A range of welfare initiatives and programs are in place to ensure the best standards of care are provided to equine athletes.

To ensure these high standards are upheld, racing is governed by overarching rules and regulations which are enforced by stewards.

We share responsibility for equine athletes throughout their racing careers, with support on hand for our participants.

Strict Governance and Oversight

The industry is subject to stringent welfare and integrity controls, which are regulated by the State appointed regulator, Racing and Wagering Western Australia. We have Rules of Racing in place, which are effectively laws that regulate the action of all people within the industry and include rules on the care and treatment of racing animals. Stewards are the ‘police’ of the industry and have the power to strictly enforce the rules, both on and off the track.

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Stud Book Registration

All horses bred for racing are recorded with the Australian Stud Book (thoroughbreds) and Harness Racing Australia (standardbred). Notification of the status and whereabouts of a horse, from the moment it is foaled, is maintained. All horses have microchips and branding to ensure they are easily identified.


During their racing career, the location of a horse is always tracked. This includes if the horse goes to another property for time off or what is known as a ‘spell’ during their racing career. Once a horse retires from its racing career a retirement form must be submitted. A dedicated Equine Traceability Compliance Welfare Officer is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the location of equine athletes in the State.

Veterinary Care

A veterinarian attends all race meetings and official barrier trials. If there are any health concerns for the horse, an examination is conducted by the vet. Horses are not allowed to race if there are any concerns for their wellbeing. All two-year-old horses as well as horses aged twelve years and older are examined by the race day veterinarian as soon as they arrive on course.

Welfare Policies

There are a number of policies to protect the welfare of equine athletes in racing, including:

  • Testing for prohibited substances.
  • Hot weather policy.
  • Number of starts permitted in a certain period.
  • Safety limits regarding the numbers of horses in a race.
  • Approved racing gear.
  • Recording of any veterinary treatment.
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Racecourse Facilities and Racing Surfaces

Racecourses and racing surfaces are specifically designed and maintained for equine athletes. Racecourses are inspected prior to every race meeting to ensure it is safe and suitable for racing. The races will not go ahead if there are any concerns with the track.