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Social Media  
Harness Racing Victoria is keen for owners, participants and the general public to use social media in a positive and constructive way when discussing matters relevant to harness racing. Currently there are Steward Inquiries pending where alleged comments made may be deemed to be inappropriate and breaches of the AHRR and potentially defamatory toward industry participants and HRV personnel. We all have different levels of resilience and public comments can do harm to individuals and to our industry. I would therefore encourage everyone to be very mindful when posting comments on social media.

Body Cameras
HRV Stewards are currently trialling an ‘Axon Body Camera’ over the coming month. This is similar to the camera that is used by local RSPCA Inspectors, Victoria Police and by many other Integrity Bodies. This camera will be trialled at stable inspections and investigations as another approach to improving integrity in our Industry.

Brian Collis QC
It is with sadness that since the last edition of Integrity Matters former HRV RAD Board Chairman and Deputy Chairman Brian Collis QC passed away. Brian served the HRV RAD Board between 2010 and 2017. He previously practised on the Victorian Bar for over 50 years and was the Chairman of various sporting tribunals and appeals boards, including Chairman of the AFL Tribunal, Vice-Chairman of the AFL Appeals Board and Member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. We are externally grateful for the role Brian played in maintaining integrity in our sport.

Brent Fisher
General Manager - Integrity
AFL Experience   

During April I was fortunate enough to spend three weeks on secondment with the AFL Integrity and Security Department, which provided an exceptional opportunity to appreciate how another sporting jurisdiction operate within the Integrity sphere.  I observed a strong emphasis that the AFL place upon security on match day and other AFL events, in particular the protection around football personnel and integrity measures concerning sensitive information. 

The Match Review Officer (MRO) of the AFL reviews and assesses incidents that occur within each round of the AFL and then sits in judgement to consider whether an incident is worthy of sanction dependent on the relevant classification of each incident. This is similar to Stewards who are required when assessing incidents that occur within a race,  and when subsequently determining penalty in accordance with the HRV Stewards Minimum Penalty Guidelines. Furthermore, the umpiring department has similar processes in place to review match day decisions that have been made. A similar concept to the MRO is currently in discussion at HRV of the possible implementation of a Race Review Officer (RRO) role, which would provide further oversight and governance at all harness racing events conducted in Victoria, thus increasing the confidence of participants and the public have in the industry, and ensuring all decisions of stewards are accountable. 

Behaviour Standards 
HRV Stewards have recently had to address unacceptable behaviour and the conduct by some participants following the completion of a race. Any non-compliance in this regard, particularly involving unprofessional and or inappropriate behaviour may likely result in penalties being imposed by stewards.
Industry participants should have the comfort and ability to be able to operate in a safe and supportive environment and therefore participants conduct and behaviour should be reflective of this expectation. 

Nick Murray
Chairman of Stewards 
Why Integrity Matters to Me

In this edition we're talking to Lou Austin, famous for being the trainer-driver of champion pacer San Simeon, who won his first 29 race starts. 
Tell us about your career as a Trainer and Driver?
My career in Harness Racing started as a 15-year-old stable-hand in the 1959-60 season, gaining my reinsman's license in 1964 and my trainer's license in 1968 with immediate success.  In that time I won all major races in WA from two-year-old classics, three-year-old and open class on multiple occasions.  I also trained winners in all states of Australia and overseas.

Tell us about your greatest moment as a trainer or driver?  
My greatest moment as a trainer-driver was when my best horse was born on the property.  To rear, break-in and train and drive San Simeon and be part of his story will always be a privilege.

Tell us about your career as a steward?  
My career as a steward commenced in Victoria in 1996 after a phone conversation with then Chairman of Stewards, Gerald Lalor.  It was an extremely good panel of stewards, which made my transition to stipendiary steward very easy, gaining the rank of senior steward in Victoria after six years to then return to Western Australia as Deputy Chairman of Stewards for another six years.

What lessons have you learnt along the way?
The lessons I have learnt throughout my time are to listen to everyone involved in the industry, because everyone, whether a big-name or a hobbyist, has something to offer and the rules are there to maintain the integrity and protect all those who participate.

As a former leading trainer/driver and steward, what would be the leading advice you would offer to other participants on integrity given your experience?
Integrity is not just about administering the rules in accordance with the racing product, it is also about presentation of and the welfare of the people in the industry. The maintenance, welfare of the horses bred and raised and ensuring the betting public knows that the industry remains above board
Independent Review Panel 

A complaint was made to the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner (ORIC) in respect to races conducted at Warragul on 24 December 2017 and Ballarat on 26 December 2017.
The allegation was that HRV Stewards and other HRV Integrity Officials involved in these races were corrupt, and that they covered up the allegedly suspicious drives of licensed participant Greg Sugars through amended Steward Reports and subsequent steward’s inquiries that were conducted.
An Independent Review Panel (IRP) was established and comprised former Stewards and Trainers and Drivers with appropriate qualifications, experience and expertise to undertake specific reviews of both these races.
The IRP conducted video analysis of the race, form guide analysis, assessed tactics by drivers, full analysis of betting data and also conducted historical examination of previous horse performances to determine racing characteristics and patterns.
An excerpt of the report is as follows;
An extensive review of the available betting for both races revealed no cause for concern. There was no evidence of any betting by any steward. We found no evidence of potential serious rule breaches by any driver nor did we find any evidence of collusion or corruption by any official.
The report identified performance related issues and listed a number of recommendations, which were endorsed by the HRV Board and Integrity Council. The performance related issues identified have since been addressed, along with implementation of other recommendations made by the IRP.     

Animal Welfare Online Training Program developed

HRV in collaboration with the Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre (BHRTC) have developed the animal welfare online training program, which commenced in mid-May 2018.
The animal welfare online training package is mandatory and is to be completed prior to the upcoming licence season, by all licenced participants. This training achieves the following:
Greater education through knowledge, skills and compliance;
Collaboration with industry to improve animal welfare; ensures adequate safeguards are in existence, which aids effective compliance and enforcement in animal welfare.

The BHRTC will assist participants in relation to the training, which will take one session to complete.

HRV greatly acknowledges the financial assistance provided by the Victorian Government to develop this program.

If you have any technical and/or computer issues or require any further assistance to complete the Online Animal Welfare program, please contact Vicki Moro on 5449 3590 or vicki.moro@hrtcbendigo.com.au
Training Partnerships Now Recognised in Victoria

In light of recent amendments to the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR)  HRV now recognise Training Partnerships in Victoria.

Granting of a licence to train in partnership will be subject to the below conditions being met:
HRV may issue a licence for a person to train in partnership in accordance with the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 90A(2.8) which states:

(2.8)       (a) The Controlling Body may grant a trainer’s licence to a person to train only in partnership with up to three persons.
               (b) Subject to sub-rule 2.8(c) each partner shall be subject to any penalty  that may be imposed under the Rules on any other partner.
              (c)  If a partner other than the partner upon whom the penalty is imposed satisfies the Stewards that the penalty was not imposed for a breach of any Rule directly related to the training of a horse then the Stewards may determine that the penalty does not apply to that partner.
(d)          (i)            A  partner  shall  give  notice  in  writing  to  the  Stewards  of  his intention to withdraw from or dissolve the partnership.
(ii)           Upon receipt of such notice the Stewards may order that any horse trained by the partnership shall not be eligible to race until the stewards are satisfied that the horse is being trained in accordance with the Rules.
HRV further require that all applicants seeking to be licensed as a training partnership meet the following criteria:
Each member of the training partnership must hold the same grade of trainers licence.  E.g. All members hold a Grade B trainer or all members hold a Grade A trainer licence;
In order to be granted a licence all members must meet the basic criteria (financial/probity) relative to the grade of trainers licence sought;
The grade of trainers licence held by a person as a sole entity may be transferred to a training partnership;
Each member of the training partnership must pay the applicable licensing fee;
For more information or to apply please contact the HRV Licensing Department on (03) 8378 0233.
Caring for Horses during Winter

With the colder weather approaching, there are important considerations to take into account when caring for horses. During cold weather, horses require additional energy to maintain their internal body temperature. The exact amount of energy depends on the severity and extent of the cold period. 

Given these conditions, the following points are a guide to caring for horses in your care;

To properly feed a horse during the winter months several key factors must be addressed, water, fibre and essential nutrients. Keep horses conditions score 3 and above as once under 2, a horse needs twice the amount of feed to gain 1kg than it does for maintenance.

Hay is more critical during the winter months since it is the feed ingredient that keeps horses warm during cold weather. It is recommended that horses receive a minimum of 1.5% of their body weight in hay (fibre) per day. Horses can consume up to 3% of their body weight per day in hay (15kg for a 500kg horse). Without this hay fibre, horses will seek out other sources of fibre including bedding and wood fences or trees to satisfy their needs. Grain does not produce the same amount of body heat as hay and getting a dental check-up and worming horses are also recommended during the colder months.

Horses drink the most water when the water temperature is between 7 and 20 degrees in temperature. Optimum water consumption will keep the fibre in the horse's digestive system hydrated, allowing it to be broken down and to be pliable and less likely to cause a blockage in the large intestine.

Providing shelter or a rug to reduce horses exposure to wind and rain will help prevent weight loss due to the horse burning extra calories to keep warm. Rugs should be inspected daily and be removed at least once a week to check the horse's body condition, rubbing and for signs of water leaking through the rug.
Getting to Know: Lesley Hawson

This month we're Getting to Know HRV Integrity Department Veterinarian  Lesley Hawson
Q: How did you come to be a vet at the HRV Integrity Department?
A: I had been working in academia for several years following completion of my PhD (the science of horse training) when I noticed the advertisement for the Integrity Veterinarian at HRV. I became even more enthusiastic during the interview process when I realised I would be combining my practical and academic skills to impact on equine welfare and human safety.
Q: Why did you want to join the HRV Integrity Department?
A: The research I conducted into HRV as part of my job application process showed me that harness racing in Victoria is an industry in transition and there was a clear commitment to integrity and equine welfare.
Q: How have you found the transition to regulatory work as a vet?
A: At times exhausting. People at all levels of this industry cover an extraordinary number of kilometres. It took me a little while to learn to pace myself when I have a late night at a meeting. Part of my work includes microchipping foals with the branders, Tony Carter-Smith and Ron Harry. This has been a lot of fun and I have sure seen plenty of Victoria with them!
Q: What does integrity mean to you?
A: Fairness and optimal welfare for all, working for an organisation whose values align with my own is important.
Q: What is your favourite pastime outside of racing?
A: Spending time with my dogs and horses at home. I am hoping to make it on to Reilly’s Ride in 2020. I also enjoy reviewing the occasional research paper to keep in touch with what is happening in the equitation science world.
Contact Integrity Matters any time via email: integritymatters@hrv.org.au
or phone: (03) 9214 0651
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