Wellbeing:Racing demographics, reasons for retirement & post racing destinations


Study 1: Evaluating the racing career of Australian Thoroughbred foals (Population dynamics of the racing industry) This study will build upon the previous Victorian industry studies and will describe the dynamics of the racehorse population in other States and Territories by following a subset of foals born in Australia from entry into the racing industry until the horses exit the racing industry. The study design will be an extension of the design and methods developed and applied previously. A randomly selected subset of mares will be selected from the Australian stud book and the following data recorded: " Number of foals born to selected mares " Number of resulting horses that enter training " Number of horses that commence a racing career " The age that each horse enters training and commences racing " The age that each horse exits the racing industry A variety of industry databases will be interrogated to obtain these data. Study 2: Destination postracing 2012 foal crop The 2012 foal crop in Victoria is the first foal crop eligible for racing after the introduction of the retirement rule, which stipulates that all racehorse owners must inform the racing regulator of the destination of the horse once it leaves the racing industry and "retires". This study will provide the industry with an audit of compliance with this rule and will build on the results of Study 1.


Thoroughbred Horses

Research Organisation

The University of Melbourne

Objective Summary

Outcomes and Deliverables. Study 1 will deliver: a greater understanding of the proportion of foals that enter the racing industry a detailed understanding of the career longevity of horses in the racing industry a description of the reasons that horses leave the racing industry current gaps in the traceability of horses as they enter and leave the racing industry Study 2 will deliver: an evidence base for the Thoroughbred industry to engage with the public regarding the destination of horses once their racing career has ended Where possible, proposed new studies will be more focused on higher level population data sourced from aggregated industry datasets such as the Stud Book. In some cases aggregated data are not sufficient to meet project objectives. For example, following horses to determine movement patterns from pretraining juvenile stages into a racing career and from racing into a postracing destination, by necessity requires individual animal followup. Since 2012 in some states there is an obligation to collect and report these movements. This study proposes using direct contact to follow up a sample of horses in order to provide accurate information on animal movement patterns, destinations and reasons for movements.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Project Completion Date

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries

National Priority

Adoption of R&D

National Priority

HOR-Improve the safety of industry participants and the welfare of horses, and enhance the sustainability of the industry