the Controlling Body on Form R25-A.

    For further information, please contact Andrew Kelly on 03 9227 3004.