Future of Thoroughbred Jump Racing in Australia Uncertain

Thoroughbred jump racing remains in the spotlight of welfare debates despite safety improvements in recent years.
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Future of Thoroughbred Jump Racing in Australia Uncertain
Thoroughbred jump racing remains in the spotlight of welfare debates despite safety improvements in recent years. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
Thoroughbred jump racing remains in the spotlight of welfare and ethical debates in Australia despite safety improvements in recent years. Currently, the sport is only sanctioned in two Australian states: Victoria and South Australia.

“A bill to ban jump racing has been recently introduced into the South Australian (SA) parliament, and the SA Jockey Club have publically expressed a wish to phase out jump racing at Morphettville, a venue that hosted 44% of South Australian jump races between 2012 and 2014,” said researcher Karen Ruse, a PhD student at the University of Tasmania, in Hobart.

Ruse recently conducted a study on jump racing in Australia and found that the sport appears highly localized in rural communities and economies and highly concentrated in terms of trainer and jockey involvement. Jump racing’s end would be unlikely to have a significant impact on the overall viability of Thoroughbred racing in Australia, she said, but would impact particular individuals, regions, and events very heavily.

“We note in the paper that the end of jump racing in South Australia will have some impact on Victorian jump racing, but is unlikely to stop it,” Ruse said. “The banning of Victorian jump racing, however, would likely mean the end of this activity (in the country) altogether

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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