Research and innovation is critical to enhancing the safety, care and welfare of Victorian thoroughbreds before, during and after racing.

To best meet the needs of our equine athletes, Racing Victoria has dedicated resources within its equine welfare, veterinary services and digital transformation team’s that work alongside industry experts, governments and leading educational institutions to identify ideas and discovery that address our needs and transforms the practical application of learnings into new processes and products.

This is achieved by finding solutions to better understand the challenges we face, and adapting our knowledge to implement new ideas that further support and innovate the racing industry.

Racing Victoria’s commitment to research and innovation is helping to improve the lives of every racehorse and streamlining our integrity processes to benefit the racing industry. This further strengthens our vision to be recognised as setting the standard in equine welfare.

Equine Limb Injury Prevent Program

The Equine Limb Injury Prevention Program is a joint initiative between the Victorian Government, Racing Victoria and the University of Melbourne.

The Program is improving the understanding of limb injuries and informing animal welfare policies and training practices to reduce the risk and frequency of injuries in thoroughbreds.

The second phase will build on the gains of foundation studies, improve diagnostic imaging methods, enhance protocols for managing international horses travelling to Australia, and develop technology to test the mechanical properties of surfaces to better understand their effects on limb injury and how to reduce risk.

The first phase of the program has led to recommendations to the racing industry on training methods, farrier techniques and risk identification, including changes in stride length and differing track surfaces.

These recommendations resulted in the commissioning and installation of a standing computed tomography (CT) system that allows efficient three-dimensional imaging of the lower limb of horses and identification of otherwise unseen bone damage.

The program also led to the development and application of a racehorse injury risk analysis profiling system that has been used for the Melbourne Cup since 2018.

Read the Victorian Governments latest update on the extension of the Program by clicking here.