COVID-19 Walk-on guidelines

Off the back of some questions from farms regarding walking-on mares during the breeding season, TBA has developed a set of protocols to assist breeders as they plan for the coming months. 

These guidelines are recommendations only and given the rapidly changing situation these may need to be revised in light of future developments. It is also important to follow any directions given by public health officials. 

COVID-19 Walk-On Guidelines:

  1. All paperwork should be completed beforehand and sent electronically where possible.
  2. Stallion farms should keep a record of all people visiting their farm and walking on mares (this can be done electronically or via a paper record).
  3. Those walking on mares should limit their contact with stallion farm staff.
  4. Hand sanitiser should be provided and used by any visitor.
  5. Stallion farms may ask those coming with a walk on mare to remain in the vehicle and have their staff unload and handle the mare. In which case, all handles on the truck should be sanitised.
  6. Alternatively, farms may ask those coming with mares to unload the mare and put her in a stable or walk in yard and remove the head collar.
  7. Where possible farms should set aside a toilet for the use of farm visitors.

Further to our update on Tuesday, the NSW Government has now officially listed the movement of mares as exempt from current border restrictions. Click on the link below to read more: 

NSW Border Restrictions – What You Can And Can’t Do

However, in addition to your border entry permit, the Government has advised that you will also need a COVID Safety Plan. You can download a simple template from the link below: 

NSW Government COVID Safety Plan – Agriculture

Movement Of Mares Interstate

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) encourages all breeders sending mares interstate for the coming season to consider their transport plans well ahead of any movements.

TBA has been liaising with state and federal authorities and all governments have stated that breeding remains an essential agricultural activity. As such, thoroughbreds can be moved interstate.

However, anybody transporting horses will need an appropriate border permit for the states they are travelling to and from.

“The message from state governments has been very clear; that breeding is an essential activity and moving a mare between states to be covered is also an essential operational activity,” says Tom Reilly, TBA’s chief executive.

“But I would urge breeders, especially if they are moving horses themselves rather than using a transport company, to look at the application process for the permit they will need to travel and return from interstate.”

These permits often come with restrictions and each person travelling with a horse will need their own documentation and to carry identification.

For example, those travelling from Victoria to NSW will be required to keep a log of their movements while in their home state and then need to self isolate when in NSW. Those travelling into Queensland will also be required to remain isolated from the general public and keep records of where they have been.

In addition to having a valid border permit, TBA recommends that any farm worker moving horses across state boundaries carries a letter from their employer stating that they are carrying out an essential agricultural activity.

“While border permits are essential, I believe that if farm staff also carry a letter stating that they are an employee and that they are carrying out an essential agricultural activity it may avoid delays or confusion at borders,” added Reilly.

“The situation with borders has obviously changed a number of times in recent weeks, so I think having a letter can only help when travelling between jurisdictions.”

TBA suggests a simple short letter that states the person travelling the horse is an employee and they are moving the mare to be covered as part of essential agricultural activity. It should also be dated and have the contact details of the employer farm.

TBA is in ongoing dialogue with state and federal governments and will send out further updates when they are available.

Those breeders wanting to know more about how to apply for travel permits should go to the following sites:

New South Wales
Click here

Click here

Click here

South Australia
Click here

Click here

Western Australia
Click here

Thoroughbred aftercare welfare working group – issues paper

To assist those wanting to engage with the panel, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Group (TAWWG) have developed an issues paper, which you can download by clicking on the thumbnail below.

The issues paper can be summarised as raising seven areas of interest:

·     What is good welfare
·     Thoroughbred breeding
·     Traceability
·     Programs for horses leaving racing and breeding
·     Regulatory framework
·     Humane processing of horses
·     Research and Development

Also included in the document are the Terms of Reference.

These submissions will feed into the panel’s report, due for publication later this year, which will make practical recommendations to assist the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries in improving welfare outcomes.

The deadline for submissions is July 24, 2020. The TAWWG are keen to hear from all of those who are interested in this issue.

If individuals or groups have an idea to share, it is recommended to download and read the issues paper and then follow the instructions on how to make a submission.

Further information about the inquiry is available at

Expert panel seeking submissions to improve welfare of thoroughbreds

The independent welfare panel that was set up by the thoroughbred industry earlier this year, and is chaired by former Victorian Premier Dr Denis Napthine, is calling for submissions from interested parties to assist its aim of improving the welfare of horses leaving the racing and breeding industries.

From today until 12pm on Friday, July 24 2020, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group (TAWWG) is seeking submissions from any groups or individuals who wish to have their say on the best methods of protecting the health and wellbeing of all thoroughbred horses, most notably those exiting the racing and breeding industry.

These submissions will feed into the panel’s report, due for publication later this year, which will make practical recommendations to assist the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries in improving welfare outcomes.

The four-person panel, which was formed by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) in conjunction with a host of industry stakeholders including the Australian Trainers’ Association and Australian Jockeys’ Association, is made up of Dr Napthine, who also previously served as Victoria’s Minister for Racing and is a qualified veterinarian; Dr Ken Jacobs, a former director of the Australian Veterinary Association; Dr Bidda Jones, Chief Science and Strategy Officer for RSPCA Australia; and Jack Lake, a senior advisor on agricultural policy in the governments led by former prime ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd.

As well as taking written submissions, the TAWWG will also aim to meet with a range of stakeholders from both inside and outside the racing and breeding industries, including animal welfare groups, over the coming months.

“This project can only be successful if there is strong engagement from all stakeholders, including animal welfare groups, the racing and breeding industries and indeed anyone who has valuable insights to share, so we would encourage as many people as possible to come forward and have their say,” said Dr Napthine.

“This important process will be open and transparent, and so anyone who wishes to provide their views, information and expertise will be given the opportunity to assist the panel’s considerations and guide our consultation process.

“We look forward to engaging with a wide range of people so that we can formulate a plan to ensure the health and welfare of all thoroughbreds, particularly those who have retired or who never made it to the racetrack.

“Thoroughbreds are central to an industry that provides 72,000 full-time jobs and generates more than $9 billion each year in direct and indirect benefits to Australia’s economy, so the industry has a duty of care to look after them before, during and after their racing careers.”

During their extensive consultation period, the TAWWG will also be seeking assistance and advice from an industry steering group comprising leading trainer Chris Waller, best known for training Winx; Neil Werrett, Board Member of the Victoria Racing Club and part-owner of Black Caviar; Vin Cox, Managing Director of Godolphin Australia; John Kelly, owner of Newhaven Park Stud; Martin Talty, CEO of the Australian Jockeys’ Association; Andrew Nichol, CEO of the Australian Trainers’ Association; and Tom Reilly, CEO of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.

Any groups or individuals considering making a submission are first encouraged to read the issues paper available online at the TAWWG’s official website ( The paper raises a number of topics and questions that the panel believe are relevant to their work.

“We are grateful to the panel for giving their time and expertise for this project, which is so important for the future of the thoroughbred industry and our horses,” said Mr Reilly.

“I am hopeful that every organisation or person with an interest in thoroughbred welfare will want to contribute, from governments to regulators through to participants and welfare groups.”

The TAWWG may wish to quote from extracts of submissions, with appropriate attribution, unless those making submissions request they remain confidential. Submissions can be emailed to or posted to TAWWG, PO Box 149, Canterbury, NSW 2193.

For more information, please visit


For more information contact:

Dr Denis Napthine

Tom Reilly

Background: In February this year the federal, state and territory governments established working groups to look at developing standards and guidelines for the welfare and transport of horses, and also the feasibility of a national horse traceability register.

In a report tabled in November last year, the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee recommended the development of a traceability register. They said the register must serve a biosecurity function at its core, but also be designed in a way “that enables additional features to be incorporated into the system as it progresses” including the tracking of retired racehorses.

Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards finalists announced for 2020

They represent the thousands of mostly unseen, often unsung and thoroughly essential members of Australia’s racing and breeding industry.

The 14 finalists announced today in the 2020 Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards are the best-of-the-best in occupations ranging from mucking out stables, to administration, to education, riding, delivering foals, rehoming and retraining ex-racehorses and every other area of an industry that is one of the nation’s biggest.

People like Mandy Radecker, whose success as a jockey has been followed by a career curing problemed racehorses of their bad habits and passing on her knowledge.

Radecker’s nomination in the Horsemanship category is backed by the simple endorsement from her boss, Queensland trainer Michael Lakey: “Mandy has dedicated her life to the thoroughbred horse.”

Two of this year’s finalists, Kelly Colledge in the Newcomer category, and Sarah Moran in the Administration and Ancillary category, both demonstrated great resourcefulness in difficult circumstances.

The relatively inexperienced Colledge took over the running of Grafton trainer Brenden Mackay’s stable when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

As Mackay said: “Kelly saved my stable and is keeping my dream alive. She has a ‘next-level’ work ethic.”

Similarly, Sarah Moran, who worked in the office of Melbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths, stepped up when her boss was battling a brain aneurysm during 2019.

“I don’t know how we would have coped if Sarah hadn’t taken on a variety of extra roles. She was instrumental in keeping our business afloat,” Griffiths said.

Others, like Godolphin’s Simon Johnson, the Assistant Stud Manager at Woodlands Stud and a finalist in the Leadership Award, is commended as “exactly the person these awards were created for”.

Johnson, a highly accomplished horseman and dedicated educator, sees his role as a broad one.

“We have a duty to give everyone who comes into the industry and who shows a willingness to learn the opportunity to advance themselves,” Johnson said.

“These Awards recognise not so much the people like me, but all of those who give so much to ensure their farms and the industry are successful.”

In the Dedication to Racing category, Brett “Lofty” Killion has worked for some of Australia’s finest trainers over the past 25 years and is now the Brisbane foreman for Chris Waller.

Renowned as one of the few in the game who would arrive at Randwick before his first boss, Gai Waterhouse, Killion is described by his nominator as “honest, hard-working and ever-loyal”.

“Lofty has learned from people like Gai and her father’s legendary foreman ‘Spider’ Barker. He’s been influenced by a man with the outstanding horsemanship skills and eye of John Thompson and by the methodical search for perfection of Chris Waller,” his nominator, Reg Fleming said.

“He’s taken something from all of them.”

The Stud and Stable Staff Awards are supported by Godolphin worldwide and in Australia are staged by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia with sponsorship from the Melbourne Racing Club Foundation, the Australian Turf Club and Magic Millions.

TBA Chief Executive Tom Reilly said the 2020 Awards are made against a testing background that has demonstrated more clearly than ever the value of those who keep the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry at their world-leading level.

“Australia was one of the few racing jurisdictions in the world where racing continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the reasons for that was the dedication and discipline of the entire workforce,” Reilly said.

“The SSSA’s again highlights the quality of those who work behind the front line in the most vital roles.”

MRC Foundation Chief Operating Officer Warren Horton said his organisation was proud to again sponsor the Admin and Ancillary Award.

“The work these individuals perform behind the scenes is truly remarkable and they are the true unsung heroes of our industry. Good luck to all the nominees,” Horton said.

The full list of finalists in the seven SSSA categories is:

Leadership – Michael Shepherdson (McEvoy Mitchell Racing) and Simon Johnson (Godolphin)

Horsemanship – Wendy Smith (Blue Gum Farm) and Mandy Radecker (Michael Lakey Racing)

Australian Turf Club Dedication to Racing – Brett Killion (Chris Waller Racing) and Michael Hurry (Victoria Racing Club)

Magic Millions Dedication to Breeding – Chris Cooper (Godolphin) and Martin Bruechert (Coolmore Australia)

Melbourne Racing Club Foundation Administration and Ancillary – Tetsuhito Hirose (IRT) and Sarah Moran (Griffiths Racing)

Newcomer – Kelly Colledge (Brendan Mackay, trainer) and Alyssa Pickels (Kitchwin Hills Stud)

Thoroughbred Care and Welfare – Jade Willis (Skyfall Park) and Liz Andriske (SpareOne Rehoming)

The winner in each category, other than the Newcomer, receives $10,000 and a trophy with a further $3,000 to share among workplace colleagues. The winner in the Newcomer category receives $5,000.

A further $5,000 and a trophy is awarded for Thoroughbred Excellence to the category winner (except Newcomer and Care and Welfare) judged to have made an exceptional and significant contribution throughout the year.

The winners of each category will be announced in a virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 17 at 7:30PM AEST via the Stud and Stable Staff Awards Website.

Podcast for Thoroughbred Breeders during covid-19

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia is committed to bringing breeders the most relevant information on COVID-19 that can assist our industry during this challenging time. That is why the TBA has partnered with Stable Financial to discuss government stimulus packages and the JobKeeper Payment that have been established to assist businesses affected by COVID-19.

The Federal Government has introduced the JobKeeper Payment to help employers meet the cost of staff. Given a lot of farms are looking to take advantage of JobKeeper, Tom Reilly has recorded two podcasts with TBA’s honorary treasurer, Adam Tims, to get his insight on the subsidy.

Adam – who has an accountancy business that specialises in the thoroughbred business – explains some of the intricacies of qualifying your business and your staff for the scheme. TBA hopes that this podcast will provide answers to many in the industry, though it must be said that all Adam’s comments are general in nature and he encourages all businesses to speak to their accountants for specific advice.

Businesses seeking to qualify to take advantage of the full six months of subsidy, will have to register by the end of this month and, as Adam notes in the podcast, this isn’t something that can be done without some careful thought.

Listen to the first podcast by clicking on the link below:

Episode 101: COVID-19 + government stimulus + Australian breeding

Listen to the second podcast by clicking on the link below:

Episode 102: JobKeeper

The Government’s information on JobKeeper can be found at the link below:

JobKeeper Government Information

*The podcast has been published across several different hosting platforms for your convenience.

COVID-19 And Your Business

The Government has released a number of support measures to assist businesses and individuals during this COVID-19 crisis. Please see below for some useful links and information:

Support for Businesses Fact Sheets:

View all Fact Sheets here

JobKeeper Payment

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months.

Read more here

SME Guarantee Scheme:

The Government is working with the banks to support $40 billion of new lending to small and medium sized businesses.

Under the Scheme, the Government is guaranteeing 50 per cent of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SME’s.

This $40 billion Scheme will provide loans of up to $250,000 for up to 3 years for a business with a turnover of less than $50 million dollars. No repayments will be required for the first six months. These will be unsecured loans and they will help build a bridge for small and medium sized businesses to the other side of the coronavirus.

Read more here

For a full summary of what banks are doing during the COVID-19 crisis:

Read here

Support for Individuals & Households Fact Sheets:

View all Fact Sheets here

Coronavirus Supplement Payment:

The temporary Coronavirus Supplement will be an extra $550 a fortnight payment on top of current income support payments such as Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Austudy for students and apprentices, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance, and Special Benefit.

Permanent employees who have been stood down or who have lost their jobs will likely be eligible for the supplement (there is still some eligibility criteria in place).

Casual staff and sole traders whose hours have been cut can also access the Coronavirus Supplement if they find themselves earning less than $1,075 a fortnight.

The Government has extended the usual eligibility criteria for Jobseeker and Youth Allowance payments, and asset tests and waiting periods have been waived, to allow more people to access these payments during the COVID-19 crisis.

Claiming the Coronavirus Supplement:

If people are already receiving one of the welfare payments listed above, they don’t actually have to do anything. Services Australia will automatically pay the Coronavirus Supplement to eligible recipients each fortnight.

If they are not currently receiving welfare, they will need to apply.

The first step is to create a myGov account and then register intent to claim. If eligible, payments will be backdated to this date.

Step by step how to create a myGov account:

View here

How to register you intention to claim a Centrelink payment:

View here

For all Government resources regarding COVID-19:

View here

Industry Guidelines For COVID-19

Dear Breeder, 
As you are all well aware these are challenging times for the thoroughbred industry, as well as Australian society.
As we deal with the ongoing issues from the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia has prepared some guidelines that may assist your planning and preparedness for an outbreak of the virus on your farm.

Please click here to view the guidelines.
The guidelines are recommendations only and given the rapidly changing situation these may need to be revised in light of future developments.

I can also assure you that TBA is having ongoing conversations with the Federal Government, with the aim that the breeding industry is given consideration when policies that may impact on our activities are being developed.
We are also in discussion with Inglis and Magic Millions about plans for the upcoming sales season.
If you should need any further information please feel free to contact me directly.
We wish you well in these difficult times,
Tom Reilly and the team at TBA

Thoroughbred Industry Unites For Welfare

The thoroughbred industry has come together to announce a strategy to develop a national horse welfare regime.

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA), the Australian Trainers’ Association (ATA) and the Australian Jockeys’ Association (AJA) along with other stakeholders have established an Independent Working Group (IWG).

This will review the current welfare landscape in the Australian thoroughbred industry, look to world’s best practice, consult with participants in the industry, and draw upon the learnings from other animal industries.

The IWG, which will be chaired by former Victorian premier Dr Denis Napthine, will focus on horses exiting the thoroughbred industry, whether as retired racehorses or unraced animals, through to end-of-life management.

The other panelists are Dr Bidda Jones, Chief Science and Strategy Officer for RSPCA Australia, Dr Ken Jacobs, a director of the Australian Veterinary Association, and Jack Lake, a senior advisor on agriculture in the Hawke, Keating and Rudd governments.

The membership of the IWG is deliberately drawn from outside the racing and breeding industries to ensure their independence and encourage them to explore policy options outside current industry thinking.

Tom Reilly, the chief executive of TBA, said: “The challenges of the welfare, rehoming, retraining and end-of-life for thoroughbreds are national issues that are of concern to all participants in the industry.

“We have to acknowledge that if we can improve outcomes in these areas, it is our responsibility to do so. 

“Too often our industry is fragmented along state lines. This initiative will facilitate a national discussion with the aim of finding national solutions. Everybody who I have asked for support have been happy to give it and get behind this.”

The IWG will be asked to produce a report outlining a practical policy framework for a national horse welfare regime, which will be the basis for a wider discussion with industry stakeholders and federal and state governments.

The work of the panel will be funded by industry participants, with commitment of resources from breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, clubs and wagering operators.

Andrew Nicholl, chief executive of the ATA, said: “It is important that participants from across the Thoroughbred industry work together on what is a challenging issue.”

A steering committee, which will include leading trainer Chris Waller, will sign off on the terms of reference for the IWG, which is expected to provide its recommendations later this year.

Martin Talty, chief executive of the AJA said: “Horse welfare is paramount to everything we do and it is important that we have a panel independent of the industry to help us. I am confident they will provide recommendations that we can all get behind.”

Chris Waller urged all in the industry to come together behind the project:  “This initiative is an opportunity to start building a national approach to welfare in racing and all industry players should grab it.”

Racing Australia, the national body that is comprised of all the state racing regulators, said last night it “welcomed” the initiative and that they shared a “common aspiration of elevating the quality of equine welfare in Australia.”

The organisations, businesses and people supporting the initiative include:

Australian Jockeys’ Association, Australian Trainers’ Association, Bet Easy, Inglis, Magic Millions, Tabcorp, Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.

Attunga Stud, Bjorn Baker Racing, Chris Waller Racing, Coolmore, Fairhill Farm, Gai Waterhouse Racing, Godolphin, John O’Shea Racing, Kitchwin Hills, Kooringal Stud, Middlebrook Valley Lodge, Newgate Farm, Newhaven Park Stud, NSW Trainers’ Association, Rheinwood Pastoral, Segenhoe Thoroughbreds, Sledmere Stud, Tartan Fields, Thoroughbred Breeders NSW, Tyreel Stud, Vinery Stud, Widden Stud, Yarraman Park Stud.

Aquis, Brisbane Racing Club, Eureka Stud, Glenlogan Park Stud, Gollan Racing, Heathcote Racing, Highgrove Stud, Lyndhurst Stud Farm, Raheen Stud, Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association.

South Australia
Cornerstone Stud, McEvoy Mitchell Racing, Mill Park Stud, South Australian Thoroughbred Breeders.

Armidale Stud, Grenville Stud, TasBreeders.

Ciaron Maher Racing, Lauriston Park Thoroughbreds, Lindsay Park Racing, Malua Racing, Melbourne Racing Club, Mick Price Racing, Rosemont Stud, Spicer Thoroughbreds, Swettenham Stud, Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria, Three Bridges Thoroughbreds, Victoria Racing Club.

Western Australia
Darling View Thoroughbreds, Lynward Park Stud, Yarradale Stud, Mungrup Stud, Scenic Lodge Thoroughbred Stud, Western Australian Racing Trainers’ Association, Thoroughbred Breeders WA.

China Horse Club, Francis & Christine Cook, Debbie Kepitis, Peter Tighe, Neil Werrett, John Camilleri.

Speech by TBA chief executive Tom Reilly

Ladies and gentlemen, firstly let me thank you for your attendance tonight for what is an important evening for breeders.

Ours is a pursuit that is stitched deeply into the fabric of Australia. 

Thoroughbreds came to these shores on the First Fleet and racing was first held well over 200 years ago.

In modern Australia, the thoroughbred business, across all its broad reach, supports 72,000 full time jobs, and generates more than $9 billion for the national economy.

But as many of you will be aware, the racing and breeding industries have been under intense scrutiny since the airing of an ABC investigation into the mistreatment of thoroughbreds last week.

The footage of that mistreatment was nothing short of appalling.

I, like every breeder, every owner, and every trainer who has seen that footage, was horrified.

What we saw was not the thoroughbred industry I know, where care and respect for the horse is paramount.

From the foaling staff that stay up through the night to help a mare deliver her young, to the yearling team who educate young horses, the strapper that wakes at 3am every morning to care for the racehorse, through to the retrainers who ensure our horses get a second opportunity to have a meaningful life after the track, there is a commitment to the welfare of the animal.

But we must address the issues raised by the ABC.

As an industry we will be judged by our response.

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia has called for the establishment of a welfare taskforce, a task force that must include independent experts.

We must look at this issue nationally and collaboratively.

We will need the input of the federal and state governments as well as all interested stakeholders.

As an industry we need to ensure the highest care for our horses and commit that every horse that leaves racing that can have a productive career has that opportunity.

As the chief executive of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia I can tell you that we are committed to this cause and we have the courage and determination to ensure we have an industry that we can all be proud of.

Thank you.