QRIC Media Release: Animal welfare centre stage at Winter Racing Carnival 2023

Thursday 6 July 2023

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC)’s mandatory pre-race veterinary checks throughout the 2023 Winter Racing Carnival have been hailed a success, with 173 horses vetted and all Group 1 and 2YO Stakes runners racing without incident.

More than 1,000 horses ran in 90 southeast Queensland races during this year’s carnival, where QRIC introduced the new proactive animal welfare initiative, requiring pre-race veterinary checks for all Group 1 and 2YO stakes runners, as well as Battle of the Bush runners.

QRIC Chief Steward of Thoroughbreds Josh Adams said this is the first time in Queensland’s history that pre-race vet checks have been required at the Winter Racing Carnival.

“As a result of this new strategy, there were no scratchings on race days for any of the major races,” said Mr Adams.

“Sadly, at Caloundra on Saturday, there was an on-track incident – this has motivated us to further expand our robust animal care strategies and continue to reduce on-track injuries and incidents into the future.

“Broadly, racing participants have supported this new initiative, understanding that it is about ensuring the safety of both animals and humans on the track, so we thank them for their cooperation.”

Saturday’s Winx Guineas and Caloundra Cup at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club marked the end of the 2023 Winter Racing Carnival and Stradbroke Season.

Throughout the carnival, QRIC stepped up its engagement with industry stakeholders and the community at large, releasing weekly track reports on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Mr Adams also spoke live on TAB Radio every Saturday morning prior to Winter Racing Carnival meetings and said the move is about connecting the community to the Commission’s work.

“We feel it’s important to keep our stakeholders and the broader community informed about the work we do on an ongoing basis to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare and integrity, especially during major racing events,” he said.

“Being the most high-profile event on Queensland’s racing calendar, Winter Carnival was the perfect opportunity to utilise these new engagement channels, and we will continue to find ways to connect and inform the community at future meetings.”

This year, good weather made for quality track conditions throughout the carnival.

Racing Queensland CEO Jason Scott said that Queensland remains Australasia’s premier place to race throughout May and June.

“Time and time again, we have seen the stars of the Carnival frank their form throughout Spring, highlighting the role Queensland plays in unearthing future stars,” he said.

“This year has been no different, with Giga Kick solidifying his status as the nation’s top sprinter, while both Think About It and Kovalica put their names up in lights with simply dominant Group 1 victories in the Stradbroke and Derby respectively.”

QRIC will now shift its focus to the harness racing Queensland Constellations Carnival, which runs until late July.


Media contact: Nicole Rowles 0467 955 412