A range of welfare initiatives and programs aim to ensure the best standards of care are provided to racehorses.

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

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

Strict Governance and Oversight

The Rules of Racing include strict rules on the care and treatment of racing animals. Stewards are the police of the racing sector who enforce these rules on and off the track. 

Learn more
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.


The location of a horse is tracked throughout their career. Each horse’s trainer and owners are responsible for traceability, while the horse is in their care. This includes full visibility of where the horse lives, who is responsible for them and where they race.

Racing WA has multiple touchpoints with horses throughout their lives. Ensuring compliance with the rules is a shared endeavour which includes the welfare, racing, integrity, investigation and other teams. 

Veterinary Care

A veterinarian attends all race meetings and trials and conducts examinations where required. A horse will not be allowed to race if there are concerns for their wellbeing. All two-year-old horses and horses aged over 12 are examined before they race.

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.
Learn more
Stable Inspections

Stewards regularly conduct inspections at properties where racing animals are kept. Stewards can, at any time, come on to a property where racing animals are kept. Unannounced stable inspections are regularly carried out to check on racehorses. 

Prohibited Substance Control

In WA, the use of prohibited substances in racing is rare, with 99.8% of swabs returning a negative result. However, there continues to be a significant investment of $1 million annually in prohibited substance control for equine racing, with more than 7500 swabs collected each year. Swabs can be collected both at the races and at trainer’s private properties. If a positive swab is detected, racing participants face severe penalties, including loss of livelihood. 

Racecourse Facilities and Racing Surfaces

Racecourses and racing surfaces are specifically designed and maintained for horses. Racetracks are inspected before every race meeting to ensure they are safe and suitable for racing. The races will not go ahead if there are any concerns with the track.