Racetracks in Victoria will be prepared with more give under new guidelines which will come into effect from the start of next season.
Under Racing Victoria’s updated Racing Surface Preparation Guidelines, from August 1 all Victorian clubs will be asked to prepare the following racing surfaces for flat racing.
– A track that is prepared with give in the interests of horse welfare;
– A track with a rating of ‘Good’ for all races.
As part of the guidelines, clubs will be requested to prepare a track that is a ‘Good 4’ for at least the first race of the meeting, never a ‘firm’ rating, and not to place compliance with the guidelines in advance of an accurate track rating.
The new policy, released after a review and feedback from industry participants, differs from the one in place since 2014, which states that the preferred track rating for flat races is a ‘Good 3’ with a requirement that tracks not be presented to race as a ‘Firm 2’ or any firmer.
“As part of the review, the Australian Trainers’ Association conducted detailed research with trainers and 85 per cent of those surveyed indicated that they would like softer tracks presented in the best interests of their horses,” RV executive general manager – people, infrastructure and clubs, Jamie McGuinness, said.
“This aligned with veterinary research which affirms that the risk of injuries increases with an increased firmness of tracks.
“In making amendments to the guidelines, we’ve had to balance the welfare of horses and the wishes of trainers against maintaining the health of our racetracks which do experience increased wear and tear the wetter they are.
“In releasing these guidelines, we recognise that the preparation of racing surfaces is not an exact science and that the different characteristics of each track and prevailing weather conditions will have an impact on how a track is presented.”