What powers can racing stewards execute?

Date: Mar 09, 2016

Horse racing is one of Australia's great pastimes. The feeling of marvel while watching the speed and agility of the horses and the thrill of backing a winning horse are just two of the exciting aspects one can expect to experience during a day at the races.

In Australia, horse racing law governs a range of events and process and keeps the sport accessible to everyone. One of the most important parties within horse racing law are the stewards.

What is a racing steward?

Racing stewards are a group of people who oversee all aspects of Australia's horse racing. Their main objective is to ensure that horse racing laws, regulations and guidelines are respected and adhered to by all participants in the sport.

Stewards are considered the 'police' of the racing sector. Often they will be the 'bad guys' who have to make tough calls pursuant to the Australian and Local Rules of Racing.

One of the main aspects of racing that stewards focus on is race behaviour. They aim to ensure that all races are conducted safely, honourably and with no interference. Additionally, stewards are tasked with ensuring that all race participants act in a way that does not bring the sport into disrepute.

To accomplish this, stewards make live observations from towers during each and every race. They also use video recordings from a series of cameras located around the track. If an infringement or an inappropriate incident occurs, stewards will inquire with the parties involved.

What powers can they deploy?

Stewards are allocated powers by the relevant racing authority and the Rules put in place by the authority.  In New South Wales, the relevant authority is Racing NSW.

Stewards' powers are wide-ranging and refer to a series of different scenarios. For instance, AR 8 (b) of the Rules of Racing of Racing NSW states that a steward has the power to stop any horse from competing in any race. Stewards can also restrict, remove or alter any equipment that they decide is unsafe or unsuitable.

Additionally, stewards have a number of responsibilities. These include:

  • Chair Race Meetings
  • Betting Services
  • Investigations
  • Conduct Barrier Trials
  • Conduct Stable Inspections
  • Integrity Management.

As stewards are empowered by racing authorities, it is important to respect them and deal with them professionally. One way to accomplish this is by knowing the regulations and guidelines that govern horse racing in New South Wales.

If you would like to find out more about horse racing law, talk to Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers today.