The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards draw the attention of all industry stakeholders to amendments to the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) which take effect in Victoria from 1 December 2020.
In order to assist understanding and compliance the HRV Stewards provide the below information, however warn this does not include all amendments made to the AHRR.
All persons covered by the AHRR are required to familiarise themselves with the full list of amendments which can be accessed via the below links:
Amendment to AHRR 35A(3)
As a consequence of the racing season changing to 1 January this required an amendment to AHRR 35A(3) which defined the age at which a horse could compete in a trial.
Previously AHRR 35A(3) stated:
35A(3). A horse shall not compete in a trial before it attains the age of 2 years.
The amended AHRR 35A(3) states:
35A(3). A horse shall not compete in a trial before 1 October in the year preceding it attaining the age of 2 years.
The Harness Racing Australia notice explaining this change further can be viewed here.
Amendment to AHRR 155A(2)
AHRR 155A was introduced in January 2020 and provides that should a horse break gait clear of interference, and remain in the incorrect gait as it passes the finish line, that it mandatorily be placed behind any horse which is covering the horses’ body providing that horse is in its correct gait.
AHRR 155A reads:
155A. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of Rules 154 and 155 any horse which has broken gait free of interference, and remains in the incorrect gait when its nose reaches the finish line, and is covered by any other horse or horses in the correct gait it shall be placed behind such horse or horses.
(2) For the purposes of sub-rule (1) “covered” means when a horse has its nose in line with any part of the breaking horse’s body when the nose of the breaking horse reaches the finishing line.
At the time of the introduction of this rule the HRV Board have approved a Local Rule to sit in place of sub-rule (2) above. This was deemed necessary as the tail and hind legs of a horse are prone to obstruction on video footage and photo finish images in a crowded finish thereby creating difficulty in applying the rule in an accurate manner.
The national AHRR 155A(2) has now been amended to mirror the Victorian Local Rule.
The amended AHRR 155A(2) states:
155A. (2) For the purposes of sub-rule (1) “covered” means when a horse has its nose in line with any part of the breaking horse’s body excluding its tail or extended hind legs when the nose of the horse which has broken gait reaches the finish line.
Introduction of AHRR 196D
The introduction of AHRR 196D prohibits the administration of an intra-articular injection (injection into a joint) within 8 clear days of a race. This introduction is consistent with the equivalent Racing Australia rule.
AHRR 196D states:
196D. (1) A person shall not within eight (8) clear days of the commencement of a race administer, attempt to administer or cause to be administered an intra-articular injection to a horse nominated for that race.
(2) A Steward shall order the withdrawal or disqualification of a horse that has been either the subject of an administration or an attempted administration of an injection in breach of sub-rule (1).
(3) A person who fails to comply with sub-rule (1) is guilty of an offence.
(4) For the purposes of this Rule “one clear day” means the twenty four (24) hour period from 12.01 a.m. to midnight.
Amendment to AHRR 213B
The previous version of AHRR 213B permitted shockwave therapy to be performed by persons other than a registered veterinarian. The rule prohibited a horse which received shockwave therapy from starting in a trial or race for a period of 7 days following the treatment.
AHRR 213B has been amended to only permit a registered veterinarian to perform shockwave therapy.
The rule now also creates an offence for any person, other than a registered veterinarian, to possess a device capable of administering shockwave therapy to a horse. This would include, but not be limited to, a trainer being in possession of such a device at their registered training address.
The prohibition on a horse, which has received shockwave therapy, starting in a trial or race has been extended to 7 clear days from the date of administration.
The amended AHRR 213B states:
213B. (1) A person other than a registered veterinarian shall not:
(a) have in his possession or control any device capable of administering shockwave therapy to a horse;
(b) perform shockwave therapy on a horse.
(2) A horse that has been subjected to any form of shockwave therapy shall be ineligible to race for seven (7) clear days following the therapy.
(3) For the purposes of this Rule “one clear day” means the twenty four (24) hour period from 12.01 a.m. to midnight.
The HRV Stewards forewarn the industry that any breaches of this rule will be heavily penalised which may include periods of disqualification being imposed.
Any further information relating to these amendments should be directed to the HRV Integrity Department on (03) 8378 0200.