Jumps racing will continuein Australia, despite a recent suspension following a spate of horse deaths.
Last Wednesday (13 May) an emergency board meeting of Racing Victoria Ltd was called after three horses died at the Warrnambool May Carnival the week before (5-7 May)
Jump racing in the state was suspended immediately on Thursday, 7 May.
The board could not reach a decision last week and an announcement was put back until today (Monday, 18 May).
But today the RVL board came to a “unanimous” decision that jump racing would continue in the state.
“During its deliberations the board received written and verbal submissions representing views from both sides of the jumps racing debate. The racing industry submissions were unanimous in support of jumps racing,” said RVL chairman Michael Duffy.
But there will be several new conditions — many of which will be implemented immediately.
And jump racing will be monitored on an ongoing basis and will undergo a full review at the end of the 2009 season.
“After extensive consultation, in particular with jockeys and trainers, the board will adopt a range of recommendations from the jumps review panel which it believes will make jumps racing safer for jockeys and horses. The board understands accidents will occur and the changes are aimed at making jumps racing less hazardous,” said a statement from RVL.
Changes include removing the last obstacle in races, lengthening races and having stricter qualifying conditions for horses in races with prize money of $70,000 (£35,000) or more.
Jockeys who fail to pull up tired horses will receive greater penalties and all horses must be schooled in front of stewards before being allowed to take part in jumps trials.
RVL is also looking at starting procedures.
“The board recognises that this issue divides some sections of the community and all these views are valid and respected. In making this decision the RVL board is mindful of its primary obligation to the racing community and its stakeholders,” said Mr Duffy.