RV’s aim is to work with stables to establish the baseline condition of the horse. This is to assist RV veterinarians responsible for monitoring horses and performing pre-race inspections to understand any veterinary issues the horse may have so that an informed decision on the horse’s suitability to race can be made at the time of pre-race veterinary inspections.
Pre-travel Veterinary Inspection
Pre-travel veterinary inspections are undertaken, and declarations submitted to ensure, as far as possible, that the horse is not affected by any pre-existing condition and provides an opinion that the horse is, at the time of examination, in a suitable condition to travel and race in Victoria.
Veterinary inspection by the regular stable veterinarian including a medication and treatment declaration, veterinary history declaration and veterinary inspection and certification of suitability to travel and race. Two veterinary inspections by a RV appointed veterinarian will be undertaken from 1 August and must be completed seven days prior to entering Pre-Export Quarantine. A third and final veterinary inspection will be completed in Pre-Export Quarantine by a RV appointed veterinarian.
Horses that have had a previous Major Fracture (including, but not limited to a stress fracture) or Orthopaedic Surgery (excluding arthroscopy for removal of a joint chip fragment) be excluded from entering Werribee International Horse Centre or starting in a trial or race within ten weeks of departing any quarantine facility in Australia.
Major Fracture or Orthopaedic Surgery
Disclosure of Pre-Existing Conditions or Poor Quality of Movement
RV Stewards require and direct trainers or their representative to inform the RV Veterinary Services team 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 an RV Veterinarian examining the horse.
In addition, RV Stewards require and direct trainers to inform them of any training setbacks a horse may have recently suffered. This is to ensure that opportunity is provided to consult with the trainer and or the attending veterinarians and if necessary, to perform a preliminary assessment of the horse and or request additional diagnostic tests.
RV Stewards expect transparent reporting with respect to the health and soundness of all racehorses, especially any condition that may affect the racing performance of a horse.
Trainers must report to RV Stewards any injury, deterioration of any pre-existing condition, illness or any other condition which has the potential to affect the racing performance of a horse or, which causes a horse to miss a scheduled training session, as soon as is practicable.
Pre-Travel Diagnostic Imaging
International horses must undergo a CT of the distal limbs (or MRI where CT is not available) and submit the images at the expense of the connections prior to entering Pre-Export Quarantine.
As part of the pre-travel veterinary screening, radiographs (x-rays) of the horse’s four (4) fetlock joints can be submitted optionally for preliminary review by Racing Victoria by the veterinarians engaged to undertake the imaging review.
Post-Arrival Veterinary Inspection
Post-arrival veterinary inspections will be performed on all horses at Werribee International Horse Centre (WIHC) by an RV Veterinarian and the attending
veterinarian. The pre-travel veterinary inspections and declaration will be shared with the attending veterinarian.
This provides an opportunity to consult with the trainer and or the attending veterinarian and if necessary, to perform a preliminary assessment of the horse and/or request further reasonable examinations and diagnostic procedures, including but not limited to lameness examination with nerve blocks to localise the lameness, radiographs, ultrasound, scintigraphy or CT.
Biweekly Veterinary Inspections
All horses at WIHC will be inspected by an RV Veterinarian and the attending veterinarian twice a week, where practicable.
This is to ensure that opportunity is provided to consult with the trainer and or the attending veterinarians and if necessary, to perform a preliminary assessment of the horse and or request further reasonable examinations and diagnostic procedures, including but not limited to lameness examination with nerve blocks to localise the lameness, radiographs, ultrasound, scintigraphy, or CT.
All horses at WIHC will be required to use a track work monitoring system. Information collected will be shared with the relevant trainer of the horse and the RV Veterinary Service team. This information will not be made public.
Additional examinations and diagnostic procedures
An RV Veterinarian may require that further reasonable examinations and diagnostic procedures be performed to investigate any concerns and that a report be submitted to the RV Veterinary Services team.
The results of any diagnostic tests requested by RV Stewards will be reviewed by a panel of veterinarians appointed by RV constituted by a specialist in equine surgery and a specialist in veterinary diagnostic imaging.
All international horses that arrive at WIHC must undergo a CT scan of their distal (lower) limbs prior to each start in Victoria during the 2023 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, before being permitted to compete, with the costs to be met by RV.
Off-Course Pre-Race Veterinary Inspections
As a condition of entry for the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup, all horses accepted for these races will be required to undergo official veterinary inspections for suitability to race.
These veterinary inspections will be performed by an RV Veterinarian prior to raceday (typically Thursday and Friday prior to the respective race). An additional pre-race veterinary inspection of horses engaged to run in the Melbourne Cup will be performed on the day prior to the race.
A representative of RV will contact the trainer (or their representative) in the week prior to the race to arrange a time for the official inspections.
If there is a question as to the suitability of the horse to race, a further examination will be performed by a panel of veterinarians constituted of two RV Veterinarians and an independent veterinarian appointed by RV.
On-Course Pre-Race Veterinary Inspections
Horses may be required to undergo an on-course pre-race veterinary inspection for suitability to race. The official inspection will be performed by an RV Veterinarian prior to the time of racing. All boots and bandages must be removed prior to the inspection.
The official inspection will involve:
- A trot-up in hand for 20 to 35 metres on a firm, level surface nominated by the examining veterinarian. Where possible, asphalt or an equivalent surface will be used.
- A firm, grass surface may be used at the discretion of the examiner who will make the appropriate adjustments to the assessment of the movement of the horse. A trot in hand in a circle in both directions on a safe, firm level surface. This may include a digital symmetry assessment.
- A brief clinical examination which may include palpation, flexion of joints, cardiac auscultation and an assessment of hoof sensitivity.
- 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’s performance in the race.
A suitability to race inspection is not solely a lameness examination. A horse that appears to be trotting soundly may be assessed to be unsuitable to race if a significant musculoskeletal condition is detected during the examination. For example, an inflamed superficial flexor tendon or suspensory ligament or heat, effusion or significant pain on flexion of a joint. RV Stewards may:
- Authorise one or more RV Veterinarians to conduct the official inspection and submit a report to them.
- Request further inspections or examinations at their discretion.