Request for Tender: Post-mortem of pregnancy loss in thoroughbred horses (Phase Two)

The AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horses Program seeks to improve the sustainability, productivity, and competitiveness of the Australian thoroughbred industry. The Program aims to support an efficient breeding system that works towards reducing the average number of serves per pregnancy, increasing live foals delivered per mare covered, and increasing the DNA parentage count confirmed each year. We value durable horses with long racing careers.

This Request for Tender (RFT) is seeking services to deliver Phase Two of the post-mortem of pregnancy loss in thoroughbred horses project, which is a priority project for the industry.

This request for Tender closes 12 noon (AEST)  Wednesday 7 July 2021


Mid to late term pregnancy loss is a critical issue for the Australian thoroughbred horse industry. Causes of pregnancy loss have not been investigated on a national level and adequate post-mortems of aborted foetuses are not possible in several Australia’s largest thoroughbred breeding areas. AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horses Program is developing a system to investigate and record the pathology and histology of mid to late term pregnancy losses in thoroughbred mares throughout Australia.

The Phase Two project will trial what has been developed in Phase One of the project and pilot the implementation of foetus post mortems across Southern QLD, Southern NSW and Northern VIC. Phase Two will coordinate the enrolment of studs/mare owners into the program who will provide foetuses to predetermined veterinary clinics for post mortem assessment. The successful applicant will work with these veterinarian clinics, mare/stud owners and the Phase One research team to deliver a pilot post mortem project within these three areas of Australia. The project implementation will focus on administration and coordination of Phase Two. The Phase Two project will include recruiting, organising and delivering funding for studs/mare owners to undertake post-mortems of late term pregnancy foetus abortions at nominated veterinary clinics, collate results of analysis of post-mortem test results, and ensure results are received by studs/mare owners within an acceptable time period. The technical aspects of Phase Two will be undertaken by the Phase One research team.

Deliverables will include:

  • Enrolment of studs/mare owners to the program
  • 250 post mortems of late term pregnancy abortions processed, analysed and results inputted into the database.
  • Organising and undertaking payment of veterinarian clinics for post mortems of enrolled studs investigated.
  • A list of studs/mare owners enrolled in the project and those who received funding from the project.
  • Pre, during and post project communications tools and materials to enrol mare owners/studs to participate, inform levy payers of project, and extend project outputs.

Outcomes will include:

  • Inclusion of post mortem analysis results in the post mortem database from Phase One that are from outside of the Hunter Valley.
  • An additional 250 post mortems fed into the database for epidemiological assessment.

This project is targeted towards organisations who have significant project management experience and skills, and financial management experience and skills. Organisations making a submission are required to contact the Manager, Research for further details and a project plan.

A budget attachment must also be provided as part of the application.


Understanding the causes of late term pregnancy loss in Australian thoroughbreds has not been investigated on a national level. The Hunter Valley NSW has a system where a percentage of post-mortems are undertaken on aborted foetuses from late term pregnancies, and the information from these post-mortems and associated lab work is entered into a database. This database allows for the collation of information from the histology and gross pathology of the post-mortems to undertake epidemiological assessments of this information.

In Phase One, the frequency, pathology, different causes, and risk factors for equine pregnancy loss in Australia will be determined. Diagnostic criteria will be developed for all known causes of pregnancy loss, and a standardised procedure will be described to investigate all losses. Phase One will trial the use of online written, verbal and video training tools in the techniques for post-mortem and histopathological examination of the foetus and foetal membranes. These tools will assist veterinarians and pathologists to investigate equine pregnancy losses accurately.

The next stage of this project is to expand work from the Hunter Valley to Southern QLD, Southern NSW and Northern VIC, which are the next largest thoroughbred breeding areas within Australia. The Phase Two project will trial what has already been learnt from Phase One of the project in the Hunter Valley NSW, and implement the project across Southern QLD, Southern NSW and Northern VIC, and, in future, across Australia. The project will trial use of the outputs from Phase One and will also feed into the Phase One document, which will consider how a national post mortem program could be delivered across Australia.

To ensure the project maintains numbers of post mortems required for the database, the Phase Two project will include funding of post mortem assessments in the Hunter Valley. This funding will encourage those who may not, due to the expense, have foetuses examined on a regular basis and encourage post-mortems of a mare’s first abortion.

Prior to applying, all applicants must contact Annelies McGaw, Manager, Research, on the contact details below to obtain further information.



Date Activity
20 May 2021 RFT application opens
7 July 2021 RFT applications closes
4 August  2021 Expected execution of contract
31 December 2022 Expected project completion date

AgriFutures Australia believes that the project should be completed within the above timeframe.  If a longer timeframe is required, the Tenderer should explain why that is the case.

Terms of reference

AgriFutures Australia uses a standard form contract for R&D projects (Research Agreement), which sets out the terms on which AgriFutures Australia will engage successful applicants to carry out the project.

Applicants must be familiar with the Research Agreement before lodging Preliminary Research Proposals (PRPs), and are advised to seek legal advice on it before lodging a PRP.

Read Research Agreement
The Research Agreement has been developed to reflect AgriFutures Australia’s statutory and other responsibilities in funding projects. AgriFutures Australia will generally not negotiate substantive amendments to any clauses of the Agreement unless:

  • It is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist that require amendment to the standard form; and
  • The applicant completes a statement of non-compliance for each of those clauses.

Applicants will be taken to have agreed to all clauses in the Research Agreement that are not referred to in a statement of non-compliance. The extent of any non-compliance will be a factor in AgriFutures Australia’s evaluation of the application.

If you require further information regarding the Research Agreement, contact Erin Hulm, Manager, Legal Services:

How to make a submission

AgriFutures Australia has moved to a new online project management system, K2. This system will manage all stages of project administration and replaces our previous system, Clarity.

Applications for this Request for Tender must be submitted online using the application in K2. Applicants are also required to review the Request for Tender documentation available here and complete the Tender Response Forms contained in schedule 2.

If you had a previous account in Clarity, you can login using your Clarity username or email address and the initial password “K2pass!”

You will be prompted to reset this initial password when you login. If at any time you forget your password, you can also reset it via a forgotten password link on the login page.

Users must create a K2 account before submitting a proposal. To set up a secure account before submitting a proposal, please visit the login page below to access our new user or new company request forms.

Usernames and passwords will only be issued while the applicable round is open.

If you require assistance, please contact


If you have any questions about the RFT process or requirements in the management services, please contact:

Annelies McGaw

Manager, Research – Thoroughbred Horses, Honey Bee and Pollination

0407 987 738