Day At The Track

HRA listening to breeding concerns

08:17 AM 11 Aug 2020 NZST
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Mare and foal.jpg harness racing australia.Harness racing
Harness Racing Australia

At a scheduled meeting of the HRA Executive last week, a decision was made to provide a concession to studs and stallion owners regarding Free Returns in the 2020/21 Breeding Season.

In light of COVID-19, this was already going to be a year like no other, but as 1 September approaches the Executive understands the difficulty’s breeders will face with transporting semen not only between countries, but also across borders within Australia for the foreseeable future.  Sporadic and necessary shutdowns at airports and borders along with reduced airline schedules and cargo space will cause issues with freight and distribution, likely requiring either private charter or road courier.  Further, the compounding impacts of the Avian Influenza (AI) outbreak/declaration in Victoria also put agriculture, primary industry and reproductive material transports under more scrutiny - which in turn will apply time pressures for semen distribution.

While ultimately decision for each State and organisations therein, HRA will continue to work cooperatively with interested stakeholders on border entry and transport permit issues, but today a concession of 20 free return services above the 150 mare limits (stallion services) for the 2020/21 season is being announced in an effort to assist studs and stallion owners with their planning given the various circumstances at play.

These free returns will be regulated with studs applying to HRA for approval for each free service.  This process will be designed to ensure that the semen from the same stallion can only be used for the same mare within this additional 20 free return service cap.

Free returns aside, there has been widespread support for the 150-mare limit, and it is important to note that this announcement does not alter that proposition into the future.  It does, however, illustrate that the HRA Executive are monitoring, listening and have an appreciation for the range of difficulties and impacts faced by breeders in the coming season – a year like no other.

For further information, please contact Andrew Kelly on or 03 9227 3000.


Andrew Kelly

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