The below information is made available to trainers seeking to compete a horse in a feature race in Victoria. This information is provided as a guide only. If you're seeking clarification of any details or requirements, please contact Racing Victoria via the details at the end of this page.

The below information outlines upcoming feature races in Victoria and pre-race veterinary requirements.

The Showdown (1200m) - Caulfield - Saturday, 23 April 2022

RV Feature Race Trainer Declarationmust be submitted by 5pm, Tuesday, 19 April 2022
RV Pre-Race Veterinary Inspectionmust be submitted by 5pm, Tuesday, 19 April 2022
Pre-Race Veterinary Inspection will be undertaken on Thursday, 21 April or Friday, 22 April 2022

Who conducts the Official Inspection?

The Official Inspection will be performed by a Racing Victoria (RV) Veterinarian and a decision on the relevant horse’s suitability to race will be finalised by RV Stewards by final scratching time.

RV Stewards may order that further inspections (and/or tests) be undertaken by RV Veterinarians, or such other persons as requested by the RV Veterinarians, of any horse prior to race time.

What's the objective of the Official Inspection?

The Official Inspection is to ensure, as far as is possible, that all horses participating in a feature race are in a suitable condition to do so, and that the participating horses will not be compromised by any pre-existing injury, illness or degenerative conditions.

If the examining Racing Victoria (RV) Veterinarian reports that, in their opinion, a horse is unsuitable to race at the time of examination, and the RV Stewards accept the report, the horse will not be permitted to run in the feature race for which it is being examined.

How do I arrange the Official Inspection?

Racing Victoria will contact you after race acceptances to arrange a time for the Official Inspection.

What happens during the Official Inspection?

The Official Inspection will involve, at a minimum:

a trot-up in hand for 15 to 20 metres on a safe, firm, level surface nominated by the Racing Victoria (RV) Veterinarian. Where possible, asphalt or an equivalent surface will be used. A firm, grass surface may be used at the discretion of the examining RV Veterinarian who will make the appropriate adjustments to the assessment of the movement of the horse and may, after viewing the horse trot on grass, request a further examination on asphalt or equivalent;

  • a trot-up in hand for 15 to 20 metres on a safe, firm, level surface with the digital gait symmetry measurement device (Equinosis). This involves the placement of three small gyroscope devices; one on the poll, one on the rump and one on the right (off) fore pastern. This trot-up will be repeated at least twice;
  • a brief clinical examination which may include palpation, flexion of joints and an assessment of hoof sensitivity; and
  • an examination of the horse’s treatment record, and a consideration of any occurrences, conditions and/or treatments which may affect or impact upon the horse.

Please note: RV Stewards may, in their sole discretion, authorise one or more RV Veterinarians, to conduct the Official Inspection and to report to the RV Stewards. RV Stewards may also request further inspections or examination by the RV Veterinarians or other appropriately qualified persons, at their sole discretion.

What if my horse needs a warm-up before the Official Inspection?

If you think your horse will require a warm-up prior to the Official Inspection to free up in its action, the examining Racing Victoria (RV) Veterinarian must be informed prior to commencing examinations.

A five minute trot or five to 10 minutes on a walking machine may be performed prior to the Official Inspection, but only on the basis that it has been disclosed to the examining RV Veterinarian within the above timeframe.

What are the rules for bandages, ice and poultices

Prior to the Official Inspection, all bandages and clay poultices etc. must be removed from all the horse’s limbs at least 30 minutes before the scheduled inspection unless permission from the Racing Victoria Stewards is obtained, and only if the Stewards consider there are exceptional circumstances. 

Icing of the distal limbs prior to the Official Inspection is not permitted. Any horse presented for the Official Inspection with obvious evidence of recent icing, for example cold skin, will have to be re-examined about one hour after the initial presentation.

How should I present my horse for the Official Inspection?

As far as is possible a horse should be presented for the Official Inspection in shoes or plates similar to those in which it is to race. If a horse is presented in therapeutic shoes that are not permitted in racing, the RV Veterinarian may take that fact into account when assessing the horse’s suitability to race.

What does an RV Veterinarian consider when deciding if a horse is suitable to race?

When assessing the suitability of a horse to take part in a race, the RV Veterinarian will consider the following (without limitation):

  • is racing likely to significantly exacerbate any injury, ailment, or condition to the extent that a horse’s safety and welfare may be compromised?
  • is the injury, ailment, or condition likely to significantly affect the horse’s racing performance?
  • is the injury, ailment, or condition likely to endanger the health and/or welfare of the horse, its jockey, other horses, and/or other jockeys?

Please note: The Official Inspection is not solely a lameness examination. Horses with a mild degree of lameness or poor quality of movement may be assessed to be suitable to race, especially if the examining RV Veterinarian is aware of the horse’s veterinary history and past performances.

Also, a horse that appears to be trotting soundly may be assessed to be unsuitable to race if a significant musculoskeletal condition (for example, if an inflamed superficial flexor tendon or suspensory ligament or heat, effusion or significant pain on flexion of a joint), is detected during the examination.

What does a Racing Victoria Veterinarian consider when deciding if a horse is suitable to race?

The Pre-Race Veterinary Inspection includes a veterinary inspection and certification of suitability to race performed by the stable’s nominated veterinarian, and submission of a video of the horse trotting on a straight line (both towards and away from the camera), on firm ground, over a minimum of 25 metres.

The inspection must be performed, and the report submitted within 4 to 8 days prior to the race.

Click here to access the digital form.

If a Racing Victoria Veterinarian has concerns after the Official Inspection what will they do?

If any horse displays possibly significant abnormalities at the time of the Official Inspection or, if the examining Racing Victoria (RV) Veterinarian has any concerns whatsoever about a horse’s suitability to race, the RV Veterinarian will, within the time available, consult with the trainer and, if appropriate, may consult the attending private veterinarian.

The RV Veterinarian may require that further reasonable examinations and diagnostic procedures be performed by the trainer’s private veterinarian to investigate those concerns and that a report be submitted to the RV Veterinary Services Department.

While horses may be observed under saddle on the training track as part of a preliminary examination made by prior appointment, the final assessment of suitability to race must be made at the time of the trot-up in hand, and on the basis of evidence obtained during the Official Inspection.

After appropriate consultations and examinations, the decision of the RV Stewards, based on a report (or reports) from the examining RV Veterinarian, will be final subject only to any rights of appeal provided by law.

Following the Official Inspection, when will I know if my horse is suitable to race?

A decision on the suitability of a horse to take its part in the race must be made by the time of the scratching deadline on race morning.

While horses will be provided with every reasonable opportunity to demonstrate their suitability to race within the time available, a decision must be made based on the condition of the horse at the time of the scratching deadline on race morning.

As noted above, the decision of the Racing Victoria Stewards as to the suitability of a horse to race is final, subject only to any rights of appeal provided by law.

Can my horse be observed and inspected after the Official Inspection?

All horses are subject to scrutiny by Racing Victoria Veterinarians on the day of racing and that the RV Stewards may order further veterinary inspections of horses after the Official Inspection at their discretion.

What are my obligations to disclose pre-existing conditions or poor quality of movement?

Racing Victoria (RV) Stewards require and direct you to inform the RV Veterinary Services Department as early as possible of any horses that have an unusual gait, poor quality of movement, or chronic low-grade injury, or any other physical condition that may attract the attention of the examining RV Veterinarian.

This information must be reported to RV in the Feature Race Trainer Declaration.

In addition, RV Stewards require and direct trainers to inform the Stewards of any training setbacks a horse may have recently suffered. This is to ensure that ample opportunity is provided to consult with the trainer and/or the attending private veterinarian, to perform a preliminary assessment of the horse, and if necessary request additional diagnostic examinations prior to the Official Inspection.

You are also reminded of your obligations under Australian Rules of Racing 105 and 114, which can be read in full by clicking here to access the latest of Rules of Racing.

Do I need to produce veterinary treatment records ahead of the Official Inspection?

Racing Victoria (RV) Stewards require and direct that you produce the horse’s treatment records for inspection the day prior to and at the time of the Official Inspection as required by Australian Rule of Racing 104.

  • The medication and treatment records must be submitted to RV via the Feature Race Trainer Declaration, including:
  • any long acting substances administered in the last six months;
  • any medications administered in the last four weeks; and
  • any treatment administered in the last four weeks.
What are the consequences if I fail to comply with directions from an Racing Victoria Official?

You are reminded that pursuant to Australian Rule of Racing 232(b), if you fail to comply with any order, direction or requirement of the RV Stewards, or any official, including those contained in this notice, it is an offence and you may be penalised.

If you have any questions about the information outlined above, please contact:

Dr Grace Forbes - RV General Manager, Veterinary Services:

Telephone: +61 3 9258 4644
Mobile: +61 0406 750 390